Adopting a Dog: Are You Ready?
By Heidi Ganahl
If you are a single woman or single mom and are thinking about adopting a dog for companionship, congratulations! Dogs can be a source of much love and joy. However, there are some things you should consider when choosing a breed. Remember, this is a long-term commitment so choosing the right dog is important.
1). Take the time to consider which pet is most appropriate for your lifestyle and living arrangements
If you live in a condo or apartment, research dog breeds that are good for this type of environment. Many condo and apartment complexes will not allow dogs over 25 pounds. Smaller breeds may be your only option.
What is your activity level? Do you have time to exercise your dog daily? If you don’t have a fenced yard, then a minimum of 3 walks per day are required to keep your dog healthy. Can you commit to a regular walking and exercise schedule each day?
2). Choosing a dog for security
Are you a single woman or single mom that is looking to adopt a dog for security?
A good watch dog doesn’t always need to come in a large package (especially if you live in a smaller home or apartment without a yard). Smaller breeds such as terrier’s or companion dog/toy breeds can be just as good at alerting you to strange activity.
If you suspect you or your children are allergic to dogs, that doesn’t mean you can’t have one. There are many hypoallergenic breeds that have low shed fur and limited dander such as Havanese, Poodle, Bichon Frise, Water Dog, Lhasa Apso, or a small Terrier. Any mix of these breeds can also be low shed.
3). Single moms and children
If you are a single mom, make sure to research breeds that are known to be good with children such as Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Labradors.
Talk to your breeder or a trainer about how to teach your kids to handle and be around the pup to insure that they respect the animal and not harm it.
For single mothers, getting a 2+ year old dog might be the best choice if you have a baby or young children. A puppy requires more time and attention than an older dog. Remember, you want a dog to enhance your life, not add stress to it.
4). Monthly expenses
When selecting a dog you should also consider your monthly budget.
Long hair breeds will need a monthly grooming visit that can cost anywhere from $30-100. Some full bred dogs also have common health problems that can become costly. So, make sure you thoroughly research the breed you are interested in before you make your final selection. There are plenty of online forums that openly discuss health issues associated with each breed.
Tip: Many studies show that a mixed breed dog may have less health problems over the course of their lifespan so consider finding a pup from a reputable shelter/breed rescue that is 50% the type of breed you are interested in.
5). Are you ready for dog ownership?
If you aren’t sure you are ready to commit to being a full time dog owner, you can always consider becoming a foster parent.
Rescus shelter are filled with a varitey of dogs and puppies that need homes, even if it’s a temporary one. Contact your local rescue shelter to see if foster care is an option. This is a great way to learn about breeds that will be compatible with your lifesytle, while helping a good cause.
About Heidi Ganahl
Heidi Ganahl is the founder, President and CEO of Camp Bow Wow, the largest pet care franchise in North America and the author of TALES FROM THE BARK SIDE: My Journey from Wayward Stray to Top Dog.