Am I Ready for a Pet?

The snow is gone, the grass is starting to green, flowers are starting to bloom…has spring really sprung?  With the new life that comes with each spring we at Mission Ridge often get to enjoy an influx of puppies in all shapes and sizes.  The question remains though, how do you make that decision?  What things should you consider when adding a new 4- legged member to your family?

#1- Are all household members on board?  Puppies can often be a lot of work as they adjust to life in their new home, and it is important that everyone in the household is in agreement with the new family member.  All members of the household should attend any meet and greets with the new puppy so that there are no surprises.  If there are other pets in the home, special care should be taken to a gradual introduction of them to each other.  When possible it is a good decision to bring them to a meet and greet when it is in a quiet, controlled situation.

#2- Is your home pet friendly for the size of dog you wish to purchase?  Consideration should be taken for the size of the breed, activity level, and temperament of the breed.   Just like humans, there can be a vast difference not only in breeds, but from dog to dog.  Consideration should be made to things like:

Your Yard:
Is your yard fenced, or will your dog be tied outside?
Is your yard large enough to exercise the dog in, or will that require additional walks?
Is there adequate shelter from the elements in both summer and winter?
Does the dog meet city and/or county bylaws?
If you live in an apartment or complex does your lease allow you a dog?
Does your home fall under any homeowners association bylaws?
Will your dog have a designated indoor sleeping space?
Do you have stairs or multiple levels that the dog will need to navigate?
Will you allow your dog free roam of the house?
Your Activity Level:
Do you plan on walking your dog daily or are you seeking a running partner?
Does your schedule allow you time to attend a puppy obedience class?
How long will the puppy be expected to stay alone at home?
#3 Are you willing to commit to the care of this pet? Aside from the demographics of your home and family, careful consideration should be taken to the financial commitment and time that is being made.  Depending on breed, dogs live an average of 12-15 years for small to medium size dogs, and 7-10 years for large and extra large dogs.  Veterinary care, licensing, and nutrition are just a few of the things that should be contemplated when making this decision as it varies from dog to dog.  Puppy Classes, grooming and other things like toys, leashes and bedding all come into account and the best way to be prepared is to be informed.

Whether your choice leads you to a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier or a Bull Mastiff, the process is always exciting and very rewarding.  The best way is to make an informed decision and to consider how the dog’s natural behaviors will flow with your lifestyle.  We at Mission Ridge are always willing to help you as you consider which puppy would be the best for you!

Written by: Rachel MacQueen RVT