When you buy a house, you don’t just go on the internet and place a bid on the first home you see. You find a realtor, get pre-approved for a loan, and take many more steps in ensuring you’re making the right choice. Yet no matter how much you research, things can go wrong inside the house once you purchase it.

Dog ownership is not as large of an undertaking as purchasing a house but like with any life decision – there are things that you should consider but are often overlooked. Hindsight is 20/20 and dog parents nationwide are open to sharing things about having a dog of their own, that they wish they’d known sooner.

1.       Researching breeds
Time and time again, a dog owners will admit that they wish they had been thorough in researching the breed/mix of dog they adopted. Many people are drawn to certain dogs based solely on how they look. When you bring home a dog based on nothing more than you think he is cute, you’re doing yourself and the dog a disservice.

Taking the time to research dog breeds and identifying which ones align with how you want to live your life can prevent a poor match.

2.       Costs of dog ownership
Dogs are expensive. The upfront cost of buying a purebred can range from $500-$2,000+ depending on the breed. Even adopting from a shelter can come with a heavier price tag as the funds help the shelter remain operational. Beyond the purchase price, dogs require a lot of supplies like food, crate, collar, leash, toys, training, boarding, etc. that all quickly add up – and many of which are recurring charges (like food, toys).

Then you need to factor in veterinary costs: yearly exams and vaccines, flea and heartworm treatment, and unforeseen emergencies. There are also costs in the form of your time and effort. The moral of the story is, to make sure you have the finances to manage these expenses, plus some. Dogs love to keep us on our toes and accidents do happen.

3.       Importance of nutrition
There is no one type that feeds all when it comes to dog food. While dogs, at a base level, all need things like carbs, grains, protein, etc. their dietary needs can vary wildly. Pay attention to what you’re feeding your dog and how she reacts. Many dogs have food allergies (typically to protein sources) that can make it hard to find a brand that works for them. Symptoms like excessive itching, vomiting, and gastrointestinal issues can be a sign that your dog is not tolerating her food well.
Also, remember that most people’s foods are not dog-friendly. You can do a quick search online to see that foods like grapes, onions, chocolate, and more should be kept far out of reach.

4.       No amount of time is long enough
The sad reality is that our dogs are only part of our lives for a short time. Enjoy every moment you have and when things are difficult, remind yourself that one day you’ll miss all of his quirks.