- Research Different Breeds: Different breeds have different characteristics and you will want to understand the types of behaviors that may be displayed by your new family member. You need to understand the energy of your household, the size of dog that you can handle, how much exercise you are able to provide and more. If your family tends to be very low key, you do not want to choose a high energy dog that needs tons of energy. If you live in a small space, a very large dog may not be the best for your family. Think about all of these variables before choosing your new pup.
- Age-Old Wisdom: Be sure your new pet correlates with the ages of those in the household. A good rule of thumb: the new pet should fit the current physical capabilities of the caretakers with a perspective for what the next 10-15 years will bring.
- If you have children in your household, enrolling your new pup and family members into an obedience class should be high on your priority list. Children need to learn how to safely interact with the dogs so that accidents don’t happen. An experienced trainer will help the whole family understand how to safely interact with your new family member.
- If there are elderly members in a household, a strong vigorous adolescent pet is not advised. Large breeds also demand more physical upkeep, something that an older person may have trouble performing.
- A Gift for the Whole Family: Although it is exciting to surprise the family with a new pet, do some research and poll each family member to find out what they are looking for in a new pet so that the pet you choose aligns with the household. Once your family has chosen a breed that suits the family’s requirements, the best approach is to bring the whole family to meet the potential new family member and gauge how they all interact.
- Financial Responsibilities: A new pet can go for “free-to-a-good-home” to several thousand dollars. A budget must be set not only for the upfront cost of taking the pet home, but also for immediate follow-up costs like veterinary check-ups, a training crate and pet obedience classes. Also keep in mind that your pet will need to be fed and groomed and will also need chew toys and additional supplies like food bowls, a dog bed, brushes, leashes, etc. Also keep in mind the necessary chunk of money needed for veterinary emergencies. You might also think about getting pet insurance for your new family member to help keep the cost of veterinary bills more affordable.
- Time & Energy: A new pet will cost the family time and energy. Various breeds and ages will make different demands, requiring more time in training and daily exercise than others. All pets will require exercise, training and supervision and any age pet will require commitment from the family to establish house rules and routines.
Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow, North America’s largest and fastest growing pet care franchise, has offered her expert insight on “Choosing the Best Pet for Your Family.” Before making the decision to bring a pet home, it is crucial that potential pet owner’s take a variety of factors into consideration, such as which pet is the best fit for your lifestyle.