7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Dog

Updated 03/23/17

Breed, age, and temperament are major contributing factors when it comes to how much space your dog will need to roam. For city dwellers, access to grass and outdoor areas can be a problem, especially while house-training. Evaluate the walkability of your neighborhood, as well as access to dog parks and yards. Research breeds. Some dogs are completely chill in an apartment setting. Sporting groups and more athletic types will be infinitely happier in wide-open spaces. Go for a breed that can happily live in your space, big or small.

Get allergy tested before you adopt or rescue. Pet dander allergies are not a fun discovery. If you do have an allergy, consider a hypoallergenic breed (poodles, for example) or invest in hypoallergenic carpet and homewares. Mohawk flooring’s Smart Strand Ultra is, in my humble opinion, the best pet-safe, hypoallergenic carpet on the market. It is virtually indestructible, and it comes with a lifetime stain-proof guarantee. 

Traveling with a dog is easier than you might think. When I rescued my dog Ghost, I traveled with her constantly. She’s now a seasoned jet-setter who is quiet as a church mouse on airplanes. If you have the ability to bring your dog with you on work trips, go for it. The world at large is becoming increasingly pet-friendly (as evidenced in spades by Cara Delevingne front row at Chanel with her young pup, Leo). That said, house-training a puppy requires a routine. You will need to take your puppy out every hour on the hour while housebreaking. If you can’t be around 24/7, consider adopting an older animal that has already been trained. 

If you’re the outdoorsy sort or a frequent runner, sporting breeds that need daily exercise will be a welcome companion. If you favor a gym or mellow evening stroll, consider going for non–working group dogs or adopting an older animal. While all pets need daily exercise, the quality and quantity will fall across a wide spectrum depending on the individual animal’s temperament. An English bulldog will not exert itself to the same extent as a greyhound. 

If you share a space with family members or roommates, it goes without saying you should take their temperature before adding any animal into the mix. Discuss schedules, daily habits, and allergies, and get a feel for their commitment level. Are they down to share in the responsibility at all, or will you be functioning as a single-parent pet owner? If your roommate has a different work schedule that you, it could provide a serious advantage. 

The two biggest areas of unforeseen costs for new pet owners are vet bills and home repairs. It’s almost certain that your new puppy will destroy something. Mine goes exclusively for magazines and unplugged MacBook power cords but has never laid a paw on any of my fine leather goods. If you have hardwood floors, bigger dogs could scratch the wood, depending on the type. Vinyl, porcelain, or laminate wood alternatives, however, offer a pet-proof alternative with the same look at a fraction of the cost.

A month after I rescued my puppy from a shelter, she was diagnosed with distemper. I went the holistic route, which ended up curing her in five days (after a diagnosis from our vet that she would have to be put down by the end of the week). Holistic cures for pets are incredible and can save you a fortune. If your dog gets sick, always seek a second opinion before committing to a treatment.

Not all breeds are created equal in the neatness department. Ever seen Turner & Hooch? I invited you to revisit the ’90s Tom Hanks vehicle when considering adopting a larger breed. Not all dogs drool. Not all dogs shed. If you have your heart set on taking home a massive guard dog, a couple easy décor fixes will help you out. Dyson makes an incredible pet vacuum that is a godsend for upholstered furniture. As for the drooling, godspeed. We don’t have a fix for that, other than good old-fashioned affection. Fall in love with Fido, and you’ll overlook his flaws willingly.

Shop our picks for luxury pet products below. Have a dog? Offer up your own tips for new pet owners. 

Kelly Wearstler Avant Dog House $2500
Shop
Found My Animal Sweet Pea Rope Leash $64
Shop
Kiehl's Spray-n-Play Cleansing Spritz $13
Shop
Kelly Wearstler Gracie Small Dog Bowl $395
Shop
Harry Barker Good Dog Gift Bucket $10
Shop
Found My Animal Collapsible Canvas Water Bowl $36
Shop

Related Stories