3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Dog

In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month AND Sheba’s 8th birthday over the weekend (happy birthday, Sheebs!), I thought I’d discuss an important topic in dog ownership. The should I or shouldn’t I get one debate. Having a dog in your life offers SO many great benefits (like these) and is also pretty life-changing!

But there’s so much more that goes into dog ownership than most people realize. Here are the 3 most important questions to ask yourself before getting a dog.

3 questions to ask yourself before getting a dog

1. Am I Financially Prepared to Own a Dog?

Owning a dog is EXPENSIVE. It’s easy to adopt one on a whim, but what happens after day one when you bring home a bag of food, treats, and a few toys? Well, frankly, a lot.

First, there’s the basic stuff. Which is essentially continued maintenance of those “day one” things like food, treats, and toys. Next is the standard medicine. You’ll need some kind of heart worm preventive as well as medicine or a collar to fight off common pests like ticks and fleas. And last, those lovely vet visits. Typically, these happen twice a year, but usually one visit will burn quite the hole in your pocket for things like annual vaccines and blood work.

2. Is My Lifestyle Conducive for a Dog?

If you’re feeling good about bringing a dog into your family with your financial situation, it’s time to evaluate your lifestyle. Dogs are one of the “needier” types of pets you can have. By this I mean they need to be let out (ideally walked) twice a day at a minimum and need you there to take care of them.

When you have a dog you have to plan your day(s) around them. For example, if you leave early in the morning, you have to make sure you’ll be back in time

3.Do I Have Enough Space for a Dog?

This question mostly rides on the size of the dog you’re looking to get, but nonetheless applies across the board. Obviously the bigger the dog, the more space you’ll need. Do you have a space in your home. you can dedicate to them for their crate or bed? A yard for them to run in? Will you (and anyone else that lives in your home) be able to live comfortably with a furry addition? All important things to think about!

Do you have a dog? What other things did you consider before making your decision to adopt one?

  • Monica L

    #2 & #3 are why I don’t currently have a dog. My apartment is not that big (even though bigger than average Chicago place) and I don’t have the time to make sure it gets quality outside time!

    • So great that you’ve acknowledged those things and decided to hold off. There are so many people that get dogs that shouldn’t yet!

  • Yup! Reasons why I have a cat. Definitely not ready for a dog yet. :)

    • It’s crazy how low maintenance cats are in comparison!

  • So true! I’ve had my dog since I was 18-and I’m always preaching to others that are considering getting a pet. Not that it’s not amazing, but it’s like being a parent. It’s a full-time job and commitment your making for the next 5-15 years! When people are like, lets be spontaneous and go here or there, I’m like-let me see if my pet sitter is available lol…

    • It absolutely is! A lot of people don’t realize all that goes into taking care of a dog! I know I’m always making plans around mine – especially when it comes to travel!

  • Such good questions to ask before you adopt a dog! We have 2 – a huge german shepherd and a 50 lb shepherd mix – and while they are huge couch potatoes, they definitely need our yard to run in! And their vet bills and food are definitely not cheap. Thankfully we can do it, but I couldn’t imagine doing it a few years ago or while I was in an apartment!

    • Oh absolutely! I can’t imagine 2 dogs in an apartment – I thought there was just enough space for my 1 when we lived in the apartment! A fenced in yard is a fantastic thing to have!

  • Karoline J.

    This is so helpful! I love dogs so much, but I am way not in the position to get one due all my travels and moving into new countries. I already felt bad in leaving my Bunny behind in Germany! Great post :)

    • I can definitely understand that! Hopefully you’ll be able to settle in somewhere soon and will be able to get one!

  • And the 3 no’s I get at these questions it the main reason why I don’t have a dog (yet). My main concern is that I don’t have enough time to spend with him and properly take care of him and it kills me because I absolutely adore doggos.

    Cristina | *janded

    • Hopefully you’ll be able to get to a place of 3 yes answers soon :)

  • This is so helpful! I’m giving myself a year to save up money with my new job and then getting a dog! I definitely want one at some point, I hate coming home to a silent apartment!


