They say that a dog is man’s best friend and it seems Americans agree – approximately 44 percent of households have a dog. The unconditional love and companionship that a canine pet can bring are often hard to rival. They can prove to be helpful companions and best friends to growing children. Making the decision to add a dog to your family is also a decision that should be considered carefully and goes well beyond choosing the perfect breed of dog for your family. There are a few factors to take into account to ensure that adopting a dog is the right decision for you and your family.
Is It Right For My Family?
One of the first things to think about is how well a dog will fit into your family. The composition of your family and your daily habits will largely influence not your decision to adopt but also the breed of dog you choose and even the age. For those with kids, some breeds of dogs interact better with children than others. Most dogs that are adopted also come with a past of either being abandoned or some trauma. Therefore it is very important that they are provided with care and stability when they join the home. Begin by considering who the other member of your household is and any adjustments you may need to make in order to make the adoption a smooth one.
Is It Right For My Wallet?
Adopting a dog also requires a sizable financial commitment. The lifetime costs of food, grooming, and regular veterinary care can total between $27074 and $42545 according to the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. In the first year alone you can expect to pay approximately $1,270 including the cost of pet insurance. This cost can increase by $500 each additional year depending on the choices you make when it comes to their care and food. Basic dry kibble can run up to $250 annually if replaced every 2 months. For premium kibble, this jumps to $400. According to Kate Barrington, understanding your dog’s nutritional needs and the difference between small breeds and large breeds will help you determine the right kind of food, and the associated cost.
There is also the adoption fee to think about. Pets in shelters receive basic veterinary care before being adopted. For some shelters, the cost of its first vaccinations and neutering is included in the adoption which saves you money initially. So before you make the decision to adopt, assess your finances and determine whether there is room for the financial costs that come with adding a four-legged member of the family.
Is It Right For My Lifestyle?
Adding a dog into your family will also affect your daily routines and lifestyle. If you work long hours or typically lead an outdoor life, it is most likely that your new dog will be left alone for the majority of the day unless you arrange care for him. Dogs also require exercise and attention so there should be flexibility in your schedule to allow for daily walks, grooming and veterinary checkups. Older dogs or those with medical conditions will also require a bit more effort and time.
Adopting a dog is a wonderful idea. It allows you to give one of the millions of abandoned dogs a new loving home. However, it is also a substantial decision that requires some forethought. While it is a lucrative idea, it should not be a snap one.