Many families have been adopting new dogs during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep anxieties low and spirits high. But how do you know whether your family is ready for a new furry friend or whether getting a dog is just wishful quarantine thinking? Here are five signs your family is ready to take on the responsibility of a new dog without things getting too hairy.

1. You’re not planning to move anytime soon

If you don’t plan on moving anytime soon and you enjoy your current living space, it could be time to get a dog. Dogs, especially puppies, can become anxious when moving frequently due to frequent noise, different smells, and movers coming in and out of the house. Think of how often you’ve moved in the past five years. Up to 43 million Americans move every year, and there’s a chance the COVID-19 pandemic may have shown you just how much you dislike your current home. If you know you’re getting ready to move soon, consider waiting until you’ve settled down to introduce a new furry friend into the family.

2. You have a backyard that’s just big enough

It’s often recommended to have a decent-sized yard before you decide to get a dog. This ensures your furry friend has plenty of room to run around and use the bathroom when they need to. Just be sure if you do have a yard that the yard has the right type of fence. About 85% of homes built prior to 1980 are in need of some type of home improvement, and the chain-link fences that are commonly used for backyards aren’t always dog-friendly. Consider installing a wooden fence instead to make sure your new dog is safe and secure while they’re playing.

3. You can afford veterinary services

Just like when you’re having a child, it’s important to consider where you stand financially before you decide to get a dog. Your dog is going to need to visit the veterinarian at least once a year for an annual check-up or even more frequently if they’re not in the best health. A new puppy or an older dog may need to visit the veterinarian at least once every six months.

A routine check-up at the vet typically costs around $45 to $55 whereas vaccinations will cost anywhere between $15 to $30. Depending on your dog’s health, certain exams and treatments can get a little more expensive. For instance, a heartworm test is only around $50, but heartworm treatment can range from $400 to $1,000. What’s more, while it might be sad to think about, it’s also important to consider how you might afford your pet’s aftercare. Cremation, which is the number one choice of pet owners, can range between $100 to $300. Fortunately, pet insurance can help to make these different expenses more affordable, especially routine expenses such as vaccinations and teeth cleaning.

4. You have the time

It’s crucial to ask yourself whether you actually have the free time to take care of a new dog before you start to seriously consider getting one. Your dog will need time to play, go on walks, and go to the bathroom regularly. That means you need to be flexible with your hours. Keep in mind your dog’s training needs, too. If you’re planning on getting a new puppy, they’ll not only need basic training but they’ll also need training on being left alone for a few hours. An anxious dog is a destructive dog.

Getting a dog is exciting, but it’s also a big responsibility that can’t be taken lightly. Be sure that you and your family are able to take on that responsibility both physically and financially before making any major decisions. The more prepared you are for a dog, the happier both you and your furry friend will be.