It doesn’t matter how much he costs or how waggly his tail, not every dog is the right dog for you. But how do you know? In most cases, you can’t take them for a “test drive” like you can a used car. Because of the uncertainties, it’s a smart idea to think about your lifestyle and how a pet will fit into it before scouting out your furry soon-to-be family member.


Not All Breeds Are Alike

There are more than 350 officially recognized dog breeds across the globe. The AKC currently includes 190. Although these canines are almost genetically identical, the small differences in their DNA are a big deal when it comes to choosing a pet for your family.

Dog breeds are classified into seven categories. These are toy, non-sporting, working, terrier, herding, sporting, and hound. Each classification has specific traits, and knowing them is a good starting point for research. For example, working dogs, like the Siberian husky and rottweiler, are known for their intelligence and devotion to their families. Terriers typically don’t get along with other dogs. Toy breeds are gentle and cuddly, but they tend to bark at the wind.

Age is also a factor, and some older dogs may not tolerate rambunctious children like a puppy, which will require a lot more hands-on care.


Is Your Home Dog-Ready?

Something else to consider is your home. Large dogs, such as a great dane or mastiff, will need a bigger space than a chihuahua or pomeranian. All dogs need a home that has been thoughtfully configured with their needs in mind.

One of the most important areas to evaluate is your yard. If it is not already fenced, you will need to budget between $1,421 and $2,898 for a wooden fence, according to pricing pulled from HomeAdvisor from contractors in the San Diego area. A fence or dog run is not optional for dogs that need lots of exercise and will come in handy for any other breed, especially if you have children that want to play with the family pet.

On the inside, you must be willing to store detergents, bleach, and other poisons in a closet or high shelf where they can’t be reached. The Bark further suggests that you learn how to pay close attention to small items, such as coins and rubber bands, before bringing a new pet home. Your kitchen poses one of the biggest hazards to your dog, and you will need to store things like grapes, popcorn, almonds, tomatoes, and chocolate out of reach. However, it’s okay to let your dog snack on human foods occasionally, but limit this to carrots, blueberries, bananas, cheese, and other food your veterinarian recommends.


Other Things to Think About

You also want to make sure that you have time to devote to your dog and how he may interact with other pets in your household. Look at your work situation. How long will your dog be left alone every day? Pawshake notes that some may be okay for up to five hours, but others will start chewing your shoes after five minutes.

If you are planning to adopt a pet from an animal shelter, you should not leave them alone for the first few months. They will need time to acclimate and adapt to their surroundings and new family. Sadly, many shelter dogs transitioned from an abusive or neglectful situation, and that can leave them feeling anxious as they move into your home.

You will also want to test that no one in your family is allergic. While most of the time dog dander allergies are not a big deal, some people can be severely allergic to saliva. In this case, you may be on the hook for expensive allergy medicine — which ranges from $19 to $43 at Walgreens — or may have to rehome your new dog unexpectedly.

Adding a dog to your home is a lifelong commitment. Because of this, you are responsible for making sure that you can commit the next 10 to 14 years or more to loving and protecting your new furry friend. Prepare, plan, and ensure your new friend has a happy life!

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