You’ve seen your neighbor’s Bichon Frise and think she’s just the
cutest dog. Your friends have dogs that cannot seem to get enough of you
when you come over and you cannot get enough of them. You’re feeling
confident. You can do this. You decide you’re ready to bring a pet into
your life. But are you truly ready? There are some questions you need to
ask your family, and yourself, before diving headlong into this
Who is going to take responsibility for the new pet? Will it be a
family effort or will you designate one person to do the feedings,
Does the family have enough time to commit to a pet? If you;re always
traveling or rarely in your house, then maybe you should just buy a
How many hours will the pet be alone? Pets need a lot of attention
and a lot of love. They get easily depressed and sometimes their health
deteriorates, especially in dogs.
Can you afford this pet? Pets require food, grooming and yearly visits to the veterinarian.
You should also ask yourself if you’re willing to take on any health
issues that may arise in the future. Dogs and cats can suffer from a
multitude of ailments and diseases. Hip dysplasia is a painful disease
common in big dogs that occurs due to heredity and other factors; hip
joints don’t fit properly into sockets and can rub together excessively,
wearing down cartilage. Oftentimes, dogs will also suffer from
arthritis and inflammation.
Cats and dogs can live 10 years or more. Are you ready for this lifetime commitment?
Does everyone in your household agree and want a new pet in the family?
Do you rent or own your home? Do you live in an apartment? If you’re
renting or live in cluster living, it may be more difficult to bring a
pet into your home. Make sure to ask your landlord what his pet
If the animal has issues adjusting to his new environment, how will
you deal with it? My experience with dogs is that, when they are
introduced to a new environment, they are often anxious and scared. Many
times they will pee and poop in the house. Dogs need a lot of positive
reinforcement. Scolding a dog physically never solves the problem and
gives the wrong message to your dog; he will think that he should be
afraid of you and that you are not to be trusted. When dogs feel
threatened, they become defensive and may lash out with some type of
aggressive behavior, ranging from barking to biting.
If there are continuing behavioral issues, what will you do? Are you willing to hire a dog trainer or animal behaviorist?
Where will the pet live? Is it an indoor or outdoor pet, or both?
Where will they stay during the day and where will they sleep at night?
When the pet is outside, will he have enough shelter to protect himself from the weather?
What will you do with your pet when you’re at work or running
errands? This is especially important with regard to dogs. Will they
remain in a crate, secured in a bedroom, or left outside?
Do you have a fence around your yard? If so, what kind is it and how
tall is it? Many dogs like to dig and have been known to dig under the
fencing structure. Big dogs, like English Mastiffs and Great Danes, are
tall enough to jump fences. It’s usually a good idea to have a fence
that is at least 5 feet tall or higher.
What you want to avoid is putting additional frustration and stress
on yourself and on your family. You don’t want to go through the process
of bringing a new pet into your home only to realize it was a mistake
and then have to return him. This can be extremely traumatic for your
family and for the pet.
If you’re really serious about getting a new pet, then take these
questions seriously and really take some time answering them. Only then
will know if you’re ready.