Well, my friend, if you’re here you must be trying to decide once and for all, should I get a dog? And you know what? I’m glad you are! Because this isn’t a decision to take lightly.
I’m a dog lover through and through, with three dogs of my own; however, I’m also the first to say that not everyone is cut out for dog ownership. There’s a big difference between loving dogs and having a dog of your own.
At the end of the day, as long as your willing to step up and make the commitment to your dog’s health, nutritional, physical and emotional needs, you’re going to be just fine.
But taking a look within and pondering the questions in this article will give you a better idea of whether you can answer the question of should I get a dog with a resounding yes.
Should I get a dog: 5 Questions to ask yourself
Okay, before you decide to get a dog, it’s important to evaluate your personal readiness in terms of lifestyle, stability and readiness. Here’s what you need to consider:
Does my lifestyle mesh well with the dog life?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that dogs need constant, round the clock care. Before you bring a dog into your life you need to take stock of your current lifestyle. Do you already live a life that a dog could easily fit into? Or would you need to significantly adapt your lifestyle with the addition of a dog?
Some specifics to think about are:
- Do you have time for a daily walk (or more!) early every morning?
- Are you home during the day? If not, are you able to stop in during the day or hire a dog walker?
- How often do you travel? Are you willing to cut back on travel, travel with your dog, and/or are you ready to foot the bill of a dog sitter?
- Do you wake up early? Are you ready to adapt your routine to fit your dog’s needs every single day? Dogs don’t have a sense of sleeping in on the weekend remember
Can I financially support a dog right now?
Dogs can become quite expensive, especially if they develop any kind of health issues. When you decide to get a dog, you have to be ready to give them the health care they need should issues arise. It’s not uncommon to have unexpectedly large vet bills from time to time!
You should also think about how a dog will affect your monthly budget. Expenses such as dog food, dog walker/sitter, training classes, gear, and grooming do tend to add up. A lot of this will depend and vary on the type and age of the dog you decide to get. But it’s all important to keep in mind!
Are my loved ones on board with the decision?
This may not be applicable, but if you have a significant other, family, roommates or close friends you visit with often, it’s a good idea to make sure they are on board! You want to make sure everyone is comfortable with the decision and will allow you AND your dog into their life.
This is most important when these loved ones are people you live with! It’s very important to discuss a big decision like getting a dog ahead of time. Surprise dogs end up back in shelters far too often. Don’t impulse get a dog or get a dog as a gift. This should be a serious conversation.
Am I ready to commit through all seasons of life?
So, you may be nodding your head yes to a lot of these questions, but make sure you aren’t just thinking about the now. How will your dog fit into your life as you age and go through different seasons of life?
Consider factors like starting a family, moving, job promotions, aging, and declining mobility and health. These are all realities that may impact your ability to properly meet your dog’s needs over the course of their life.
Do I know what owning a dog entails?
If you’ve never owned a dog or been close to someone who owned a dog, it’s so important to read and do your research! You need to know what you’re getting yourself into! Learn about positive reinforcement training, house training, crate training, and exercise needs.
Should I get a dog? 15 Signs you’re ready
Once you’ve done a little self-reflection based on the questions above, check to see if you’re meeting all of the “ready signs” below. While there’s no exact formula to knowing if you should get a dog, this should give you a pretty good idea of where you’re at
- You’ve done your research on basic training and caring for dogs
- You’ve decided whether adopting or buying from a breeder is a better choice for you
- You’ve decided whether an adult dog or puppy is a better choice for you
- You’ve considered different breeds and found one that matches your lifestyle
- You’ve owned other pets (or at least plants)
- You’re good at keeping a routine
- You can make commitment to exercising and stimulating your dog
- You know it’s going to be frustrating at times
- You’re home or current living situation is dog friendly
- The people in your life are on board with you getting a dog
- You’re ready financially to care for a dog
- You’re available emotionally to care for a dog, especially as they age
- You’re physically able to care for a dog
- You know that your dog will be there even as changes happen in your life (like a growing family!)
- You’re ready to take the next steps to prepare
Related Reading: Dog Essentials: Gear Every Dog Owner Should Have
Should I get a dog? Only YOU know for sure
With this guide, you should be able to get a better sense of if now’s the right time to add a dog to your life. I don’t think I have to tell you that dog’s are the most amazing companions. They bring so much love and joy to life, and I can’t imagine life without one.
However, they are a serious commitment and you need to make sure you’re ready for that! But if you are, I say jump right in and never look back, you’re gonna love it.
Looking for some more inspiration? Check out these breed round-ups to help your research!
- 7 Easy to Train Dogs
- The Best Mellow Dog Breeds
- 6 Large Dogs That Are Hypoallergenic
- The Largest Dog Breeds
What do you think is an important sign of being ready for a dog? Share in the comments!