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10 Things You Need To Know Before Getting a Dog

Dogs are great fun and hugely rewarding, but owning one can also be costly and time-consuming. Are you ready to take on the responsibility? Check out this list of things you need to know before getting a dog.

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1. A dog is for life

Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment. Animals develop deep bonds with you and your family. Any change in ownership can be extremely traumatic, so you should be prepared for the responsibility involved in dog ownership. Dog owners need to be able to provide shelter, food, water, medical care, and love and attention.

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2. Owning a dog can be expensive

Owning a dog is also a considerable financial commitment. The average care for one dog, which includes food, supplies, and basic veterinary care, averages $800 – $1,000 a year. Emergency care can range from $250 to $5,000.

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3. Buy your dog accessories in advance

Before you take your new dog home, make sure you have all the basic supplies. These include a dog collar, (you should be able to put two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck), ID tag and rabies tag, a leash (four to six feet long), food and water bowls (steel, glass, or ceramic preferred), a comfortable dog bed, and toys.

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4. Find a good vet for your dog

Find a good vet before you bring your pup home. Online resources like can help you find vets in your area.

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5. Create a safe home for your dog

“Dog-proof” your home. Be sure to keep anything that may be toxic to your pet out of the reach. Key things to look out for are poisonous plants, plastic bags and chemical cleaners. If you’re unsure call the Pet Poison Helpline.

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6. Be prepared for house training

Puppies require house training as they will not automatically know that the yard-not the house-is the appropriate place to… Do their business. It’s the responsibility of the owner to house train the dog. This requires time, lots of patience and a consistent and dedicated regimen.

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7. Allow your dog to be social

Socialize your dog early on. By exposing your dog to various people and environments-not to mention other dogs-it will become a more stable, happy, and confident animal. Be sure to continue socialization beyond the puppy years. Socialization reduces the likelihood that your dog could become fearful or aggressive toward other people and animals.

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8. Be prepared to groom your dog

Groom your dog, making sure to ease into a grooming routine. Begin with shorter sessions, and gradually increase to the normal grooming session. Be sure that whoever is grooming the dog pets it frequently, and that your dog is rewarded in the end. Your dog’s nails should not touch the ground, and your dog should be brushed regularly. This will prevent tangles and reduce the risk of skin irritation. Your vet can help you plan an appropriate grooming schedule for your particular dog, depending on breed and hair type.

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9. You’ll be a dentist

Brush your dog’s teeth in order to prevent dental diseases. Three to five times a week is recommended, and your vet can give you a lesson as well as recommend an appropriate toothbrush and paste.

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10. Be sure about your decision

Above all, make sure that getting a dog is a wise decision for you, your family and your living situation-not just now, but 10, 12, and even 15 years from now.

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