When considering a dog for the family, you must consider every possible angle of having a pet. We've all heard our parents talking about the responsibility of a pet, but if you think back to your childhood, was it you or your parent feeding and walking that dog? For most of us, the answer is our parents, so it is you who must answer these questions
- Am I prepared to take care of this animal for up to 20 years?
Some breeds of dogs live as long as 20 years, and if you are not prepared to take care of a dog for its entire life, you should not plan to buy it. There are times when the situation is out of your control, but you should not expect everything to work out perfectly if that should happen.
- Am I prepared to give up a certain amount of freedom for my dog?
Having a dog means that you cannot have all of the same freedoms. For many, the benefits outweigh the cost, but consider that if you travel you will have to find an accommodation that allows for pets, and assure you will have room to travel with this pet. If it is a car trip, can that mastiff fit in the back of a sedan with two children? If you choose not to travel with your pet you will have to arrange for pet sitters, or boarding, either of which will up the cost of travel significantly.
- Am I financially prepared to take care of a dog?
The average cost of a vet visit that goes smoothly with no additional tests or extra vaccinations is currently running a cost between $80-$120 for a medium or large size dog. When you add in the cost of spaying or neutering, as well as planning for any unintentional health problems, the bills add up quickly. Your new dog will need food, collars, toys, and possibly other items as well. My advice, consider it like you are getting another child, you just don't have to pay for college.
- Am I emotionally capable of dealing with this?
It is a fact of life that dogs do not live as long as people. When this does come to pass, will you be capable of comforting your children? Will you be able to make the call of when it may be time to humanely euthanize an elderly pet? Despite the fact that no one wishes to think about it, especially when buying an animal, it is a problem that more and more pet owners are having to face as veterinary care improves and animals are living longer.
- Have I done the research to be certain I am choosing the right dog?
Dogs are all completely different from each other. Buying a dog should never happen on the spur of the moment, and before choosing a dog, plenty of research should go into it. If you are uncertain, ask a friend or someone you trust to help you make the right decision.