I ♥ my lab…Things to keep in mind before getting a dog

When my boyfriend and I found our dog (literally), we thankfully had talked about getting one eventually.  At the time we weren’t quite ready, but we quickly became ready to have her in our lives.  One thing that everyone thinks about, but never really actually realizes until they get a dogs just how expensivethey are.  Dogs aren’t quite as expensive as children, but you’re still a parent when you welcome a dog into your lives, so you want to make sure that they are well taken care of & healthy.  My boyfriend and I found an extremely malnourished dog, so she also took some special TLC to get healthy…We’re talking additional raw protein, supplements & many doctors appointments.  We are very grateful to have her in our lives (as we like to think she is of us), but it didn’t come cheap or without a lot of time & effort.

Picture above of our lab - skin & bones when found. Thankfully she's now, 4 months later, up to her target weight!

Whether you are rescuing a dog or purchasing a dog from a qualified breeder, here are some things you need to keep in mind BEFORE you embark on the journey of doggie parenthood…

Dogs take time, money & attention

Time:

  • If you work ridiculous hours and/or travel a lot, then now may not be a good time to have a dog in your life.  It isn’t fair for a dog to be sitting at home alone for more than 8-9 hours a day…Especially if it’s a puppy & they don’t have access to a place where they can relieve themselves.
  • Puppies and rescue dogs should go to training classes, which are usually an hour or two a week.  Training doesn’t stop in the classroom, though, it is important to do training at home, too.
  • For a healthy dog, dogs require a few hours of exercise a day.  Make sure you set aside time in the morning and evening to take your pup for long walks and/or playtime to tucker them out.  A tired dog is often a happy dog (and is less likely to get into trouble when you’re not at home).

Money:

  • Purebred dogs can be expensive & it takes time to wait for a litter to be ready.  Some people are on breeder’s waiting lists for months to years!
  • Rescue shelters have adoption fees & often require you to go through a process to ensure that you are well-qualified.
  • Vet visits aren’t cheap.  A new puppy requires shots, neutering/spaying & medication for ailments!
  • Food, especially good food, is expensive.  Some may choose to go on a raw diet, which can also add up.
  • Toys…puppies destroy toys pretty quickly & tougher ones are even more expensive.  Unless you want your expensive shoes being used as play things, toys are highly recommended.
  • Bedding, crates & mats…While these are somewhat optional, they are highly recommended…but aren’t inexpensive.
  • Misc supplies you’ll need: leash, collar, tags, bowls,
Attention:
  • Pay attention to the type of breed you want to get.  Not all breeds are good for young families, city life, being left alone, apartments, etc!
  • Dogs aren’t just some nice piece of artwork you look at on the wall.  Dogs deserve love & affection.
  • Grooming: some dogs require this more than others, but all need their nails trimmed and their fur/hair to be brushed on at least a semi-regular basis.
  • Puppies can get into things when you aren’t looking, so it is important that you are able to keep an eye on them when you are home!

Additional reading & info:
American Kennel Club: About Buying a Dog
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