7 Steps to Prepare for a Home Remodel

A homeowner’s motivation for taking on a remodeling project can vary greatly, but there’s one universal rule of thumb: home upgrades should add value, function or both. This step-by-step guide can help ensure you get the maximum return on your investment and make the most of your remodel.

Step 1: Identify Reasons for Remodeling

Deciding whether to undertake simple aesthetic changes or a full remodel can be difficult. One of the best ways to decide is to figure out why you are remodeling in the first place, whether it’s to make your new house feel more like home or to update an outdated kitchen.

Step 2: Consider Timing

Many variables can impact the timing of your project, including the climate and exact nature of the job. For example, foundation work is easier when the ground is cold during winter. Spring tends to be busy for the construction industry, so you might pay premium rates for labor and materials, but it’s also the perfect time to get a project done that you can enjoy throughout the summer. Summer months are ideal for indoor projects out of the heat. Also consider factors such as personal or professional obligations, or even an event for which you need the project completed.

Step 3: Set Your Budget

Every home is unique in structure, age, quality and craftsmanship, which all impact the price of a remodel. Since no one can see through walls before demolition, the quote you receive may not be 100% accurate. However, a qualified remodeling company will be forthcoming about potential challenges. Account for these adjustments by planning for a 10% cushion, just in case.

Step 4: Hire the Right Team

To help ensure you find the right company for the job, do your research. Referrals from friends and family are one way to find a remodeler. Resources like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry provide unbiased information that can help you find qualified, certified remodelers in your area. With more than 5,000 member companies, the organization represents professional remodelers who adhere to a strict code of ethics. Many hold certifications in remodeling, kitchen and bath design and lead carpentry.

Step 5: Establish a Written Agreement

Most companies insist on a contract to protect their own interests, but if they don’t, you should. In addition to defining the scope of work and budget, a contract ensures all parties are on the same page with expectations about factors like timing, liability in the event of an accident and other practical matters. Contractors also often provide guarantees of workmanship, so find out what they cover for how long and include this information in your work agreement.

Step 6: Understand the Plan 

Keep the lines of communication open between you, the remodeling contractor and the work crew. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Let them know your family’s schedule and circumstances that may affect their work, such as pets. Make sure to specify the best way to reach you and how often you wish to communicate about your project.

Step 7: Complete the Project

When the remodel is almost finished, walk through the area and note any adjustments that need made while the contractor is still on site. You should also take another look at the contract and confirm you have signed permits, receipts, change orders, lien waivers, warranties and manufacturers’ guides at your disposal.

Find more remodeling advice and contractors in your area at remodelingdoneright.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry

A Spring Cleaning To-Do List

Spring cleaning often lands in a perfect spot on the calendar to serve as an annual reminder of your regular home maintenance to-do list such as changing HVAC and appliance filters, checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and cleaning exterior appliance venting. Keep this checklist from Kidde in mind this spring and find more spring safety information at kidde.com/home-safety. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Kidde

How to Find the Right Mower for You

Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or looking for an upgrade, deciding what lawn mower to purchase deserves careful consideration. Similar to day-to-day life, new technology over the last five years, specifically in the gas mower industry, is making it easier to maintain your lawn.

If you’re in the market for a new mower, consider these tips to find the perfect tool to match your needs.

Yard Size

Looking at the size of your yard is the first step in determining the best mower for your needs. Walk-behind mowers work well for yards that are 1/2 acre or less, but for yards 1-3-acres or larger, a zero-turn rider (ZTR) or riding mower may be appropriate.

Terrain

A small, flat yard may only require a walk-behind mower. If your yard is sloped or hilly, you may prefer a self-propelled mower rather than one you have to push. A walk-behind mower with big back wheels is easier to maneuver across rough terrain. Riding mowers and ZTRs can handle varied terrain, although some handle better on slopes than others.

Engine

Engines are one of the most important factors affecting a mower’s performance, so purchasing one with a quality engine is essential. For example, Briggs & Stratton engines can be found on several brands of lawn mowers, including eight of the top 10 walk-behind brands. As a global leader in gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment, these engines power mowers ranging from small walk-behinds to large ZTRs and riding mowers.

Special Features

While certain features may add to the cost of lawn mowers, many provide functions worth considering. One popular option is a mulching blade, which returns finely cut grass pieces to the lawn as a natural fertilizer. Another common choice is a bagging attachment, which is a grass-catching bag that can be affixed to the side or back of the mower to collect grass clippings.

Technology to Get the Job Done

Explore high-tech features that make mowing more manageable with these insights from professional home improvement contractor Jason Cameron, host of DIY Network’s “Desperate Landscapes.”

Avoid disturbing the neighbors. If finding time to mow means you might be inconveniencing your neighbors, a mower designed to operate quietly may be what you need. To take advantage of weekend mornings without bothering others, look into modern models, some of which even feature technology to make the mower quieter than the average gas mower.

