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15 Important Things To Think About Before You Adopt A Dog

Before you open your home and heart to a new life companion, there are some questions you should ask yourself first.

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Dogs are social animals, and although it may vary between breeds and individual personalities, you should be able to commit to providing your dog with the exercise it needs regularly. Does your normal day-to-day schedule allow you to fit in playtime with your pup?

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Not everyone has a 10-year plan, but when thinking about an addition to your family, you should think ahead, given that the average lifespan for a dog can range from anywhere between 7 to 14 years. Any plans to travel, move, or have children definitely need to be thought about, however far off into the future they may seem right now.

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Taking the time to figure out which breed of dog is best suited to your lifestyle is incredibly important. The differences in breeds affect things like life expectancy, health, exercise needs, and personality.

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You never know when you may need to travel unexpectedly. Dog walkers, sitters, and doggy day care are all options, but it helps to think ahead and have someone your dog is familiar with who can step in while you're away.

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Depending on where you live, obtaining a license may or may not be mandatory. Getting one is still something you should consider, as it is another way of ensuring your dog can be identified and is up to date on its rabies vaccination. Microchipping and ID tags are the best way to ensure your pet's safe return in the event that they get lost.

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Some vaccinations are required by law, whereas others are recommended as the best way to protect your four-legged friends against a whole host of illnesses. Make sure you're up to speed with which vaccinations your dog needs and how often.

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The training process can take months and requires a lot of patience. Even if you plan to enroll your puppy into a local obedience training program, you will still need to teach them the basics at home.

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Some breeds require more maintenance than others when it comes to grooming, but you should still be comfortable with the basics, such as nail trimming and brushing. It's also worth remembering that it may take some time to get your dog comfortable with these activities.

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As well as regular grooming, it is incredibly important to check that eyes, ears, coat, and teeth all look healthy and clean. You can do this yourself at home instead of waiting for vet appointments. Here's a list to help you know what to look out for.

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It may be hard to believe but not everyone is a "dog person." Bringing a new canine friend into your home affects everyone in the household, so it's important you discuss this with the people you live and spend the most time with. Does anyone suffer from allergies? Are people with young children comfortable having a dog around? Is your family happy for you to visit and bring your dog along?

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As you may have gathered, between the supplies and grooming alone, owning a dog is a big financial commitment. Considering that some veterinary procedures can cost thousands of dollars, responsible owners should keep aside a savings fund in order to plan ahead for emergencies.

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Dogs that are still being trained have been known to eat through things like shoes and electrical cords. Regardless of age and training, however, there are lots of everyday items and foods such as grapes and chocolate that are harmless to humans but extremely hazardous to dogs. Take the time to learn about these, and "puppy proof" your home!

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Owning a dog means you should take the time to see your local area through a new set of eyes! If you live in an apartment building, is it dog friendly? Do you have access to a safe walking route? Are there other dogs in the neighborhood?

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This is perhaps the simplest, but most important, question to consider before deciding to bring a dog home. This is a long-term emotional, financial, and physical commitment. It's one thing to love dogs and wish you had your own, and another to provide everything a dog needs for the rest of its life. Make your decision wisely! Dog adoption sites such as Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet.com can help you.

Ready to start making beautiful memories with your new best friend? #MakeADogsDay by adopting a dog and making it part of the family.

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