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Owning a puppy comes with a lot of responsibility. You must be willing to commit a lot of time and energy to ensure your dog is properly entertained and cared for. Here is a list of questions to see if a dog will fit into your life:

Why am I getting a dog?

It’s a simple question, but an important one. Many people fall into the trap of getting a dog because “it’s the thing to do” or because their kids are begging them profusely. Adopting a dog means you are responsible for it for up to 15 (or even more) years!

Is there enough time in my life for a dog?

Dogs are social animals, and you are now part of their family. Dogs require hours of care and attention each day, including feeding, exercising and socializing. Dogs are companion animals that cannot simply be ignored because you are too busy or too tired to focus on them. Do not adopt a dog if your life is too hectic and busy to give your pup the attention it needs.

Can I afford a dog?

Costs for dog care can reach into the thousands per year. Grooming, training, feeding, healthcare, treats, toys and boarding expenses can add up in a hurry!

Are you patient enough for a dog?

Dogs can cause lots of problems. Especially puppies and young dogs, you can face a variety of issues including chewing, tearing and “accidents”. Older dogs may have health issues that can be very expensive to deal with. Make sure you are willing to deal with a dog that may present some difficulties.

Does your living situation allow for dogs?

You better check in with your landlord first. Many rentals do not allow for pets, but even the one’s that do have breed and weight restrictions. Good shelters will ask for your landlord’s information to confirm they allow dogs, but most do not. Do your homework before you bring a dog home to ensure you can have him.

Is this a good time to get a dog?

Do you have a young child at home? Puppies are full of energy and may not have the right boundaries in place to safely be around your baby. Travel a lot? Puppies require tons of time (in case you missed that part). Busy with work or school? I think you get the idea. Make sure you can responsibly devote the time to your puppy so they grow up loved and well cared for.

Will your home environment work for the dog you have in mind?

It’s hard to have a Bull Mastiff in a studio apartment. Terriers are not couch potatoes. Making sure to do your research to ensure your lifestyle matches the personality of your dog.

Do you have someone to look after your dog when you travel for work or pleasure?

Have a contingency plan. Emergencies will happen, your family will want to take a trip without your pup, it’s important that you have friends or family to care while you’re away. Do your research into boarding facilities and reliable pet sitting agencies in your area.

Will you be a conscientious and responsible dog guardian?

When you adopt a dog, you are accepting responsibility for a life. It will be your responsibility to provide your dog with a nutritious diet, proper training, comfortable shelter and adequate healthcare.

Many people rush into the idea of getting a puppy, and they don’t take the time to see if they can care for it. Don’t make the mistake that leads to thousands of pets to end up in animal shelters every year. Be a smart pet owner.