    • Thanks, Tori! That sounds great! It definitely makes life more exciting – and the greetings when you come home are the best! Do you have any dog breeds in mind?

  • The top three questions for sure! I’m a dog person and have wanted dogs since we got out of our apartment, but we’re too busy right now. We don’t travel a lot, but dogs are so much more high-maintenance than our cat!

    • They really are! Definitely a good call to hold off until you know you’ll be able to dedicate the time!

  • Our pup is turning four tomorrow (can’t believe it!) and these are the questions I ask people all the time when they say that they want a dog of their own. We got our dog as a puppy and as much as I love him, I never want to go through that again!

    • Aww happy belated birthday to your pup! It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve had a puppy (my pup was 2 when I adopted her so already potty trained thankfully) but they’re so adorable!

  • These are great questions to think about before adopting a dog. Too many people get one and have regrets because they didn’t anticipate things like the cost of vet visits and the time it takes to care for a pet. Love that you are sharing this!

    • Thanks, Lecy! You’re so right about people jumping the gun on getting dogs. There’s SO much that goes into being a dog parent though!

  • Katherine

    These are such important questions that I keep coming back to every time I get the “dog-itch”! But I consistently answer number 1 and 2 with “nope, not yet”. Haha we’ve even recently discussed putting in a pool in our backyard which would limit the space for a dog, and that’s another issue to consider! I know one day we’ll be ready, just not right now. I think more people need to read this before making the jump into dog parenthood. :)

    • I couldn’t agree more, Katherine! That’s one of the reasons I wrote the post :) I hope you’ll be able to get all 3 to a yes sometime in the near future! But for now, it’s good that you know you’re not fully ready for the commitment!

  • Bibi Camilo

    These are incredible VALID questions to ask. My fiance and I wanted to get a dog and we had to think long and hard about it. Our jobs don’t give us enough time to give him all the attention he deserves, and not to mention we live in the city. We wanted a Husky and we would love to have enough running and free space for him. Once we’re ready, we’ll get our dog, but for now we’re taking endless trips to the shelter lol.

    • Taking trips to the shelter is so dangerous, haha! I wasn’t looking to adopt a dog when I found mine, but am so glad I did! I hope you’ll be able to get your husky soon!

  • Thank you for raising these important questions! I have wanted a dog for years but haven’t been able to commit. Namely #2 #3. I have a Beijing rescue cat who has been with me since 2009 and followed me with 4 international relocations.

    Quarantine laws are also tighter with dogs – if you bring them into Australia, it needs a proxy country (singapore) so you’ll really only see your pet nearly a year later! Not withstanding the costs. Relocating with pets is costly and one should be committed for life. ❤️

    • Of course! I hate to see dogs neglected because these things weren’t thought about prior to owners getting them! I can’t imagine all of the craziness involved with moving a pet internationally too! And to be quarantined for nearly a year?! Yikes, I couldn’t do it!! lol

  • Miss ALK

    What important questions!! I would love to get a pet right now since I live alone and have dealt with some loneliness since moving out of state for my job, but I know that I have some hefty school payments that I need to finish before taking on a financial investment like an animal. That’s something that a lot of people don’t think of!

    xoxo A

    • So true! I think a lot of people think they just need to drop like $50 on some basics like food, leash/collar, and toys and that’s it. But there’s so much more to it financially and with your lifestyle!

  • yess! the lifestyle thing is so key! I was just talking with my husband about how lucky we are that I can be home with Tucker all day because i couldn’t imagine him being locked up alone all day

    • That really is the best! Sheba has free reign of the house but I leave a TV on in one room and soft music on in another, so she has options for when I’m not home, haha.

  • mckenna bleu

    Omg such a cute pup! I had to wait until I knew I had the lifestyle to commit to a dog.

    • Thanks, girl! Making sure your lifestyle is compatible is a HUGE factor!