Skip oil changes. Seasonal maintenance can help keep your mower in top condition, and new innovations allow you to skip the messiest part: oil changes. Some mowers, specifically those with Briggs & Stratton’s No Oil Changes technology, are built with the intent that you never have to change the oil; you can simply check the level at the beginning of the season and add what you need.

Get an assist starting the engine. You can forget the days when starting a mower was a hassle; many of today’s gas-powered mowers feature the starting reliability of lithium-ion battery technology, so you can unleash the power of gas with the push of a button.

Save space in the garage. If storage is a challenge in your garage, look for a compact model with Briggs & Stratton’s Mow N’ Stow technology, which makes storage easy. This patented design allows owners to fold the mower and store it upright without fuel or oil leaks, saving you up to 70% of the storage space in your garage or shed.

Explore more ways to put technology to work in your yard at briggsandstratton.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Briggs & Stratton

4 Qualities of a Great Startup City

(Image credit: Pexels)

Location is not often the first thought that comes to mind when starting a business. However, choosing the right environment for your startup should be a priority as it directly impacts your success as an entrepreneur. It’s easy to see why key business and innovation hubs like New York City and Silicon Valley remain attractive, but breaking into those saturated markets is a Herculean task — one that many startups have tried and failed doing.

So if you’re looking for a city in which to plant your startup’s roots, here are four important traits that you should definitely consider:

1. Low cost of living

One of the major disadvantages of starting a business in major hubs is the high cost of living. Case in point: Both New York and San Francisco are notorious for being some of the most expensive cities to live in. As a budding entrepreneur, it might be a wiser business decision to choose locations that are more affordable. This will give you the chance to reallocate your budget towards critical business expenses, like market research, rather than overhead costs such as rent. CNBC points out how cities like Tulsa in Oklahoma are ideal for businesses, given that monthly rent is way below the national average at $863. Other affordable cities for business professionals include Las Vegas, Memphis, and Omaha — all of which are thriving metropolitan areas with low costs of living. This is especially ideal for entrepreneurs who are considering starting a family in the future.

2. Growing local talent

Next, you need to consider the local talent pool when choosing a startup city. This is so that you can hire the cream of the crop when in need of skilled professionals for your enterprise. This is especially true for tech entrepreneurs, given that it is one of the most competitive fields of business. The Colorado Real Estate Journal highlighted the booming tech industry in cities like Denver and Boulder, mainly due to the high concentration of tech talent in the areas. Denver, in particular, is ranked among the top 10 markets in North America with the most skilled workers in tech. The city also reports a 15% increase in tech wage growth over the last five years, which helps businesses attract and retain the best. Perhaps what Denver is succeeding in doing is what Donika Kraeva previously discussed with regard to closing the skills gap — when specialized training programs are in place, we can find solutions to address the talent shortages, blockchain or otherwise, and churn out highly skilled professionals.

3. Strong entrepreneurial community

For startups, a supportive ecosystem is key to successfully taking flight. A city like Kansas in Missouri is a key example of this. The city has media outlets specifically centered on startup news; active community organizations such as the Kansas City Coworking Alliance; and regular social events where fellow founders and investors can network. They are making a huge impact on the economy with Industrious noting how coworking spaces for entrepreneurs in Kansas City are located in key areas like the Country Club Plaza, which is right at the heart of the city’s business and cultural activities. This provides entrepreneurs and their teams not just great spaces to work, but also easy access to some of the city’s key businesses and stakeholders. This kind of setup can provide entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and resources for success, as well as overwhelming support from the local community.

4. Infrastructure support for businesses

Other than the civic organizations advocating for startups, the infrastructure and government systems in place are also highly valuable for business success. Riverside, California is an example of a city with policies that provide a nurturing environment for local businesses. UC Riverside News stated that key partnerships have been set up in the city, such as one between the university and Riverside County and local economic development agencies. These collaborations are responsible for working with angel investors, entrepreneurship programs, and funding, among other initiatives that foster startup growth.

Becoming Eco-Conscious – 7 Ways to Go Green This Spring

Over the course of the past two decades, the reality of climate change and its harrowing effect on our planet have called for a worldwide evaluation of how our actions affect our environment. With growing global eco-consciousness comes a remarkable movement toward reducing carbon footprints and making smarter decisions.

Saving the world is a larger-than-life feat to tackle, and in truth, no one person can do it alone. If you’ve made 2020 your year of renewing and bettering the ways in which you treat the planet, we’re here to serve as your guide to meaningful eco-consciousness. Using these 7 clever ways to go green this spring, you can begin reducing your carbon footprint today.

1. Eat less meat

Believe it or not, livestock accounts for a remarkable 14.5% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. While your steak dinners and summertime barbecues may be a fun and tasty way to enjoy a meal, the environmental cost is frankly alarming if you put everything into perspective. By reducing how much meat you purchase and consume, you can exponentially reduce your individual carbon footprint.

You won’t need to completely eliminate all meat from your diet, but by introducing meatless Mondays into your diet and eating schedule can make a huge difference in your environmental impact.

