Should I Get a Dog? Here's What to Consider

November 29, 2021 8 min read

happy woman hugging dog

Should I Get a Dog? Here's What to Consider

Approximately two million dogs are adopted every single year. Will you be one of the two million this year? 

If you’re thinking, “Should I get a dog?” you’re on the track towards a happy life. However, it’s not a decision that should be made all of a sudden. Instead, it’s a decision you need to seriously consider. 

Adopting a dog is no small task, especially if you’ll be adopting the dog by yourself. It’s a commitment akin to having a child. Your life routine has to change; you have to set aside more money for their food, toys, and health care; you can’t travel as freely as you once did; and you have to remain aware of their personality quirks and work to keep them comfortable. 

Here’s the big question: Besides asking yourself, “Should I get a dog?” you should ask yourself, “Am I ready to get a dog?” So, are you? 

From looking at your finances to evaluating your daily routine to budgeting for kibble, dog chews, and more, here’s everything you need to consider. 

cute dog smiling lying on floor

Are You Personally Ready for a Dog? 

The biggest part of getting a dog is knowing whether or not you’re personally ready for them to be a part of your life. Or, better put, whether you’re ready to be a part of their life. Before you adopt a dog, you should consider asking yourself the following questions, as they’ll help you determine whether you’re actually ready or not. 

  • Can I have a dog where I currently reside?
  • Does my landlord or HOA have restrictions on dogs, specifically size and breeds? 
  • Are my family or housemates fine with having a dog in the home? 
  • Do I have allergies to specific types of dogs? 
  • Is there someone else in my home who could help raise the dog? Or will I be raising the dog on my own? 
  • Is there someone else I could use, as a caretaker, if I need to go out for the day? Is there anyone who could help take care of the dog when I’m in a pinch? 
  • Is there a dog daycare nearby that I could rely on? Are there any I would feel safe with having a dog at? 
  • Could I reliably use a dog walker to exercise my dog, especially if I’m out of the house or too busy at work? 
  • Is my home safe enough for a dog? 
  • Is my life too tense for a dog? Dogs pick up on people’s emotions. Does my home feel mentally safe enough for a dog?
  • Are there other pets in my home? Are these pets dog friendly? Is the dog I’m thinking of adopting friendly with other cats or dogs?
  • Are their children in the home? Is the dog I’m looking at okay with kids? Are they safe to be around children?
  • Am I an active enough person for a dog? Can I handle the lifestyle of an active dog or should I consider a calmer, lazier dog? Do I have the capacity to provide a dog with a happy, active life? 
  • Do I have the schedule for a dog? Is my commute a serious problem? Do I work too much? Would that be a problem for a dog? 
  • Am I financially ready for a dog? Could I possibly afford the things my dog would need, such as pet insurance, veterinary visits, kibble, bedding, toys, leashes, collars, treats like bully sticks, sleeping aids, medications, and more? 
  • Do I have the time to train a dog? Could I set aside time, throughout the day, to properly train a dog – whether for tricks or to train out potentially improper behaviors? 
  • Do you already have a vet? If not, do you have a vet within driving distance that you could rely on? Have you reached out to them yet to see whether they’re accepting patients at this time? 

Now, this sounds like a lot of questions to ask yourself, from the very jump. We understand that, and we don’t mean to overwhelm you. But you need to consider the severity of how much of a life change adopting a dog is. It’s not as simple as picking them up, taking them home, and everything suddenly being fine. Rather, it’s a major commitment that should require a great deal of self-reflection. 

You need to ask yourself whether you’re ready to raise and care for a dog. If it’s something you’ve thought about doing your entire life, it’s likely that you’re 100 percent certain that you’re ready to adopt. But for anyone else, you need to seriously sit down and consider whether it’s the right move – particularly at this point in your life. 

Give Your Dog Bully Sticks

What Can You Handle? 

Moreover, what can you handle when it comes to a dog? Dogs are energetic, strong animals. They’re smart and they can even be troublemakers, testing the boundaries and knowing the right way to upset you. 

guilty dog destroyed pillow

They’re just like us in that way. They are stubborn, can be temperamental, and they have personalities of their own. They’re also tough creatures that love to explore and will sniff out whatever catches their attention, no matter how hard you tug on their leash. So ask yourself, what can you handle when it comes to a dog? 

  • How large of a dog can you physically handle? 
  • Does where you live have a size limit for dogs? 
  • If you can handle a puppy, can you handle that breed when they grow into an adult? Puppy German Shepherds are adorable, but they can get large as adults. Are you ready for that increase in size? 
  • Do your family or housemates have a size limit they’re comfortable with? 
  • Can you handle a dog that is incredibly active and smart? A herding dog that needs exercise every day? Or a hunting dog that loves to explore and sniff out their surroundings? 
  • Do you already have a dog? If so, will they work better with a larger or smaller dog? 

