This is the question I had on repeat in my mind when my children would ask for a puppy over and over again.
Not too long after my husband and I said “I do” we welcomed a puppy into our home. We were quite literally still in the honeymoon stage of marriage. A little eager to start living the American Dream, complete with a family dog.
We learned quickly that having a puppy is not for the faint of heart. The potty training, constant chewing, training, and eliminating bad habits required much of our time and attention. Even with the unwanted behavior, we loved our puppy very much and knew our lives were better with him.
Our precious Joseph, an English Springer Spaniel, lived to be 14 years old. He happily greeted each one of our children as we brought them home from the hospital. Joey was by our sides during both the joyful times and the sad. He was such a good boy, who we were all very sad to say goodbye to a few years ago.
It wasn’t long after he passed that we began to hear our children say, “When can we get another dog?” or “Can we get a puppy?” After all, Joseph was more my husband and I’s dog. The kids never had the opportunity to experience the puppy stage of a dog’s life. We wanted to say yes to our sweet kiddos and give them the full childhood experience. However, we knew puppies were a lot of work and just couldn’t fully commit right away.
We weren’t twenty-something newlyweds anymore. With a bit more wisdom and experience, we knew the importance of being prepared. Here are some things we took into consideration before we even started looking for a new dog.
Puppies Are Not Cheap
Anytime you welcome a new dog into the home you have to be ready. There are many expenses that come with having a lovable, furry family member. This may include:
Each dog is different and may require a specific brand of dog food to meet its needs. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs or food allergies. This may require a special diet that can cost more than what you easily find at the local store.
Vet Checkups and Having the Dog Spayed or Neutered
Puppies will have to see the vet more often in the first year. It is necessary to be up to date on vaccinations as well as getting them fixed.
Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medication
Living in CT, we are all very aware of Lyme disease and the importance of prevention. This isn’t something to mess around with. Whether you are treating your dog naturally or using prescription medication, there is a cost involved with making sure your precious pup is protected from getting these unwanted infections and diseases.
Your dog may have a coat that requires extra care. If you are up for the job, you can certainly bathe and clip your dog yourself. Although, many of us don’t have the patience, desire, or expertise to DIY our dog’s grooming needs.
Electric fence or GPS collar
Something to consider if you don’t want to be chasing after a dog who sees a squirrel or neighbors out for a stroll.
At some point, you will want to travel, need to be out of the home for an extended number of hours, or just need someone to check in on your dog. There are occasions when the dog might travel with you, but you will incur additional travel fees from the airlines or hotels when they do. When they don’t, including a dog caretaker in your vacation budget is a must.
Treats and Chew Toys
Puppies love to chew and having a new toy every so often is as exciting as Christmas day! Dogs who are excessive chewers, especially larger breeds, will need more toys and they can add up. Who can resist showing their puppy love by bringing home a special toy or two to pull, shred, and chase?
Puppies Require Time
Time is valuable and if you work outside the home and have children you already have less of it. Puppies offer wonderful benefits to the family, but can also cause undesired stress if you are not able to be available for them.
Potty training and muddy paws. Enough said.
Depending on the type of dog you have; you may be spending 30 minutes to 1+ hours outside each day making sure your dog is getting sufficient exercise. If you are an active person, this may already fit into your lifestyle. If not, you will need to adjust your schedule accordingly. A bored dog will drive you nuts!
Keeping your dog entertained and worn out mentally is just as important as the physical side.
Don’t be fooled by the infamous line by your children, “I will help take care of the puppy!”
Yes, children can absolutely take responsibility in helping out with the chores that come with having a puppy. However, it’s important to know kids don’t fully understand or have the authority to command a puppy to stop biting or jumping. Even with the most responsible young children, it’s important for an adult to supervise the dog when a child is present. We don’t want anyone getting hurt.
It took my husband and I three years before we felt ready to go all in and tackle a puppy again. Once we felt our lives were in a place where we could handle the extra financial and time commitment, we started looking for a new dog to love and welcome into our home!
It didn’t take long before we set our eyes on a little chubby, fluffy fur ball and knew he had to be a member of our family. In our minds, dogs come with many benefits that outweigh the drawbacks.
Why is having a dog AMAZING?
- Each of us has bonded with our dog in special ways. He keeps us company and entertained.
- We get outside more often and in all types of weather.
- Puppy play dates are a great way for dogs and humans to socialize.
- Our family feels complete.
- Having a dog to take care of gives adults and children a sense of worth. It feels good to care for someone other than yourself.