  • We got a puppy back in February — and he changed our world! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love him! But our habits are so different now that he is here. But how can you not like their sweet little faces?

    • Couldn’t agree more, Monica! What kind of puppy did you get? They’re even more work than dogs a little older!

  • The points we discussed the most was the expenses and our lifestyle! Planning your day around them is so true haha.

    • It really is! Especially when it comes to making any plans after work or on the weekends!

  • Tami

    Great post and these are some great questions to ask! My husband and I just got a Boxer puppy and I had no idea they were full of SO much energy, haha! He’s super adorable, but he can be a handful. Luckily I work from home, so he’s always taken care of, though. :)

    • Thanks, Tami! My pup used to play with a boxer at our dog park and that dog had SO much energy so I can definitely see that :) Great that you’re able to stay home with your pup during the day. I know mine loves when I’m able to do that!

  • Casey

    Great points! I would love a dog but I just don’t have time to take care of one right now!

    • Thanks, Casey! There’s definitely a whole lotta time needed to be a dog parent!

  • YES!!! I wish people would realize that dogs are a LOT of work. The holidays are a time when dogs are gifted all the time and later dumped or abandoned because of how much work they are. I love my pup and couldn’t see life without him.
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily

    • It’s so true! I think shelters and rescues do a decent job with bringing some of these points up, but more often than not, these things are overlooked. People really need to do their research before getting dogs!

  • Amy

    So important! My bf and I are wanting a do so bad, but because of our living situation and schedules it’s just not practical right now!

    • I know the struggle! It’ll happen when the time is right!

  • These are such great tips! I don’t have a furry friend mostly because I am on my own and don’t have someone I can rely on to help split the “parenting” duties!

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

    • Thanks, Katie! It’s definitely a lot to take on by yourself but it’s definitely doable! Although with crazy travel schedules it can get tough. I’m lucky that my parents are close enough so they can watch Sheba when I’m out of town!

  • I have definitely asked these questions to myself and even though I really want a puppy I know I am not ready for it yet!

    • Puppies require even more lifestyle changes! I adopted my pup when she was 2 so she was already potty trained – which was a HUGE relief!

  • Karoline J.

    Yeees I wish I could get a pup now but It is really not the right moment for me since I am traveling a lot and switching countries :(

    • I hope your travel is going well! Are you moving to a new country or just visiting?

  • Allison Ellzey

    YES! When my husband and I first got a dog (when we were still babies in college) we had NO IDEA what we were getting into. I wouldn’t change it for the world now though!

    • I know the feeling! Having a dog growing up is totally different than having your own as an adult! But it’s truly the best!

  • Oh my goodness, that first picture is adorable!

    We have contemplated getting a dog many times, but since we travel so often and move countries every few years, it’s just not the right time for us. When we eventually move back to the States, we plan to foster dogs for awhile before deciding if its time to get one of our own. Test the waters a little, I guess. :)

    • Thanks, Sarah! I think fostering is a great idea to see if it’s something you’d want to make the full commitment on. Definitely good to wait since you’re moving around a lot! Do you think you’ll be making the move back to the States soon?

  • Happy birthday Sheba! What a cutie!

    I lovelovelove these questions! I don’t have a dog, but I have cats, and they’re expensive as well. Especially those vet visits. One of my cats was sick recently and it took awhile to figure out what it was. Those tests add up. They’re totally worth it, of course, but ya need to make sure your lifestyle is conducive to your pets and you’ll be able to care for them.

    • Thanks, Erica! I hope your cat’s doing better now! Those vet bills really can be brutal. But I agree, they’re absolutely worth it!

  • Considering the financial impact of having a dog is SO important! Especially thinking about medical bills if something unexpected were to happen. Dogs get into a lot of different things and sometimes that requires an unexpected trip to the vet! My family just got our first dog a year and a half ago and we wouldn’t trade her for anything!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

    • 100% YES! The financial impact is huge! I wish I could add my pup to my medical insurance plan, haha.