Puppies are tiny bundles of love, joy, and excitement, and every time you see a cute photo of one, you might be tempted to head to the animal shelter right away.
However, you must know what you’re in for before getting a puppy. Puppies can be stubborn and expensive, and caring for one requires time and patience.
Before becoming a first-time dog owner, read this guide to ensure you’re ready. After all, your puppy depends on you for a happy life!
1. Dogs Are a Lifelong Commitment
Depending on their breed and overall health, your dog will be with you for up to 20 years, which is a long time! You’ll have to plan how your day-to-day life will change after getting a puppy.
Besides ensuring your puppy gets enough exercise and is not left alone for too long, you’ll want to consider the less-obvious ways having a pup will affect your life.
For example, you may not be able to travel as freely with a pup by your side. You can either leave your pup at home with a trusted individual, board them at a kennel or find a way to take them on the adventure with you.
Traveling with a dog can be complicated and costly, affecting lodging and transportation options. However, it’s not impossible! To help you out, you can research dog-friendly and walkable cities, including ones with dog parks.
2. Teething Causes Damage
When your puppy reaches a certain age, they’ll think they must chew everything in your home. You may have to purchase teething toys or find an affordable way to relieve their pain as their baby teeth fall out and adult teeth come in. Freezing a washcloth or rag can provide them with some relief.
Though seeing tooth marks on furniture might be frustrating, try to be patient with your pup. They don’t want it to happen, either! Give them safe alternatives to chew on, and steer them away from furniture and wires.
3. Housebreaking Can Be Difficult
Dogs aren’t automatically born with the knowledge to only go to the bathroom outside. You’ll need to teach your puppy how to refrain from relieving themselves indoors, which can take time and patience.
Thankfully, housebreaking is easy once you establish a schedule to take them out often, like before and after they eat or drink a lot of water. You can teach your puppy that going to the bathroom outside is the right thing to do by rewarding them with a treat whenever they get it right. They should start to understand that outside trips are for using the bathroom.
4. Vet Visits Are Expensive
Even simple checkups can be pricey. Pet insurance is one option to help with costs, especially if your dog is a breed known for having certain health conditions.
Explore all of your options, but do not skip out on your dog’s care. They need to visit the vet regularly to live a long and happy life. You can budget for annual checkups, and you’ll also want to prepare for surprise visits to the vet — especially during the puppy years when your dog might be a bit more chaotic and unpredictable.
5. Dogs Need Proper Pest Protection
Your vet can guide you in the right direction, but you’ll likely want pest protection that keeps dogs safe from heartworm, fleas, and ticks.
Dogs can have up to 250 heartworms at once, which is potentially life-threatening and can cost more than preventive care would have. Keeping your pet’s medication up to date is the best way to ensure your dog remains protected from pests.
6. You’ll Need to Stock up on Supplies
In the months before getting your dog, start purchasing the necessary supplies. This will help you spread out your spending, and you might find some sales, too.
Here are some supplies you may need:
- Dog food
- Basic grooming equipment
Before bringing home your pup, create a checklist of everything you need to make it easier to shop for your new family member.
7. Optional Expenses Add Onto the Cost
You may want help with training your dog to ensure their safety and happiness. Plus, you can learn about dog ownership when you attend training classes. Just keep in mind that these obedience classes — which usually last a couple of weeks — will cost a fee.
Dogs that need a lot of grooming will also be a bit more expensive. If you don’t want to pay for frequent groomer visits, you can find a dog breed whose fur doesn’t require much upkeep. You can also brush your dog yourself between grooming sessions.
Make the Most of Your Time With Your Pup
A significant time and financial investment is involved with a new puppy — even beyond the initial payment or adoption fee. There’s a lot to consider, from vaccinations and vet visits to the new toys you’re sure to spoil them with. However, owning a dog is one of the best things you could ever experience. With a new pup, you gain a lifelong friend. When you plan accordingly, it will be an amazing and life-changing experience for you both.