Questions You Should Ask Before Getting a New Dog

Bringing a dog into a loving home is a big commitment. You must be ready for your four-legged friend, whether a puppy or an adult dog.

Before getting a new dog, carefully consider your current and future lifestyle, the time you can devote, allergies to dogs, community restrictions or rules on dog ownership, safe and secure pet environment, and the ability to meet their upkeep (dog food, supplements, medical, and emergency vet care).

Before bringing one into your home, being honest with yourself about your readiness and ability to provide a suitable environment for a new dog is essential.

To help you on your buying a dog journey, here are some key questions to help you make up your mind. 

Questions You Should Ask Before Getting a New Dog

Did you know 65.1 million U.S. households own dogs, indicating the country's popularity and prevalence of dog ownership? 

Around 500 million stray dogs, or 70% of all canines worldwide, are homeless.

Various factors contribute to many stray dogs, including a lack of proper pet management, economic challenges, and inadequate animal welfare infrastructure in some regions. 

Dogs are cherished companions for many families, bringing joy, love, and companionship into their lives.

Getting a dog means opening up your home to a very special housemate and one who is going to be with you for many years to come. 

So, before bringing a new dog into your life, it is essential to ask yourself several important questions. 

  • Consider Your Present and Future Lives 

If you can provide the necessary care, attention, and resources for a dog and have the time and energy to devote to their well-being, then now can be a perfect time to bring a dog on board. 

With career changes, weddings, house moves, the arrival of kids, and all the rest of it, circumstances can shift quickly, and with a puppy at home, their welfare needs to be accounted for.

Consider if your lifestyle can accommodate these needs, including your activity level, work schedule, and family commitments.

It is not unusual for dogs to live 15 years or more.

Although you never quite know what is around the corner, it is always worth thinking about your dog and including how things might look in the future.

Remember to continue assessing your readiness, plan for their long-term needs, and provide your new furry friend with a loving and nurturing home.  

  • Time You Can Devote  

If you are getting a dog, you or another family member must put the time in for socialization and habituation, especially during the first few months.

A dog left to its own devices for too long can get restless and up to mischief, sometimes resulting in anti-social behavior.

  • On average, your dog should be provided at least 30 minutes to 2 hours of being active daily, depending on their age, breed, and energy level. 
  • Feeding your dog, including meal preparation and clean-up, as well as regular grooming tasks such as brushing, bathing, and trimming, also require dedicated time.
  • They require training to learn basic commands, manners, and appropriate behavior. 
  • Socialization is also crucial for their well-being and to adjust to various environments.
  • They require quality time with their owners for bonding, affection, and mental stimulation. Assess your ability to provide regular companionship and attention to your dog.

Ensure you can dedicate the necessary time and effort to meet these needs.

Dogs live for many years. Consider the long-term commitment to providing dog care, love, and attention throughout their lifespan.

  • Allergies or Sensitivities to Dogs 

Dog allergies affect 10% to 29% of the world’s population and is a significant public health problem as these rate increase.

While dogs are often beloved companions, some may have allergies or sensitivities to dog dander, saliva, or urine.

These allergies can cause symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itching, watery eyes, or even more severe reactions. 

Therefore, it is essential to consider any allergies or sensitivities you or your family members may have before bringing a new dog into your home.

  • Determine if you or anyone in your household has allergies or sensitivities to dogs. Spend time with different breeds or visit friends with dogs to see if allergic reactions occur.
  • Involve all family members in decision-making and discuss known allergies or sensitivities. 
  • If anyone in the household has allergies, consulting with a medical professional or allergist may be beneficial to determine if owning a dog is feasible or if certain breeds or hypoallergenic dogs would be better suited.
  • If there are no known allergies or sensitivities, it is still crucial to spend time with different dog breeds or individual dogs to assess if anyone in the family develops reactions. 
  • Some breeds or individual dogs may produce fewer allergens or be more suitable for individuals with allergies.

