16 Things You Should Know Before You Get a Dog

by Glory Wade


Lady in E-collar

Are you ready to add a dog to your family? There are several things you should consider before stepping into this long-term commitment. I offer this questionnaire to help you before you adopt or buy a canine, or two, or three.

1.  Why do you want a dog? (Select all that apply.)

_____ Companionship                        _____ Therapy Dog

_____ For the kids                              _____  Hunting Dog

_____ Security/Guard Dog                 _____ Other

Getting a dog to teach your kids the facts of life or strictly to teach them responsibility is not a good reason. A love of dogs and their companionship is absolutely necessary.

2.  Who wants the dog?

_____ You                  _____ Spouse/Roommate(s)               _____ Kids

Everyone in the household should be on board for adding a dog to the family. Everyone will be impacted, whether it be a puppy or an adult.

 3.  Who will take care of the dog?

_____ You                  _____ Spouse/Roommate(s)               _____ Kids

This is a major consideration. If the person who is to be responsible leaves the care of the dog to someone else, the caretaker may resent it. Dogs are savvy to body language and sensitive to verbal.

 4.  Bearing in mind the age(s) of your kid(s), if applicable, will they be able to treat the dog properly?

_____ Yes       _____ No

No need to expound upon this. You know your children and if they would have a respect for pets. It is incumbent upon you to teach little children not to pull ears and tails, or invade the dog’s private space e.g. crate, dog bed in a corner.

5.  What size dog do you want?

_____ Small       _____ Medium      _____Large        _____ Giant

Take into consideration how large the dog will be full grown and how that will impact you and your family e.g. your ability to bathe the dog yourself, how big-dog proof your house is (read that as breakables on your tables for big dog tails to knock off), how big your yard is, how strong the dog walker is, etc.

6.  Do you have any other pets already? If so, do you think they will interact well?

_____ Yes       _____ No

If the answer to this is a definitive “No”, then do not bring a dog into your home.

 7.  Can you make a long-term commitment of approximately 12 years?

_____ Yes       _____ No

The life span of dogs varies greatly with the different breeds. Small dogs tend to live longer than the giant canines e.g. Irish Wolfhounds or Great Danes whose average span is seven years.

 8.  Does anyone in your family, or anyone who visits, have pet allergies?

_____ Yes       _____ No

This can be a major issue. Research the few breeds that people with allergies can successfully keep e.g. poodles.

 9.  How much time do you have for the dog?

_____ Very little         _____ Evenings & Weekends _____Every day

If you answered “very little”, best consider a different pet.

 10.  Where do you live?

_____ House with yard           _____ Apartment        _____ Other

_____ In the city                     _____ Suburbs            _____Country

Are there regulations on the size dog you can have, or if you can have one if you live in an apartment or condo?

 11.  Where will the dog spend most of his/her time?

_____ In the house      _____ Outside _____Half and half

Bear in mind the climate where you live and what breed of dog you are considering. Does your answer to this correlate with the reason you want the dog?

 12.  Will you walk the dog every day?

_____ Yes       _____ No

This is an absolute necessity for some breeds.

13.  How much time can you devote to grooming a dog?

_____ 5 minutes daily       _____ 15 minutes daily     _____1/2 hour weekly

The grooming needs vary from breed to breed but every dog needs to be brushed, either with a comb and brush or a glove designed for short coated breeds. They also need to be bathed periodically.

 14.  Will you be a responsible dog owner?

_____ Spay/Neuter (This is absolutely necessary.)

_____ Feed appropriately

_____ Clean up after in your yard and during a walk (If you say “Yuk, no”, then a

dog is not for you.)

_____ Maintain required vaccinations

_____ Teach proper behavior (curtail barking, chewing, etc.)

_____ Teeth cleaned by you and by veterinary to protect against some diseases

_____ Licensing (if applicable)

15.  Can you handle the trials and tribulations of raising a puppy (teething aka chewing, energy, training from scratch, housebreaking, socializing, etc.)?

_____ Yes       _____ No

If the answer is “No”, you are best to get a dog that is at least one to two years old. Bear in mind that you still may need to housebreak an adult.

16.  Can you afford to keep a dog?

_____ Yes       _____ No

Aside from purchasing the dog, consider the following: spaying or neutering, possible de-worming, vaccinations, preventive meds e.g. for heartworm, annual teeth cleaning, dog food, dog treats and toys, licensing, boarding or pet sitter if needed when you take a vacation, and a budget for unforeseen emergencies or events. You may want to check with a vet for estimates of most of these items.


I hope this helps you to determine if you should get a canine, or not. Being a dog parent is a major undertaking but very rewarding. If a dog is not for you, consider the feasibility of a cat or some other pet.

Please contact me at glorywadewriter@gmail.com if it helped you or if I have missed anything important that you think should have been included. Thank you!


3 thoughts on “16 Things You Should Know Before You Get a Dog”

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