We all know that owning a dog or a cat is wonderful; it encourages you to exercise, teaches children about responsibility and gives you unconditional affection. However, before you bring home a dog or puppy, cat or kitten, you need to be sure it’s the right pet for you, particularly if it’s a dog you have chosen.

Tips for deciding if this is the right time:

  1. Have you done homework, such as reading about housebreaking, training, behavioural problems, and daily care of a dog? And what kinds of dogs are best for you and your family? (See suggested reading at the end.)
  2. Will your working hours allow enough time to provide the care and exercise a dog needs every day?
  3. If you have children, will you have time to provide the daily care and exercise a dog needs every day?
  4. Will you have enough money to cover food, toys, annual vet exams, vaccinations, monthly heartworm preventative, flea control, unexpected medical costs, grooming, training, and boarding the pet when you travel?
  5. Are you ready to live with a pet? Can you depend on your children not to pester a dog or a cat and not to let them out the door? Will you be able to watch the dog at all times when children visit your home?
  6. If considering a puppy, will you be able to arrange for midday visits — since puppies need to go out every 4 hours or so to become housebroken?
  7. Do you have time for obedience training and teaching house manners as necessary to help the dog become a good companion?
  8. Do you travel frequently, and if so, what are your plans for the animal?
  9. If you move, can you be sure your next place will allow pets?
  10. Can you make the commitment to care for this animal for his or her lifetime?
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