Becoming A Dog Mom or Dog Dad

Imagine this: you’re out in the park and see puppies one day and think they are adorable.  Or your kids are asking for a dog tirelessly.  Before you take the plunge, it’s important to think things through some.  There are many considerations when getting any pet, but these issues are especially important ones when it comes to dogs. Dogs are fantastic pets and companions, bringing you and your family much joy. However, before selecting your dog for life, consider these seven questions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable transition to dog parenthood.

First and foremost, will you have enough time for the dog? 

A dog is a huge responsibility and you will need to either make sure you can take care of their needs on a daily basis or have a plan to bring someone in to help you.  Dogs must be fed every day, sometimes more than once, preferably at the same time. They love attention!  You will spend your free time playing, petting, and walking them. And most importantly, you should expect to invest a good deal of time (and potentially money) house training your new pet. It’s like having a toddler that can’t speak to you in English.  Instead, they communicate through actions, looks, licks (or kisses), and so much more.  But, have no fear, there are fantastic resources to help you.  You can learn everything you need to know about what do to with your dog and how time-consuming it will be on the MrOwl  community in our branches, which have been curated by real users just like you.

Will you have enough room for the dog? 

Dogs come in all sizes, weights, and breeds.  Different breeds require different care. The type of dog you adopt will determine the exact amount of space you will need, but dogs almost always need more room than most other household pets. Hint: they are family animals who love attention and hate being alone.  So, prepare yourself, your dog will want to be with you morning, noon, and night.  And, well-adjusted, happy dogs have a lot of stuff – just like babies and children.  They’re really just four-legged kids. Large dogs will need more room than smaller ones. Some may even require a fenced yard to play and exercise in. Smaller dogs will still need a significant amount of space inside in order to run and play. Pick a dog that fits comfortably within the square footage you have available.  If you’re wondering what the best dog toys on the market are – including the safest, click here for some insightful and creative ideas on everything from self-loading dog kennels to top Kong brand toys.

Can you afford a dog?

Dogs can get expensive. Dog food, toys, and veterinarian costs can add up quickly. However, there are tricks, including pet insurance, which will save you money in the long run.  By budgeting carefully and following some tips, you can make having your dream pet work – even if you are on a beer budget.  With my dogs, I check their titers for certain diseases instead of giving them the full vaccines each year. While the cost may be comparable with pet insurance, I learned from that the impact to the body and the potential to avoid future diseases is definitely worth it.  And remember, dogs are like humans.  Even healthy dogs get annual check-ups and vaccinations.  I keep all of their health records on a private collaborative branch with my family, so that everyone has access to their records anytime that they need them.

Training can become another budgetary consideration when you don’t feel capable of training the dog yourself.  There are groups, individual training programs, ones where you send your dog to become trained, and even private trainers that train your dog for you in your house.  The community on MrOwl has a lot of opinions, as well as recommendations about how you can best handle the challenges associated with training.  When you discover something that you like, grab it to save it for later.

Once you cross that hurdle, plan for the future.  As hard as it is to think about this, as your dog ages, your number of vet visits is likely to increase as their health declines. However, this is yet another reason to purchase pet insurance early on.  It is the cheapest when the dog is a puppy and you can sign up for significant protection and savings for the future.  And as you learn more, please create your own branches on our platform and share what you’ve learned.  It helps everyone and keeps our community both strong and informed.

And as you save money on vet visits with proper insurance, another way to give to your dog is to make your own treats.  While the vast majority of our community don’t believe in table feeding, one thing is certain: they do believe in making their own dog treats. This DIY Dog Food and Treats branch provides extensive information on doing just that – from healthy pumpkin, grain-free ones to fruity banana ice cream that’s specifically pet-friendly.  One note though: before you make treats or food for your pet, make sure the ingredients in what you’re making are ok for your breed of dog.  If you aren’t sure, ask your vet.

Do you want to buy or adopt?

Both options come with pros and cons. The pros of buying are that you can be fairly confident the dog is healthy and socialized with humans. You can get it from a licensed breeder, with a guarantee, and insight into the dog’s bloodlines.  In other words, you can see what the dog may or may not be at risk for in the future.  Buying your dog from a breeder also gives you the ability to pick the exact breed you want. However, purchasing your dog from a breeder could mean contributing to dog overpopulation in shelters. Unfortunately, this is a very real issue our community is highly-versed in.  In fact, they can also recommend breeders, by breed, that are qualified, high-end, and don’t contribute to over-crowding.

Adoption is a lower-cost alternative, helping get dogs off the streets, and avoids euthanasia at shelters. With adoption, you don’t necessarily know the history of the dog or its bloodlines, nor do you know if it has been properly trained or socialized.  You are saving an animal and most adoptions are wonderful, but in many instances, your selection is smaller, and your up-front time may be greater.

Do you have children? 

Be aware that not all breeds are child-friendly.  While the dog isn’t a puppy forever, (it goes way faster than you would expect), it’s a time of adjustment, high growth, and extra energy that has to fit your family and your expectations.  If you have children, regardless of their age(s), you want a more docile pet, especially when the dog is playing. Look for a dog (or a breed) that is already used to children or for a calm puppy. Such a puppy can be raised alongside the child and become use to being careful with them from the beginning. Many dogs do wonderfully with children, you just have to pick the right one. will teach you about most dog breeds, what they like and dislike, and how they are with children.  Remember, your dog is really an additional child in your family, according to many members of our MrOwl community that collaborate with each other.  If you approach it from that perspective, your decision will last a lifetime.

Do you want a puppy or adult dog?

Puppies require more time and effort than adult dogs. Along with all the regular things you must do for an adult, you must also train and socialize a puppy. That can be harder than it sounds. Of course, if you don’t feel up to the task, there are dog trainers available. Check at pet stores, shelters, and our collaborative community to find one. Getting an adult dog means minimal socializing or training should be needed. However, adult dogs can be set in their ways so, instead of a puppy adapting to you, more likely you will have to adapt to the dog. If you do decide on getting a puppy this is a helpful First Puppy Guide.  If you decide to get an adult dog, talk with our members and create branches to share to create a mentoring guide to help you with your new pet.  In the end, you’ll be helping a lot more than a dog, you’ll be helping an entire community of dog lovers.  Armed with our platform, there’s nothing you can’t find about dogs; this information will take the bite out of the proverbial bark.