5 Things to Consider Before Getting a New Puppy

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My heart aches every time I see a little puppy. It is so easy to get swept away by the sweet smell of puppy breath, the soft cuddly fur of a new dog and make an in the moment decision to get a puppy! Step away from the cute ball of fur and consider these five things to ensure you are ready for pet ownership.

 

  1. Think long term: According to vetinfo.com the average lifespan of a dog is 12.8 years. During that time you will most likely move, maybe add a human family member, face a long deployment or training exercise and make other life changing decisions. You need to ensure, despite all that could happen in the next 12 years, you will remain dedicated to this pet. Owning a pet is a long-term commitment and you need to be sure you are ready.

  2. Do your research: Learn about the breed you are going to purchase. That tiny little puppy may be destined to be a 200-pound dog. Can you accommodate the size? Will this puppy grow up to be very high energy? Can you dedicate the time to exercise and walk your new dog? Does your Post/apartment, community have breed restrictions? Ask questions, do research and get all the details you can about your potential new dog before you bring them home.

  3. Have a budget: According to this report, the total first-year cost of owning a dog is $1,270. The onetime costs for microchipping, tags, leash, collar, bed and spay/neuter can add up. You also need to consider the additional monthly expenses owning a pet will accrue for food, vaccinations, veterinarian care and boarding. You may also want to consider pet insurance, which will ease the cost of an emergency pet visits. My dog Bailey has had three emergency situations in his eight years which required costly vet visits and follow on care.

  4. Consider pet adoption (or fostering): If you want a dog but are unsure you can make the commitment, consider fostering a pet. You can find pets to foster by contacting your local rescue organizations and shelters for fostering applications. You could also help a fellow military member who is on deployment by taking care of their pet while they are gone.
    Dogs on Deployment is a national non-profit which provides an online network for service members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets during their owner's service commitments.
    Pets for Patriots®, Inc., is a charity that helps service and veteran members of the United States military adopt adult and at-risk shelter pets. Its mission is to consistently give the gifts of fidelity, joy and companionship to both pet and person. Pets for Patriots® is one of the only organizations in the country dedicated to both homeless pets and military personnel at any stage of their careers and from all armed forces.

  5. Get ready to have fun. Owning a pet can be fun, rewarding and good for you. Pet ownership is shown to reduce stress and help safeguard against depression and loneliness. Pets offer unconditional love and all they ask for in return is proper care and attention. My dog Bailey brings so much joy to our family, I cannot image life without him.

 

Do you have a puppy experience to share? Post a photo of your puppy in the comments!

 

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About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (4 years and 2 years), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.

 

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