How to Find the Dog of Your Dreams and Create a Great Life Together

Adding a dog to your life is a big step, one you’re probably anticipating happily. To ensure those positive vibes continue as you and your new friend get to know each other, there are a handful of things you should do. But first, you need to find “the one” who’s right for you. Here’s how to be sure the pooch you pick is perfect in every way, and how to set yourselves up for a great life.

Pick the Whole Package

When it comes to dogs, many people have a particular appearance they feel drawn to, and canines definitely run the gamut — from high-energy Australian Shepherds to smushed-faced Frenchies and wolf-like Huskies to drooly Great Danes to Bouvier des Flandres pups, there is something to tug everyone’s heartstrings. However, dogs are much more than how they look, and their personalities and activity levels can weigh heavily on how well they fit in with your lifestyle.

What About You?

Beyond what the dog brings to your life, you should also consider what you have to offer the dog. How much house and yard do you have? Some dogs need room to run, while, as Cosmopolitan notes, others require little more than an apartment for lounging.

Space isn’t the only factor, either. Time is a concern since dogs require daily interaction — some need more companionship than others, while others need daily brushing or grooming. Contemplate how much time and energy you can realistically give to your new friend before you jump in.

Show Fido the Money

Beyond your home, time, and energy, finances also matter. If you don’t want to tackle grooming yourself, you’ll have regular trips to the salon and should budget accordingly. If your job takes you out of town, you may need to hire a pet sitter to watch your pup. Similarly, some breeds tend to have a number of health issues, or those coming from a rescue might have an existing problem. Are you prepared to pay hefty vet bills, especially if they are ongoing?

One way to offset those veterinary expenses is with pet insurance. Like any insurance, it pays to shop around before you select a plan. Examine what policies cover, how much your deductible will be, and read some reviews to get a feel for the policies. You can also save by having your pet stay at an affordable boarding facility instead of hiring a pet sitter.

Shopping Around

There are plenty of places to find dogs, and breeders, shelters, and rescue groups are all fine places to locate your furry family member. However, as Forbes explains, pet stores are one place you are generally better off avoiding. This is because the dogs they sell tend to be of inferior health, and when you buy from those big chains, you’re helping to feed the puppy mill industry. Some retailers like PetSmart do connect with local shelters and rescues to help with placements, so examine your options carefully.

Soft Spot to Land

Once you decide on the right type of dog for you and where you’ll find him, make sure you have some doggy essentials before you bring Fido home. You’ll want basic equipment like bowls, a quality flea collar, leash, and bed, and you’ll want to find out what food your dog is used to so you can provide the same one at home. Don’t forget that training treats are a must-have for positive reinforcement. Particularly when it comes to house training, which you should also be prepared for, and this includes pet-friendly cleaners and having a referral for a pro who handles steam cleaning for carpeting.

Also, go through your house and yard doing some pet-proofing, moving any chemicals, trash, or plants out of your dog’s reach so you can avoid mishaps. If you’re adopting a senior pup, you may want to invest in a raised food bowl and dog ramp. A ramp can make getting into your car less strenuous for your pup.

Lastly, as you start a routine with your new dog, be prepared for lots of walks and playtime. Consider too socializing your pet through visits to nearby dog parks and dog-friendly stores. By giving your pup a chance to be around other dogs and people, you provide an opportunity to connect with the world in a healthy way, and it reduces the risk of aggression and the risk of your dog hurting others.

Bringing a dog into your life should be a happy time. To ensure the best results, do some research into making your selection and prepare your home accordingly. Thanks to your thoughtful planning, life with Fido will be a dream come true.