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Dog Checklist: “Before You Buy”

There are five important things to consider if you want to own a dog!

This checklist contains important questions that you should discuss with your family before buying a dog. And there’s a “Parents’ Info” section at the end. Feel free to print this page so you can tick the boxes.

Dog checklist Photo: Iryna Kalamurza/Shutterstock

1. Life Expectancy

Can you look after a dog for 10-13 years?

Dogs live from around 10 to 13 years. Small to medium-sized dogs tend to get even older, while large dogs might have a shorter life expectancy. After so many years, maybe you won’t be in school anymore, and you might be training or studying in another place.


2. Allergy

Do you have any animal allergies?

Then, unfortunately, a pet might not be such a good idea. The same goes if a member of your family is allergic to animals.

3. Vacation

Can someone look after your dog if you go on vacation?

A dog might be able to come on vacation with you, as long as the journey isn’t too long or tiring. If they have to stay at home, they can be looked after by relatives or stay at a doggy hotel. These can be expensive, and your dog won’t enjoy being away from its “pack” with strange people.


4. Costs

Do you have enough money to look after the dog?

Dogs cost a lot to buy, from hundreds or even thousands of euros. Mixed breed puppies are around 200-300 euros, pedigree dogs often cost between 1,000 and 2,000 euros. On top of that, each dog may require a special diet or lots of food depending on its size and needs. Then you have toys. If your dog gets ill, you’ll have to take it to the vet and it could need medication or an expensive operation.

How much does a dog cost throughout its whole life? 14,000 euros on average. It always depends on how long it lives for, what size it is, how healthy it is and whether you plan on feeding it budget food or high-quality food. A dog can easily cost over 30,000 euros. Most people think this would be much lower. Maybe this is because monthly costs aren’t felt quite as much. A couple of euros here, a couple there.

We’ve listed the monthly costs for a dog in a separate article.

5. Walks

Are you prepared to take it for walks every day?

Dogs need exercise every day. Even if it’s cold, raining or snowing. If you’re not sure if you can “cope” with this every day, try it out: go for a walk every day without a dog (but you can pretend you’re walking a dog). You can do this to prove to your parents that you’re serious.

6. Grooming and Hygiene

Dogs need regular grooming. This means you have to remove loose hair with a brush or comb and wash its coat to remove coarse dirt. Don't forget that it takes a lot of time to get hair out of clothes, furniture and carpets, too.

In an seperate article we have put together dog breeds that don't shed (much) for you.

7. Does Your Family Agree With the Decision?

After all, your parents will be responsible for your pet. They have to agree. Even your siblings should get a say in getting a new family member.

Parents’ Info

A pet can be a great experience for kids. Here are five reasons pets are good for children:

Children with pets:

  • Learn about responsibility.
  • Develop confidence and empathy.
  • Are more active and get sick less often.
  • Are less stressed and suffer from less anxiety.
  • Feel less alone when their parents are at work.

Please don’t forget that parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s pets. Your child is allowed to help with feeding and cleaning but shouldn’t attempt these jobs alone until they’re at least 12 years old.


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