You may be considering buying or adopting a puppy for your child or spouse this Christmas, I mean, who doesn’t want to receive a puppy as a Christmas present? That’s the dream! But this is a serious step and a (dog’s) lifetime commitment so you should definitely think long and hard about your answers to the following questions before you make your decision.
Are you allowed to have a dog at your house?
If you’re renting your home or even living in strata you may not be allowed to have a dog. Despite being common practise, hiding a dog for real estate inspections is extremely difficult. When you own a dog, things will inevitably get a little bit damaged, holes dug in the yard, flyscreens scratched, hair gets stuck in the carpet, and there’s “that dog smell”. Real estate agents are very skilled at spotting signs of pets and one stray hair or holey flyscreen could get you into a lot of trouble.
Are you away for work all day, every day?
Dogs need activities and interaction and can get very bored when left at home. Boredom can sometimes lead to “naughty” behaviour, like digging, chewing things, barking or escaping the yard. If you work long hours every day it might not be best to leave the dog at home by itself all the time. You could consider a dog walker to visit and walk your dog during the days, or you could enrol in doggy daycare.
Do you travel away at Christmas or Easter?
When you reluctantly have to go to the in-laws for a week in December, or you finally take that Bali holiday you’ve been planning, who’s going to look after your dog? Will you pay for pet sitting services, or send your dog to a boarding facility? Boarding is generally around $50 per day and even more during peak holiday times.
Are you prepared to have your home invaded?
Dogs should be a member of the family, not a garden ornament. We strongly believe that dogs need to be allowed in their family home, even just for a little while each day, so that they can bond with their owners, feel safe, comfortable and loved, and learn how to respect your space and belongings.
Do you WANT to walk the dog every single day, or does that secretly sound annoying?
Exercise is good for your physical and mental wellbeing and the same goes for your dog. Lack of exercise can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health concerns so it’s important to take your dog out every day for at least 30 minutes of proper movement. You’ll probably be thinking “sure I will, I could use the exercise!” but despite good intentions, staying committed to this plan is hard for a lot of people when life gets in the way.
Will your family circumstance change in the foreseeable future?
“Free to good home due to change in circumstances” is a sad but common thing to see on Gumtree, how heartbreaking it must be to have to give a family member away. If you potentially have some big life events coming up like moving house, going back to work, or having a baby, think about how this might impact your ability to look after a dog. Often families thrive when they’re surrounded by animals, but sometimes it can cause tension and the animals end up on the losing side.
Did you know the “puppy stage” only lasts a matter of weeks?
Look at this transformation of @Chewie_of_loveem , look at it!
Your kids might want a puppy because they’re just the cutest, fluffiest things in the whole universe, but remember they don’t stay puppies for loooonnnggg. Your little pupperino will be a great big doggo in just a matter of weeks.
Are you prepared for a 15 year commitment?
This is a dog we’re talking about, not a goldfish. Dogs generally live 10-15 years depending on their breed and health condition, that means that if you were to purchase a puppy when your kids are “just the right age” at let’s say, 8 years old, you could still have that same dog after your child has a university degree. That’s a lot of years of walking daily, a lot of years of buying dog food and paying for pet insurance, and a lot of years of nagging teenagers and young adults to clean up the yard. Hopefully, your dog would live a very long and happy life as a loved member of the family, but in sad cases people can find dogs “too much work” and this is why our shelters are overflowing with dogs, many of which are seniors.
My aim is not to discourage you from adopting or buying a puppy, we think that everyone should be able to enjoy the friendship of dogs! We only want what’s best for the animals, so please think of all the surrendered dogs whose circumstances have changed and make absolutely sure that you’re ready. If all of this sounds wonderful and you’re prepared to take on the responsibility, send us a photo of your new addition to the family when they make their arrival!