It is always very exciting when you see a puppy or kitten and you just want to take it home right away. But there are a few important things that you and your family should consider before you decide what the best fit is for you, things may not always turn out the way you expect if you are not prepared.

Breed – It is important the breed matches your lifestyle.

Although you may have always had your heart set on that beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog or that cute little Chihuahua each breed has their own specific qualities as well as specific needs. Some breeds are more active and require a lot more exercise, others may be a little more on the “lazy” side and can’t physically handle too much exercise. Different temperaments and genetics come with each different breed therefore ensure you research the breeds you are interested in before making that final decision!

Your Free Time – Get ready to make some sacrifices.

Much like having a child, adopting a dog means that this new family member will often come before you own desires. For some people, this may mean an end to spontaneous planning or long trips. It isn’t always easy to find someone to pet sit for you in a pinch or for long periods of time. You may have to go home early from an event because the dog needs to be walked. Dogs are a time commitment.

Children? Other Pets?

Even if you love a dog and that dog loves you back, don’t commit just yet until everyone in the family has been introduced to the potential new family member. Schedule multiple visits with your family as well as any other dogs in the house. Know whether or not they are good with cats if you have any, and learn how to properly introduce them to your home.

Money, Money, Money!

There is much more cost that comes along with a new family member, it goes way past just the initial purchase price or adoption fee. Do your research in regards to what is expected for your pet in their first year of life. Also ensure you are considering that your pet may not be healthy their entire life, they may get injured and need surgery, they may become diagnosed with a medical condition that requires medication for the rest of their life. You never know what you will come across throughout your pet’s life.

Training is TOUGH!

The decision between a puppy or adopting an older pet is one in the same. They each have something that they may need to work on, not every pet will be perfect and will require training. Whether it is house training a puppy, or house training an adopted adult dog that has never lived in a house before.

– Becky Hunt, Registered Veterinary Technician