Understanding the Changes to Come 

Are you a patient person? Are you someone who is willing to take time to deal with an unruly dog or a pet that is anxious and uncertain of your presence? 

 the 3-3-3 rule

There’s a rule when it comes to adopting a dog, the 3-3-3 rule. It breaks down as three days, three weeks, and three months. This is the time it takes for your dog to truly feel comfortable with you, to know that they have made it into their forever home. 

In the first three days, your dog will potentially be: 

  • Testing boundaries
  • Not eating or drinking
  • Not using the bathroom in front of you
  • Overwhelmed
  • Scared
  • Uncomfortable

In the first three weeks, they’ll then be: 

  • Showing signs of establishing their routine
  • Getting used to their environment
  • Showing signs of comfort
  • Letting their guard down
  • Showing more of their personality 
  • Beginning to settle in
  • Showing signs of behavioral issues

After three months, you’ll then see them:

  • Gaining trust in you
  • Realizing they’re in their forever home
  • Showing their full personality 
  • Finding comfort in their routine

man embracing dog

This means that caring for a dog is not something that just happens. Rather, it takes serious time. Consider yourself as your dog: how would you feel if you were randomly plucked out of your home, transported around, and then ended up in a new person’s home? You’d feel nervous, scared, irritable, and upset. You’d be worried about your surroundings, and you’d be skeptical of the new people in your life. 

It’s not a personal thing. Rather, it’s a safety mechanism. You’d want to protect yourself. And your dog would be doing the same for the first few weeks and months. 

While you could provide them more comfort by showing them affection and giving them treats like dog bones, you need to remain patient, understanding that their personality will come out with time. 

The Benefits to Getting a Dog

Now, that’s enough of questioning yourself. Instead, you should consider the benefits of having a dog in your life. While it can be stressful to bring a dog into your life, they also provide many benefits, both physical and mental. 

The Benefits to Getting a Dog

Making new friends

If you’re not much of a social person, a dog can help you come out of your shell. Suddenly, you’ll be at your local dog park, interacting with people at the vet, dropping them off at doggy daycare, and more, meeting new dog owners all along the way. You may even get to know the people in your neighborhood as you regularly pass by on your morning and evening walks. 

Staying in shape

Wondering if you should get a dog? If you’ve been looking to get into shape, they can truly help out. Depending on how active your dog is, you could be walking a few miles a day to hiking eight miles every day to running five miles every morning and walking throughout the rest of the day. Suddenly, you’ll see yourself shedding some weight while watching your body tone up. And you can reward your dog, as a way of saying thanks, by giving them pig ears for dogs after every long run you complete together. 

Reduce your health risks

As well as helping you get in shape, a dog can help improve your overall physical health. Studies have shown that pet owners show lower risks of cardiovascular disease, as regular exercise is good for the heart and lungs. It can also help reduce other common physical stressors, such as lowering a person’s blood pressure. 

Enjoy the mental stimulation

If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, a dog could be useful medication. While they shouldn’t be treated as a substitute for therapy and actual medication, dogs have been shown to reduce the effects of anxiety and depression in pet owners. At a minimum, their simple lives help us to disassociate from the circular thinking often common with anxiety and depression, getting pet owners out of the rut of negative thinking so they might simply look at the joys of life. 

Have a purpose

If you’re someone whose life is swallowed by work, life can begin to feel dull. But that’s not the case once you introduce a dog into your life. Dogs give us a sense of purpose, a reason to get up and get moving early in the morning. Walks, treats, pets, and more: your dog is always there, ready to love everything you do, giving you all they can to simply bring a smile to your face. 

And you know what? You want to do the same in return. You want nothing more than to make them happy, all because of how happy they make you. 

prepare for your pup

Moving Forward with Adoption 

If you think you’re ready to adopt a dog, there’s no time like now. If you’re worried about the financial aspect of it, you should wait until you feel comfortable enough to do so. Otherwise, you should look into adopting a rescue dog to give them the home they sincerely deserve. 

Prior to picking them up, your move is to begin preparing your home for their arrival. Get them a dog bed, a proper collar and leash, food, a brush, and toys, and many, many treats. 

Unsure what your dog will most love to chew on? Complete our Choose Your Chew quiz to find the perfect chew for your dog. With the holidays just around the corner, you can also check out our Holiday Gift Shop to find the perfect gift for your new dog.

Take Our Choose Your Chew Quiz

Whatever you do, though, it will be enough for your dog. When done with love, you’re being a good pawrent. And that’s the best thing you can be for your dog. 


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