9 things to know before getting a dog

Posted by Nicolas of Care2, selected from petMD

Have you been dreaming of getting a dog ever since you saw the reruns of the television classic Lassie as a kid? Or maybe you were fortunate enough to watch the original series. While your dog might not be able to save you week after week from a burning building, a runaway freight train, or the bottom of a well (and in the time it takes to finish a 30-minute episode, too!), owning a dog can be a wonderful experience.

Here are 10 things you should know and consider before choosing your canine friend.

1. Dogs Take Up a Lot of Time and Energy.

Yes, they are rewarding. But if you live alone and work twenty hours a day, then perhaps a dog is not the best choice for you. Hey, there are always those super-cool robot dogs!

2. Not Home a Lot? Invest in a Dog Walker.

If you are not often at home, and you really want a dog, you probably should invest in a dog walker. You'd probably be wise to choose a dog breed that isn't especially needy, too. Check out PetMD's Breedopedia to select from a wide variety of breeds.

3. Dogs Need Enough Space.

Any dog you get should be suitable to not only your lifestyle, but your surroundings. If you live in a shoebox apartment,then a large dog is obviously not a good choice.You don't want your dog to develop health issues, be bored or destroy things. Large dogs really belong in big places with lots of outdoor space.

4. Climate Matters.

Consider which breeds are suitable or your region's climate, especially if you have a yard and want to keep it as an outside dog.

5. Puppies are Cute, But a Lot of Work.

Puppies require the most work when it comes to house training. If you: (a) don't want your things chewed up, or (b) don't have the time or money to train the puppy, consider adopting an already housebroken, adult dog.

Also Check Out: 10 Fun Dog Facts (Slideshow)

6. Your Stuff Will Need Some Rearranging.

Make sure you have lots of chew toys available for your puppy and keep all expensive things (like shoes and clothes) out of its reach; the same goes for chemicals and medicines. Puppies like to investigate and try everything, so make sure there is nothing dangerous around for them to sample.

7. The Vet is Your Friend.

Get your dog vaccinated and spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Oh, and take your dog to the vet for its routine checkups. Your dog will thank you for it and live a much better (and longer) life.

8. Buy an Appropriate Leash

Get a proper leash and harness for your dog. A leash too small or too large may hurt it inadvertently during its walking routine, or, worse yet, allow it to hurt others or get loose and run away.

9. Have Fun!

Regardless of the dog breed you choose, have fun! They say there is no better friend than a dog. We have to agree.

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petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. petMD is a subsidiary of the Pet360 family of brands, which also includes www.PetFoodDirect.com -- the most complete pet food and supply retailer online, and www.NationalPetPharmacy.com -- a fully certified, full-service pet pharmacy delivering pet meds, vitamins and comprehensive pet health and wellness products.