Do This Before You Bring A New Puppy Home

by Kristie

Adopting/Rescuing A Dog, Breeders Of Dogs, Costs & Expenses For Dog Owners, Dog Breeds

Is there anything more wonderful than a puppy?  Playful, cuddly, funny, and oh that puppy breath. Call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first), but if somebody could figure out how to bottle that stuff I’d keep ‘em in business.

I can’t imagine my life without a dog or 2 or 3 in it.  If you’ve never owned a dog, or haven’t done so in a long while, and are considering adopting a furry friend, congratulations!

But (yeah, you knew there had to be a “but”) before you give in to those sweet big brown eyes and puppy licks, remember there’s more to being a responsible dog owner than might be immediately obvious.

Did you know that a significant percentage of dogs found in shelters were put up for adoption by owners who chose the wrong dog for their lifestyle?  So there are a few things to consider.

Want to see exactly what it’s like to help a puppy through its first year of life? Check out this week-by-week photo diary of a Boxer — from 7 weeks to 1 year.

Do you live in a house with a yard, or do you live in an apartment? 

Depending on your space, consider the adult size of the dog breeds you’re interested in.  For example, you might not want to bring a Great Pyrenees into a small apartment, especially if you’ll be unable to take him for daily (and I do mean daily) walks or to a nearby dog park where he can get the kind of exercise he needs.

Check out these dogs that tend to be good for apartment life.

What about the neighbors? 

I never met a dog that didn’t bark once in awhile, at the very least. Beagles, for example, are notoriously very vocal and might not be the best choice in an apartment or close neighborhood.   Our dogs are only half Beagle, and while they couldn’t be more lovable, it’s amazing how big a racket those little gals can make!

Here are the worst breeds for excessive barking.

Do you have small children, or other pets?

Make sure the kind of dog you choose is predisposed to get along well with your kids or your cat (and follow through with proper training).

Here are some dog breeds and their likelihood of being good with children.

Which dog breed is best?

There are so many types of dog breeds to choose from.  Check out  the following sites for help selecting the breed of dog that’s best for you and your current situation. Some include select-a-breed quizzes to help you find the right dog:

There’s plenty of breed information out there, so there’s no excuse not to do your homework. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.  Besides, it’s fun!


What about the expense?

With proper care and good health, most dogs are capable of living well into their teens.  (Not long enough for me!)  This is a lifelong commitment to your furry friend that takes time, patience — and yes, money.  The rewards are worth every bit of it times 10, but it’s important to be realistic about what you can offer.

According to CNBC – Make It, the cost to own a dog over its lifetime is anywhere from $27,074 to $42,545, depending on the breed and lifetime expectancy, and where you live.   Food, vaccinations, medications, shampoos, bedding, collars, leashes — it all adds up.  But if you shop wisely and take advantage of low-cost local vaccination and spay/neuter clinics, you can keep these costs far lower.

My (semi-small town) vet charges $90 for the annual round of dog vaccinations, which includes a nose-to-tail checkup, blood test for heartworm, and a fecal exam (to check for worms).  That’s not bad!

You can compare the cost of dog vaccinations here.

For a 25-50lb dog, monthly Heartgard heartworm preventive will cost you +/-$70 for a year’s supply (You can find generic brands online for about half that price. One place to check is Total Pet Supply.)

Monthly flea, tick, and mosquito preventive such as K9 Advantix Plus runs in the neighborhood of $156 to $220 for a year’s supply, depending on sales and where you purchase.  Food and treats can vary wildly depending on brands and quality. Next time you’re at the market, check the prices and feeding recommendations to get an idea of how much you will need to budget for.

Where will you get your new dog from?

Last but not least, choose your breeder carefully. The Humane Society offers lots of information on how to choose a dog breeder.

And don’t forget to consider a “rescue” dog!  There are many, many wonderful, loving pets out that need a caring home like yours!

Before you bring home a new puppy, consider these dog adoption ABCs.