A dog isn’t just for Christmas. Everybody’s heard that saying. But not every dog owner takes that saying seriously, evidently, because plenty of dogs end up being rescued on a yearly basis. It’s so important to ensure that you’re fully prepared for such a commitment before adopting or rescuing a dog. You need to be able to provide a lovely home for this animal, and you need to be able to invite them into your family. A pet is not a novelty, despite many people acting otherwise. Being adequately prepared for such a big life change requires an extensive amount of research and planning. Is it right for you? Take the following pieces of advice on board. If you could achieve these things, then you’d be able to look after a dog well.

Check that everybody’s onboard.

This is such an important starting point. Before you rush into the decision to adopt a dog, you need to make sure that every member of your family actually wants a dog, as has been mentioned on this site in the past. Checking that everybody’s onboard is important because you’ll need to work together to look after your new pet. If one family member is scared of dogs and they’re left alone with your new pet, then they might be too frightened to feed the dog and pay it attention. So, don’t underestimate the value of sitting down with your family and having a talk, before you make any other plans.

You should use your family meeting as an opportunity to get other things straight, too. Everyone in your family might love dogs, and they might be very excited about owning one. However, they need to appreciate that it would be a joint responsibility, as well. They need to accept that a dog will require great care and attention. They’d be more than a fluffy creature to pick up for cuddles. When you’ve read this article, show it to your partner and your kids. Make sure they know what would be required of them if you were to get a dog for your family.

Learn about different breeds.

The next step is to learn about different breeds. There are many different types of dogs, and they have many different requirements. If you want to be prepared, then make sure that you research a particular breed of dog before adopting or rescuing one. Learn about the requirements they’d have in terms of both their diet and their exercise routine. Both of those things will be discussed in a more general sense later in this article, but there will be specific divergences in the recommended routine for different breeds of dog. Don’t expect there to be a one-size-fits-all solution, even if general rules apply to all breeds of dog.

So, make sure you do your research. Ask a vet or the rescue home of the dog for information about the particular breed. You need to gauge how much walking they’d need on a daily basis. You’d also need to be aware of any specific dietary needs that they might have, as well as the quantity of food they should be eating, based on their size. You should also be aware of a dog’s pre-existing health conditions, whether those conditions are based on its breed or its individual situation. Dogs such as pugs, for example, can struggle to breathe properly through their noses, so that is something to consider. Larger dogs require more food and longer walks than smaller dogs, too. These are the things to bear in mind before committing to a certain breed. You need to think about your lifestyle and the amount of time you have available. You have to think about the amount of space you have available in your household, as well. If you want to be happy, and if you want your dog to be happy, then choose the right breed. Maybe you wouldn’t be able to provide the necessary living environment or lifestyle for a large dog, but you might be able to look after a small dog. You should make your decision based on your particular living situation but also the kind of routine you want to adopt to cater to the needs of your new family member.

Get their diet right.

Getting their diet right is important, too. If you want your dog to be happy, then you need to make sure that they eat the right kind of food. That’s why you need to take the advice from the previous point seriously. You need to make sure you keep your dog healthy, both physically and mentally. Like people, dogs have very specific dietary needs. They can’t just eat anything. And you certainly shouldn’t just feed them food that you’d eat unless you’ve checked that it’d be suitable for them. Foods such as chocolate, dried fruit, and onions aren’t good for dogs. If they were ever to eat such foods accidentally, then you’d need to take them to a vet.

Additionally, it’s worth figuring out whether your particular dog has any conditions that affect its dietary needs. As mentioned in the previous point, a dog’s breed can affect its lifestyle requirements, so you might have to take that into account, too. As with humans, of course, individual dogs might have specific health conditions, as well. If you were to get a diabetic dog, then you could check out diabeticdogfood.org. Diabetes and other health conditions don’t have to be a huge hindrance. As with people who have health conditions, you just have to plan out the right kind of routine for such a dog.

Beagle going for a  walk

Take them on regular walks.

If you want to figure out whether owning a dog would be right for you, then figure out whether you’d be able to take them on regular walks. That’s crucial to looking after a canine. Regular exercise is as important for dogs as it is for humans. The difference is that dogs actually want to exercise. If you keep them cooped up indoors, then you won’t just affect their physical health in a negative way; you’ll affect their mental health in a negative way, too. As explained at animalfoundation.com, you need to take your dog on regular walks to protect their wellbeing. This is good for the wellbeing of the owner, too, of course. But you need to ascertain whether that would be manageable for you and your family.

Make sure your house is well-suited to a dog.

Making sure your house is well-suited to a dog should be a key step in your planning process. Any home can be transformed into a suitable living environment for a dog, but you shouldn’t assume that to already be the case. You need a durable living space, firstly. As suggested at idealhome.co.uk, hard flooring is the best for households with dogs because they’ll be running all over the place. Try to avoid white rugs or carpets, especially near doors, because their mucky paws will quickly ruin those pieces of decor.

Ensure that you don’t leave them on their own for too long.

You’ll be at work during the day, and your kids will be at school. Some households will have a stay-at-home parent, but that isn’t always the case. So, your dog might be on their own for a few hours each day. That’s probably the limit for most dogs, however. Other pets, such as cats, are quite independent. They might be out of the house for hours at a time. However, that doesn’t apply to dogs. As mentioned in the earlier point about taking your dog on regular walks, canines are restless creatures. They need to be kept physically active, and they also need to be kept socially active.

Basically, you need to be able to give your pet plenty of attention. If you don’t think that’d be possible, then owning a dog might not be right for you. You or other members of your family need to be able to shower your dog with love and affection on a daily basis. Like a young child, they want to run and play. They want to spend lots of time with their owners. They love creating lasting bonds with humans, so it’s important that you have the time for them. Somebody in your family should be around to spend time with them on a daily basis, whether it’s you, your partner, or the children. They need social contact with people, as well as other dogs. If you think you can provide that, then you might be ready for a dog.

Dog ownership requires a combination of the things discussed in this article. You can’t pick and choose the parts that you enjoy. You have a responsibility when you own a pet, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to a dog, as they have plenty of needs. Your lifestyle will need to be reshaped to account for your fluffy new family member. Your daily routine will need to include your dog. If you think you can make the appropriate changes to your lifestyle, then owning a dog might be right for you. Use the advice in this post to help you prepare.