A giant breed may only live for 7 to 9, or maybe even 11 years. But a toy breed can live as long as 22-24 years! All dogs need to be fed, brushed and walked on a daily basis. Don’t forget about bathing! How much time do you spend away from home? Not just traveling, which presents its own set of challenges, but commuting? Dogs aren’t happy being alone or crated for 12 hours a day. And being home for two days on the weekend can never make up for the time you aren’t with your dog.
Do you have kids? Children, especially young ones, aren’t accustomed to real animals. Stuffed animals can fall down the stairs safely, but a puppy cannot. Toys can be dropped, stepped on, or even run over by a bike! A puppy can be seriously hurt, even by a well-meaning child. And just like kids, puppies have soft bones and can be injured easily.
Recently married or newly co-habiting? It can be very hard to bring a puppy into a situation like this. You and your partner are just learning how to live with each other, much less a puppy! Try waiting at least a year, so you can be comfortable in your life, home, and each other before adding a puppy to the mix.
Did you become an empty-nester? Even though you probably have plenty of experience with pets, are you really ready to try again right away? Maybe it’s been a while since you had a dog. You just got your house back to yourself. Are you ready for housebreaking?
Check your schedule. Do you travel more? When you’re on the road you can travel with small dogs in cars, and even on planes. A larger breed might fit in the car, but not on an airplane. And some hotels won’t allow large dogs.
What about allergies? Is anyone in your family allergic? Do you sneeze and get a runny nose when you pet the neighbor’s Labrador? Do your daughter’s eyes itch when she plays with her friend’s Pomeranian? Before thinking about getting a puppy, everyone should be tested for allergic reactions. This can be as easy as spending time with someone else’s pet. But it can save a lot of heartbreak later.
After taking everything into consideration, if you, your partner, your family, and your lifestyle are compatible with a dog, it’s time to find a breeder. Go get your puppy! But if one person isn’t happy or ready, don’t get the dog. Always remember that getting a puppy is a lifetime commitment!