It’s no secret that I love puppies. When I didn’t have my own, I’d spam you all with stories of my parent’s golden retriever (or honestly any other cute dog I came across 😂). And now that we have Luna… well, you know how obsessed I am with that little stinker.
But growing up with labs, I was very aware of how much work goes into getting a puppy. People would ask me when I’m getting my own all the time, and even though I was very tempted (almost took this one home in 2017!), I knew how much work goes into getting a puppy and I wanted to wait until I was more financially stable – and I lived with a partner so they could help me!
Now if you already have a puppy, this post with advice for new dog owners will be more helpful. But if you’re still considering whether you should get one or not – here are questions to ask yourself BEFORE you bring home a pup!
What To Consider Before Getting A Puppy
Are you prepared for an adjustment period? Can your routine be disrupted for a little bit?
This is the first thing I always ask when talking to friends about getting a puppy. Sure, there’s a chance you’ll get an angel dog that’s super easy – but most likely there will be an adjustment period. We were lucky since Luna slept in her crate right off the bat, she’d wake up to pee before the sun came up, and then want to play instead of go back to sleep! (4:30/5am wake up calls are HARD if you’re not used to them.) She also had some digestive issues that woke her up every few hours… getting a solid night of sleep is just a little harder those first few weeks 😂
I don’t say this to scare you at all – in the grand scheme of things, it’s a very short amount of time. But if you have a very stressful and demanding job, getting a puppy might not be the smartest thing for you. You need to be okay with a few weeks with a lot of energy going to this little animal. They require a lot of attention at first! But puppies grow and learn fast – it’s only temporary!
*Pro Tip: My friend told me to cover her crate so she has less distractions if she wakes up before you and that helped a TON. You can get a crate cover on Amazon/at pet stores, but we just use towels!
What kind of puppy is right for you?
This is an especially important question to ask yourself if you live in the city. How much space do you have? If you have an enclosed backyard, a large energetic dog might not be an issue for you! But if you know you’ll need to walk/run them multiple times a day to get their energy out, you might want to look into getting a small dog or a breed with a lower energy level.
While Luna has a TON of puppy energy that requires multiple walks a day, it’s helpful that she’s small enough to play with inside our apartment, too. If the weather is bad, we can throw toys down the hall for a while to tucker her out.
In addition to getting a smaller breed that doesn’t require a ton of exercise, you could also adopt an older dog that has mellowed out. I have some friends who have done that and it’s much more manageable for them. And adult dogs need homes, too!
Does the time commitment fit into your lifestyle?
No matter what kind of dog you get, you need to consider if your lifestyle makes sense with a dog. If you have a really demanding job and are at the office from 7am to 7pm, and then you like to go out for dinner before heading home… umm… don’t get one!
Or if you travel for work (or play, honestly) a lot, boarding your dog all the time will get expensive pretty quickly. And lastly, are you okay with leaving your friends to feed/walk your pup while they’re all hanging out? We’re at a point in our lives where that’s not a big deal, but if you really love your social freedom on the weekends, it’s something to consider.
Are you ready for the expected and unexpected expenses?
If you’re planning to adopt a dog from an animal shelter, it’s far less expensive than going to a breeder, but there’s usually still an adoption fee. Puppies also need to see the vet multiple times those first few months (there’s a decent amount of shots). Plus you’ll need to get dog food, toys, a crate, etc. We’ve become big fans of Chewy for Luna essentials – it’s usually less expensive than the items in pet stores, too!
On top of that, there are sure to be unexpected expenses. Luna had some stomach issues that required vet visits, special food, and a medication. And even though our rescue organization covered the cost of Luna’s spay (make sure you ask if they spay or neuter before adoption or not!), she has had a bunch of complications which has required more vet visits and antibiotics. Things will come up, so you just have to be prepared for that! (This is a huge reason why I didn’t get a dog on my own when I was single/less financially stable!)
Is there a day care, boarding facility, or good dog walker/dog sitter nearby?
This was less of a factor for us because I work from home. But just because you work a desk job doesn’t mean you can’t get a puppy. It’s just important that you find a day care or dog walker you like if you spend a lot of time away from your home. Same with travel – do you have a family member or good friend who will dog sit while you’re away? If not, ask other dog owners where they send their dogs when they’re out of town. It will be helpful to get a feel for those options/price ranges so you’re not surprised later.
Do you have time to train your puppy?
If you’re getting a puppy, the training battle is real. House training requires taking them out a LOT so they get used to going on grass instead of inside your home! The more attentive you are about it from the start, the easier it will be. Dogs love and respond to routine. That’s the key to potty training quickly!
In addition to that, unless you have an angel pup, or an older dog that has already had some training, you’ll need to also spend some time training them to sit, stay, walk on a leash, etc. Since work was really busy for both of us when we got Luna, we invested in a few private training sessions. They really helped us train her more intentionally instead of just hoping for the best. If you’re in Chicago, we highly recommend Anything is Pawzible!
Can you make your home dog friendly?
In other words, can you puppy proof your home? We quickly realized that the best way to avoid a puppy destroying things, is to take away the temptation! We kept our bedroom and bathroom doors shut, rolled up our rugs, and kept shoes out of reach. I read a lot about how if puppies can’t practice bad habits, they’re less likely to form them. So, since she never had the opportunity to chew our shoes those first few months, she now has zero interest in chewing them. Same with toilet paper, electric cords, etc.
Are you in this for the long haul?
Getting a puppy is entering into a long term relationship. There’s no backing out! It’s important to remember that by bringing a dog into your home, you’re committing to taking care of them for the rest of their life. It’s a big decision! But so worth it ❤️
Dog parents, do you have anything else you would add to this?!
I’d love to hear in the comments!