Considering allergies or sensitivities beforehand will help ensure everyone in the household can coexist comfortably with the new dog and avoid any potential health issues or discomfort. 

  • Restriction on Dog Ownership  

Different cities, neighborhoods, or housing communities may have specific rules or regulations regarding dog ownership, such as breed restrictions, size limitations, or the number of dogs allowed per household.

Researching and understanding the local laws, regulations, and any restrictions imposed by your homeowner's association, rental agreement, or local government is essential. 

Some areas may require specific licenses or permits for owning certain breeds of dogs or have restrictions on where dogs are allowed, such as parks or public spaces.

Understanding the regulations beforehand will ensure that you comply with the rules of your living area and avoid any potential conflicts or issues with neighbors, landlords, or local authorities.

It is crucial to be a responsible dog owner and abide by the rules set forth to ensure the safety and well-being of both your dog and the community.

  • Safe and Secure Environment for a Dog  

According to the American Humane Association, approximately 10 million pets are lost or stolen in the United States each year.

Ensuring that your dog is securely and safely contained, whether through an adequately fenced yard or using leashes and harnesses during walks, can help prevent them from getting lost or running into unsafe situations.

Besides, the amount of space a dog needs can vary depending on several factors, including the breed, size, energy level, and individual needs. 

Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the safety and security of your environment for a dog.

  • Consider factors such as the size of your home or apartment, a fenced yard, or outdoor space. 
  • Create a safe space where your dog can play, exercise, and relax without risks to their well-being.
  • Assess your living space for hazards that threaten a dog's safety. 
  • If you have a yard or outdoor space, check for any potential escape routes or areas where a dog could dig under or jump over fences. 
  • Ensure the yard is secured correctly and free from dangerous plants, chemicals, or other hazards.
  • Consider if there are busy streets or high-traffic areas nearby. 
  • Are there dog-friendly parks or walking trails available? These factors can help determine if your environment is conducive to regular exercise and outings with your dog.
  • Research and ensure that reputable veterinary clinics or hospitals in your area can adequately care for your dog's health needs. 

Remember, creating a safe and secure environment for a dog is essential for their well-being and your peace of mind. 

Evaluating these factors before getting a new dog can help ensure a harmonious and happy life together. 

  • Can You Afford a Dog? 

Dog owners should expect to spend about $1,500 to $ 2,000 on a dog during the first year of ownership.

Owning a dog comes with financial responsibilities, including food, veterinary care, grooming, supplies, training, and potential unforeseen expenses. 

Here are some financial considerations to keep in mind.

  • Adopting a dog from a standard shelter costs $100 to $700, and buying directly from a breeder can cost up to $500 to $3000
  • Dogs often require an initial investment even after bringing it into your home, including vaccinations, spaying or neutering, microchipping, and basic supplies like a collar, leash, bed, and food bowls.
  • Understand the potential health issues associated with the breed you are getting and be prepared for regular veterinary check-ups and possible medical expenses.
  • Dogs require regular expenses such as high-quality dog food, treats, toys, and grooming supplies
  • Depending on your dog's needs, consider enrolling them in obedience classes or hiring a professional trainer. 
  • Consider having pet insurance to cover unexpected health issues or accidents that require immediate veterinary attention. 
  • If you plan to travel or have commitments that prevent you from being with your dog, you may need to budget for dog boarding or hiring a pet sitter.

Assessing your financial situation and ensuring that you can comfortably afford all aspects of dog ownership is crucial.

Taking the time to budget and plan for the financial responsibilities of owning a dog will help ensure you can provide the best care for your new furry companion.


By asking these questions and considering your answers, you can make a more informed decision about getting a new dog and ensure that you are prepared for the responsibilities and commitment that come with dog ownership.

If you think you are ready for a new furry friend, head over to dog search or get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, a certified veterinarian in Urbandale.

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