10 questions to ask yourself before adopting a dog

10 questions to ask yourself before adopting a dog

Will that cute little puppy suit your personality and lifestyle? Answer the following questions to see if you're compatible.

December 2, 2019 By Clémence Risler

1. Can I afford it?
Costs go way beyond adoption fees and can add up quickly. Think about dog food, treats, accessories, vaccinations, regular and emergency vet visits (especially if you have no insurance), registration, grooming and caretaking.

2. Am I ready to commit?
Rain or shine, your dog must go outside every day—to do its business (which you must then dispose of), but also to stretch its legs and release all its energy. Are you ready to oblige, at least twice a day, in wet or sub-zero weather? And you'll also want to play with it indoors, making a further dent in your schedule.

3. Are pets allowed where you live?
Check your rental lease or condominium rules to make certain there's no clause forbidding pets. If you live in a detached house, it must have a fenced-in yard. Also important: Is there a nearby area where your energetic dog can run around to its heart's content?

4. Are there any allergies in your close circle of family and friends?
If no one in your household is allergic to dogs, that's the good news. But what about friends or relatives who are, and can no longer come to visit because your four-legged pal might trigger sneezes and wheezes? If this is a relevant factor, you may want to consider breeds which are officially hypoallergenic.

5. Are you ready for the long haul?
The lifespan of a big dog is 11 years and a small dog can live up to 16 years. Adopting one means embarking on a long-term relationship. If you have trouble seeing that far into the future, are constantly on the move, or enjoy travelling, it might be better to wait for a more stable situation so you can offer a dog the routine it really needs.

6. Who'll be responsible for the dog's care?
If your spouse and children didn't live up to their promises to take proper care of the newcomer, will you be ready to assume the lion's share of the chores? A family conference is essential so everyone can figure out how to share the major responsibility of feeding, entertaining, walking and training the dog.

7. What breed is best for me?
You've always had a soft spot for the lanky, elegant profile of a greyhound. But will its strong chasing instinct hold the same appeal? Take time to study the characteristics of your favourite breeds. Some are in “perpetual motion” by nature, others have difficulty being confined to small spaces or tolerating the presence of young children.

8. Do you have other pets at home?
While a dog can live harmoniously with other pets—like a cat, a rabbit or a parakeet—such a ménage can also create problems. This is particularly true in the case of breeds with hunting instincts. You'll need to set aside more time and patience to train them.

9. Can you afford the time to teach the dog good behaviour?
It takes considerable time and patience to train a dog about grooming, walking on a leash, resisting the instinct to chew slippers and shoes, etc. Bear in mind that an owner must display the strict discipline he or she intends to teach a dog.

10. Are you flexible enough?
With a dog in your life, be ready to welcome the unexpected and change plans. Your companion isn't going to put away its toys and will sometimes spill its nuggets from the bowl. At times you may have to get home early to take care of it, or even change your vacation plans in the absence of a dog sitter. In a nutshell, you may no longer be in complete control of your schedule.


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