The time has finally come. Every time you see a dog, the begging begins. “Pleaseeee can we get a dog? I promise I’ll take care of him!” The desperate pleas and promises of responsibility are enough to make any parent at least consider the benefits of dog ownership. But is your family truly ready for a dog? Obviously, there are positives and negatives to every decision, so before you give the ultimate yes or no to your family, here are some important aspects of dog ownership to consider.

1. Time: Finding time is the issue most families find the most difficult about dog ownership.  With work deadlines, PTA meetings, and soccer practices, most parents already feel like they are overstretched. Dogs add even more responsibilities into your hectic schedule. Dogs, no matter what breed or size, need physical activity, training, play time, and simply time to be loved on by “their people” daily. Sometimes, they will need to go to the vet, which may require you or a spouse to miss time at work. If you have a family that is always on the run and rarely home, dog ownership is probably not for you, and it would be worthwhile for you to consider adding a different pet to your family dynamic.

2. Money: There’s no question that dogs cost money. Food, toys, treats, and medications are all necessities that can really add up. Also, dogs can develop medical conditions, which can be expensive and time-consuming to treat. If you aren’t willing to spend the money to adequately provide for, essentially, another member of your family, than you probably aren’t ready for a dog.

It’s important to ask yourself, “Why does my family really want a dog?” A dog will become a permanent member of your family when you bring them home, so it’s better to consider every angle of the argument before you commit. At times, a dog will seem more like a hassle than an asset, but raising a dog can be an extremely wonderful and fulfilling experience. It can teach children important lessons such as time management, responsibility, and patience. But please note, it’s not fair to the dog or your family to adopt and then realize you have to sell or return it because it does not fit in with your lifestyle. If you do take the plunge, keep in mind that 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year, so please consider adopting from a local shelter instead of paying to buy your dog from a breeder or pet store.