Getting a Dog

Should You Get a Dog?

The short version:

Should we get a dog? Some things to consider before getting a dog are:

  • Do you have the time to spend with them each day? Could you take them to work? 
  • Cost. After adoption and food expenses, are you able to put aside an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs?
  • Home. Do you have expensive furnishings? Will the dog have access to the outdoors or regular walks?

It’s common to see a puppy and instantly decide you can’t live without one. We evolved to want to care for them! But it’s essential to fight the urge and consider rationally if you should get a dog. Remember: this is a commitment that could easily last 15 years or more. Every year lots of dogs are given as gifts, and once the responsibility of being a pet parent sets in many are given up for adoption. UK group Dogs Trust have reported that within a month of Christmas they receive over 4500 calls from people wanting to surrender their new pup.

Make sure you consider these points before deciding to add a pooch to your life.

A Few of the Many Benefits of Having a Dog

Consider the Costs of Getting a Dog

We’re not just talking about money: pets also take a lot of time and energy. Here are some factors to think about before adding a dog to your family.

Financial

The adoption fee for a rescue is usually around $300, but designer or pure breed puppies can cost thousands.  Remember, that’s just the purchase price. It’s not including collars, leads, beds, toys, treats, food, training , or anything else you will want to spoil your pup. Ongoing costs will vary a lot based on the breed but remember the food, treats, toys, vet checkups, vaccinations, grooming, walkers, and doggy daycare will add up fast.

That can all skyrocket if your dog has any serious health problems, accidents, or emergencies. Many people are now choosing to get pet insurance to reduce this impact.

Time

Getting a new dog—whether a puppy or adult—requires a substantial time commitment. You should consider taking a week off work to help your dog settle into their new home. For a puppy, also expect your sleep to be disrupted for a couple of months.

Then there are the walk times with poop-scooping, training, and grooming thrown in. We’ve bred dogs to love spending time with us. Think about how long you’re away from home each day, how often you have to travel, and if your workplace could be dog-friendly.  Remember: this is a long-term commitment.

Knowledge & Support

It’s vital that you make sure you learn a lot about caring for a dog before you get one. It’s much easier to train a dog from the start than to inadvertently teach the wrong behaviour and then have to correct it. If you haven’t been the primary adult carer for a pup before you should get reading. Make sure your entire family is on board with the decision to get a dog. It will also help if you have family or friends that can help you care for your pup if you are busy, away, or sick.

Home & Health

Make sure your home is suitable for a dog and remember that different breeds will have different needs. Consider the size, type of property, security of outside areas, and the safety of inside areas. If you want a pristine home, probably get a goldfish instead! Check that all family members don’t have allergies to dogs as well.

Final Advice

There are so many benefits to adding a dog to your life. But being a responsible pet parent takes time, money and lifestyle changes. But if you can manage that, trust us, it will be one of the most rewarding things you ever do.

Have more questions about pet adoption? Check out, Should You Get a Rescue Dog?

Or, take the Are You Ready For a Dog quiz!

Frequently Asked Questions

Some things to consider before getting a dog are:

  • Time. Do you have the time to spend with them each day? Could you take them to work? 
  • Cost. After adoption and food expenses, are you able to put aside an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs?
  • Home. Do you have expensive furnishings? Will the dog have access to the outdoors or regular walks?

If you’re not able to spend time with your dog during the day you can:

  • Ask if you can bring them to work.
  • Enrol them in dog daycare.
  • Hire a dog walker to spend time with them when you’re out.
  • Set up puzzles, games, occupier treats to keep them engaged when they’re alone.
  • If these options aren’t available to you, so the dog would spend extended periods of time alone and bored, it’s probably not a good time for you to get a pet.

Different states have different rules around pets and rental properties.

  • VIC: Usually it’s allowed. If a landlord wants to refuse a request for a pet they have 14 days to take it up with the Victorian civil and administrative tribunal who will then decide if the request is reasonable or not.
  • ACT: It’s up to landlords to accept or refuse, but they need to submit the refusal, along with their reasoning, to the state’s Civil & Administrative Tribunal. 
  • NSW: The state doesn’t have a hard law covering this matter. But the standard tenancy agreement includes a section requiring landlord consent.
  • QLD, SA and TAS: You need landlord’s consent. They don’t need to give a reason. 
  • NT: Technically there is no legislation covering pets and rentals. But that usually means it’s up to the landlord to make the call. 
  • WA: Not only do you need permission to get a pet, but the landlord is also allowed to charge a “pet bond” of up to $260.
Next in Getting a Dog

Where to Adopt Rescue Dogs

Rescue dogs can come from many places: shelters, breed groups, family and friends or even the street. But not all these space are recommended.

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Written by Wendy Syfret
Wendy is Head of Media at Scratch. Which is a good fit, because she's never met a dog she didn't like. Although she has a special place in her heart for muts: three legs, one eye, missing fur, bit of a weird walk? The scruffier the better. Her favourite dog in the whole world though is her terrier-mix Stevie.