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Are You Ready to Own a Dog?

September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month. If you are already a dog owner, you are very familiar with what it takes to care for a puppy or a dog. You have to accept all tasks that come with having a dog: from buying food to cleaning up after your dog to veterinary bills. It’s a huge responsibility! So for those of you wondering if you’re ready to take that plunge into doggy parenthood, think about what it takes to be a responsible dog owner.

1. Affordability

Having another life in your home always means more expenses. If you are struggling to pay your monthly expenses, you may want to wait on getting a dog. If you’re financially stable, then let’s chat about the expenses. First, the essentials: food, a collar and leash, poop bags, grooming tools, a kennel, ID tags, a microchip, shots, veterinary bills for procedures (like spay and neuter) as well as preventative care. And we often enjoy getting our dogs some extra goodies: toys, a bed, food and water dishes, winter gear like booties or coats, etc… In the end, the love and joy your dog will bring you is priceless, but if you can’t afford what your dog needs, it’s best to wait until you are more prepared for the costs of owning a dog.

2. Commitment
If you are always out of town for work or are only at home to sleep, having a dog might not fit your lifestyle. A dog needs you. You have to be ready to devote time for play, cuddles, walks, meals, grooming, baths, cleaning up after your dog, vet visits, and training/obedience classes. You can’t expect to only have to manage the playing and cuddling. You have to be ready for all aspects.

3. Safety
Are you ready to dog-proof your home? This includes keeping your dog safe from health risks. No more leaving food out (especially not toxic items like grapes, chocolate, nuts, etc…). You must place particular items like antifreeze and rodenticides up on a high shelf in the garage where your dog can’t access them. Be prepared for your dog to get into anything and try to eat it.

4. Health  
You also have to be willing to keep your dog healthy by taking trips to the vet, cleaning teeth, grooming, preventing obesity by exercising, etc.… And what if an emergency occurs? How much are you prepared to spend in case your pet has to visit the pet ER or a veterinary specialist?

Are you willing to commit to what it takes to be the parent of a dog? Once you know you can handle the responsibilities, you can truly enjoy a new furry family member! Whether you are looking for a puppy or an older dog, check out your local humane society or a dog rescue to see what dogs are up for adoption. Happy searching for the perfect dog for your family!

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