How to decide if you're ready to adopt a dog -

Are you ready to adopt a dog?

There are about 500 dog breeds recognized by kennel clubs around the world. Which of these dogs are right for you and your family? Our pet pro, Luciano Aguilar, says the answer to that question may be 'none.'

"It happens all the time," he says. "People fall in love with a dog they see in a movie. Then, all of sudden, they want a dog of their own. From Lassie to Beethoven and good old Hooch, to Air Bud, Winn-Dixie and, of course, the adorable Marley … movies make dog ownership look like a lot of fun. And it is. But there's a lot more to owning a dog than all the fun stuff you see on the big screen."

Before you rush out and pick out a pup, you should definitely consider all the expenses, responsibilities and inconveniences that dogs bring with them. The first question you need to ask yourself is:

Do I have time to properly care for a dog?

Too many dogs sit home alone all day because their owners work long hours and there's nobody else to look after them. Dogs need to be trained, groomed and exercised. If you don't have time to give a dog the attention he needs, you don't have time for a dog.


Will my children be safe around a dog? Will a dog be safe around my kids?

If you've got kids, you should definitely factor them into your decision. And, as much as they say they'll help take care of a dog, their interests and activities will change. Just remember: you're the one who'll be left holding the leash. Not to mention feeding and cleaning up after him.

Can I afford the added expense?

Another biggie: Cost. If your household budget is already tight, another mouth to feed isn't going to help any. And then there are visits to the vet and other doggy essentials that make even a free to good home dog anything but free.

What kind of dog should I get?

Do your homework. And never choose a dog based on looks alone. Looks can be deceiving. Small, medium or large … you need to consider what size of a dog your current living situation will accommodate.

Think about a dog's coat. Is a short hair or a long hair dog better for you? It depends on how much grooming you want to do. And how you feel about a dog shedding all over your house. And could you or someone else in your home be allergic to dogs? It's definitely better to find out ahead of time.

Just because you want a dog doesn't mean you should get one. They require a fair amount of time, effort and financial support. So ask yourself: Should I really get a dog? And be sure to give yourself an honest answer.

Copyright 2011 America now.   All rights reserved.

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