Are you feeling the pressure from your kids to get a dog? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to do your research before you bring home a cute puppy or adopt
an adult dog.

Many new pet owners often realise, once the excitement of bringing home a puppy has passed, that they weren’t prepared to be a pet parent, said Cathy Beer, founder of Pets4Life, an independent online resource centre for cat and dog owners and those who are thinking of adding a cat or dog to the family.

“Busy parents are often pressured into getting a puppy or kitten by their children. When a family takes on a pet without fully thinking through what’s involved in looking after a pet, the result can be pet neglect or surrender,” Cathy said. “Having a pet affects the whole family.”

Owning a dog is a 10 – 15 year commitment to provide the appropriate environment, activities, exercise and training for the lifetime of your dog.

Here are Cathy’s tips before you consider adding a dog to your family.

Tip 1: Everyone in the family needs to be on the same page about getting a puppy

The first step is to have a family meeting to discuss everyone’s views and concerns about getting a dog. This is very important before you start looking at cute puppies!

Tip 2: Do you have the time and money for a dog?

Looking after a dog takes a lot of time and money – $25,000 for the average dog’s lifespan*.

Examine your schedule. Will the dog be left alone regularly for more than 4 hours a day? If you work full-time, consider a mix of strategies to keep your pet happy.

Tip 3: Do your homework on dog breeds

Choose a breed that suits your family’s lifestyle and energy level, research the original purpose of the breed and research inherited disorders.

Tip 4: Buyer beware! Be careful with online pet shopping

It’s so easy to click on ‘Buy Now’ and your new puppy arrives by courier soon after. All sounds good, but is it…? You could be buying your puppy from an unethical breeder. Your pup mayhaveongoing health problems from a poor start in life in a puppy farm. 

Tip 5: Know how to keep your dog happy and healthy 

Keeping your dog happy and healthy requires daily exercise and mental stimulation, and regular veterinary checks.

Tip 6: Learn the basics about dog behaviour and start dog training early

There is a reason for every dog behaviour!

As dog owners, it is up to us to manage the dog and its environment so they make the right choices and channel their energy into acceptable activities instead of digging up the rose garden.

As a new dog owner you need to decide on the adult behaviour you require of your new pup and put training into place early.

Tip 7: Have a Plan B to look after your dog when you no longer can

Unexpected things happen to us throughout life, such as moving house, divorce, illness and death.

Very few of us who have pets have a plan in place should we find ourselves unable to look after them. Who will look after your pet when you are gone?

Tip 8: Do a trial run

Volunteer at a dog shelter/pound or walk your neighbour/friend’s dog for a while to see if pet parenting is for you.

Enjoy the journey of dog parenting!



Cathy created a free eGuide: Before you get a dog, 8 essential tips to get it right to help your family to make better choices and feel confident about taking on the responsibility of a dog.

In the eGuide, you’ll find 8 comprehensive tips, eye-opening stories from Sydney families, and a checklist to keep you on track.

Download your FREE copy of the eGuide: Before you get a dog, 8 essential tips to get it right at