What Should You Consider Before Getting a Dog?

What Should You Consider Before Getting a Dog?

Embarking on the adventure of dog ownership is a deeply enriching experience, filled with emotional and personal rewards. It demands time, resources and care, but the fulfilment it brings is immeasurable. If you're on the verge of bringing a furry companion into your life, the excitement is surely at an all-time high! However, it's crucial to consider some essential aspects to ensure you're thoroughly prepared for this wonderful new journey. In this blog, we'll explore all the important considerations to help you get ready for the arrival of your new four-legged friend.

Understanding the Commitment

Time Investment: Dogs require daily care, which includes feeding, grooming, exercise, and playtime. Puppies, in particular, need significant attention and training. Assess your lifestyle and daily schedule to determine if you can dedicate adequate time to a dog's needs.
Long-Term Commitment: Dogs live for many years. It's essential to think about where you see yourself in the next 10-15 years and whether a dog fits into that picture. Consider potential life changes such as moves, career shifts, or family expansions.

Financial Responsibility

Initial Costs: The initial cost of getting a dog goes beyond the price of the dog itself. It includes expenses for vaccinations, spaying/neutering, microchipping, and necessary supplies like a bed, collar, lead, identification tags and feeding bowls.
Ongoing Expenses: Regular expenses such as food, grooming, veterinary check-ups, and possible pet insurance can add up. Emergency medical costs should also be factored in. It's important to assess if your budget can accommodate these expenses.

Choosing the Right Dog

Breed Research: Each dog breed has different needs, temperaments, and health considerations. Some breeds require more exercise and mental stimulation than others, and some may be prone to specific health issues. Researching and choosing a breed that aligns with your lifestyle and experience with pets is vital. Purina has a dog breed selector quiz which aligns your lifestyle and requirements with a breed which may be best suited for you and your family.
Size and Energy Levels: Consider the size of the dog and their energy levels. Larger dogs typically need more space and exercise, while smaller dogs might be more suited to apartment living. High-energy breeds will need ample exercise to stay healthy and happy.
Age of the dog: If you’re looking to adopt from a shelter, it’s really important to consider the age of the dog and what their needs are. If you have set your heart on an elderly pooch, consider their activity levels and current health needs. Blue Cross has a guide on how to care for elderly dogs. Similarly, if you are opting for a puppy, ensure you will have enough time to socialise and exercise them.

Training and Socialisation

Training Commitment: Training is crucial for a well-behaved dog and a harmonious home environment. Consider whether you have the time and patience for training, especially in the puppy stages.
Socialisation Needs: Puppies need socialisation to interact well with people and other animals. This involves time and effort to expose them to different environments and experiences positively.

It’s also important to note that if you’re adopting from a shelter, your dog may not socialise with other dogs, children or other people well. It’s really important to speak with shelter staff about your needs and home situation before falling in love with a dog which may not be suitable for your home environment.

Lifestyle Considerations

Activity Level: Your activity level should match your dog's. Active individuals might prefer a more energetic dog, while a more laid-back person might want a less active breed.
Family Members: Consider the needs and allergies of everyone in your household. Ensure all family members are comfortable with the decision and understand the responsibilities involved.

Home Environment

Living Space: Assess if your living space is suitable for a dog. Dogs need enough room to move around, and access to a safe, enclosed outdoor space is beneficial.
Landlord Policies: If you rent, check your landlord's policy on pets. Some landlords have no problem with pets, whilst others may not allow it altogether, or may ask for an additional deposit. It is vital that you check these before bringing a dog home.

Preparing for Responsibility

Veterinary Care: Regular vet check-ups are essential for a dog's health. Identify a reputable vet in your area and consider the logistics of getting your dog to vet appointments. It may be worth looking at health care plans if you plan on your pup being seen regularly. These plans tend to offer worming and flea treatments as well as vaccination programmes. We’ve written a blog on healthcare plans, you can read it here.
Emergency Plans: Have a plan in place for emergencies, including who will take care of your dog if you cannot.
Pet Care During Absences: Consider who will look after your dog during holidays or unexpected absences. Options include pet sitters, boarding facilities, or trustworthy friends/family.


Welcoming a dog into your life is an incredibly rewarding experience, filled with joys that enrich every day. Making this decision requires thoughtful consideration and planning. Reflecting on these essential factors ensures you are fully prepared for the responsibilities and boundless happiness that come with dog ownership, setting the stage for a fulfilling life with your new furry companion.