The toughest decision pet parents have to make when getting a puppy is choosing one. Pet parents wanting to adopt a puppy may spend a lot of time wondering, "What kind of puppy should I get?"
All puppies are adorable and difficult for pet parents to resist. However, puppies grow up to become dogs, and every dog breed has specific physical and psychological needs that must be met. Before choosing a puppy, considering the following can help pet parents narrow down what dog breed is perfect for their lifestyle.
Should I Get a Puppy?
Before getting a puppy, pet parents should evaluate their life and goals. Puppies are a long-term commitment, and pet parents should be prepared to have the dog for 10 to 15 years.
Many pet parents have a lot of responsibilities. Before adding another 15-year commitment, they should write down all of their current obligations, such as:
- Work schedule
- School schedule
- Volunteer schedule
- Relationship commitments, including significant others, friends, and family
Dogs are pack animals, meaning they don't like to be alone. Some pet parents adopt several dogs for company, but multiple dogs mean bigger messes. Dogs view pet parents as the pack's alphas and want to be with them, so they may still become destructive when left alone for too long.
To make sure a pet parent has enough time to spend with their dog, they should write down ways to incorporate the dog into their daily life. Puppies and dogs need exercise and training, and puppies require a lot of extra play and training time.
In addition to current commitments, consider 10 and 15-year goals and whether a new puppy fits into those goals.
Puppies are a lot of fun, but they're also a lot of work and not a great option for everyone. There are many adult and senior dogs in need of a good home. Some pet parents may think an older dog won't be as loyal as a puppy they've raised and that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." This is entirely wrong. There are many benefits to adopting an adult or senior dog. Most are:
- Already house trained
- Past the teething phase
- Less active
Dogs and puppies can be expensive. Adopting purebred dogs from a breeder can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Also, puppies require several vet visits for vaccine boosters and dewormers until they're a year old. Some dog breeds are more prone to health problems and may require more visits to monitor their growth and health. Other costs pet parents need to budget for are:
- High-quality food
- Supplements and preventative medications
- Emergency vet bills
- Spay or neuter
Large dogs and small living quarters may not mix. Pet parents should consider how much space their dog will need, and yard size should also be considered. If the pet parents don't have a yard, the dog will have to spend more time inside and need more indoor space and toys. Pet parents will also need to plan time to take their dog on several walks throughout the day.
Knowing what size the pet parent is looking for will help narrow down the plethora of breeds. A few breed considerations pet parents should think about are:
- Exercise requirements
- Grooming needs
- Common health concerns
- Training difficulty
- Attention requirements
Current and Future Household
Some dogs are great with kids and other pets, while others aren't. Pet parents will need to find a dog or puppy whose personality fits the rest of the household. If they currently live alone, they should consider their future plans.
Many pet parents may not have a preference. However, in a multidog household, the sex of a new addition may matter to the other dog. Also, pet parents should plan to spay or neuter their new puppy or dog to prevent any surprise additions to the family.
Additional Puppy Advice
After some exhausting due diligence, a pet parent will be ready to find their perfect puppy or dog. Before adopting, pet parents should also make a list of puppy questions to ask the breeder or shelter such as dog parent health testing, socialization, vaccinations, and breeding history. A responsible breeder or foster will be able to provide the pet parent with a lot of valuable information.