2. Go solar

Renewable energy has become one of the most talked-about topics within the green community. By reducing dependence on the grid to power homes and relying on all-natural energy sources, the demand for fossil fuel drilling plummets. Whether you’re fashioning your roof with solar panels via a property assessed clean energy financing or swapping out your conventional water heater for a solar-dependent alternative, there are several big ways to reduce your carbon footprint by milestones.

3. Reduce your single-use plastic

Our beautiful oceans are losing their luster to human litter. Non-biodegradable plastics break down into smaller microplastics that pollute our waters and eventually cause a vast myriad of ecological problems. When you opt for real shopping bags, utensils, water bottles, and other popular single-use plastics, you can help keep our oceans clean and reduce the amount of waste you put back into the world.

4. Shorten your showers

Did you know that the average shower uses anywhere between 2 and 2.5 gallons of water per minute? Your 20-minute relaxation sessions come at the astounding cost of 40 gallons of water. For even more illuminating perspective, each gallon of water uses 3 ounces of carbon dioxide. By shortening your showers by even just two minutes, you can save at least 342 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

5. Skip the fast fashion

The cost of fast fashion has been on the rise, killing the planet and exhausting resources across the globe. This rapid evolution has created a jarring and disturbingly large carbon footprint that can be reduced by simply altering your shopping habits. Reversing the cycle of fast fashion means cutting down on your trips to the mall, giving up regular cheap clothing shopping sprees, and shopping with purpose.
Whether that means buying from your local second-hand store or investing in long-term garments that will last you many years, skipping the fast fashion trend has huge environmental payoff.

6. Recycle, recycle, recycle

Most people tend to throw things away that are actually completely recyclable. For those of you who may not know just how much of your usual waste is actually recyclable, we’ve compiled a list to fill you in:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Phonebooks, magazines, and mail
  • Tin, steel, and aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles
  • Crayons
  • Cell phones
  • Batteries
  • Running shoes
  • Mattresses

7. Buy local

Unbeknownst to most organic produce shoppers, buying organic produce doesn’t necessarily mean your produce is completely free from exposure to harmful chemicals. Not only that, but transporting organic produce creates a massive amount of carbon emissions that can totally negate your initial good intentions.

Instead, head to your local farmer’s market to fill your pantry and fridge with locally grown and sold fruits, meats, and veggies that taste twice as fresh as a supermarket’s organic selection.

Doing your part to carve out a greener, cleaner tomorrow begins today! With these 7 clever ways to go green this spring, each of your actions is sure to make a meaningful impact.

Welcome a 4-Legged Family Member with Care

Tips for a successful, lifelong pet adoption

(Family Features) Bringing home a new pet can be exciting and heartwarming. Before you get caught up in the excitement of adopting a pet, however, it’s important to do a bit of homework and have conversations to ensure you’re choosing a lifelong fit for your family.

When considering adopting, keep in mind that pets can provide as many benefits to you as you do them, such as helping to reduce stress, providing companionship, getting the daily recommended amount of physical activity and more. As you take your options into account, remember these guidelines from the experts at PetSmart Charities to prepare for a successful homecoming for your newest family member.

Life Stages

If you prefer a lower energy pet, seek a senior (age 7 or above) who may move a little slower. For higher energy, look for young puppies and kittens or active breeds such as Labradors, hounds, American terriers (commonly known as pit bulls) and mixed breeds.

For first-time pet owners, a healthy adult dog or cat can help teach new pet parents the joys of having a pet and may not require as much attention as a puppy or kitten.

Families with young children might consider a family-friendly breed or mixed breed such as a hound. Older kids may benefit from additional responsibilities such as walking the dog or cleaning the litter box.

Living Environment

In addition to the type and age of pet you adopt, you’ll need to consider the space you have available to welcome your furry friend.

If you live in a home, consider fencing your yard for more relaxed playtime. If you live in an apartment, discuss any restrictions with your landlord and find out where the closest dog parks are to ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

Dogs need a place to call their own where they’re contained overnight and while you’re not home until they can be safely left to roam. Get a crate so your new pet can have an ‘apartment’ within your home.

You should always have more litter boxes than you do cats; for example, if you have one cat make sure you have at least two litter boxes. Litter boxes need to be scooped daily and completely changed weekly.

Veterinary Care

Most adoptions come with a free veterinary check-up within the first week. Visit the veterinarian to have your pet’s vaccine records reviewed and ensure you know the best options for food, exercise and preventative care.

You can prevent many common diseases by keeping your pet at a healthy weight, current on flea, tick and heartworm prevention, fully vaccinated and on a high-quality diet. Preventing diseases costs less money than treating them, so discuss any concerns you have with your veterinarian.

Financial Considerations

Most pets come with annual veterinary bills between $200-500 and food bills between $200-400.

Adopting a pet can provide cost savings, however, as fees at shelters and adoption events are typically lower than breeders and many of these pets are already spayed or neutered.

To ensure your pet is covered in case of emergencies, consider options like pet insurance or opening a designated savings account and depositing 5% of your pay each pay period. If you take out an insurance policy as soon as you adopt your pet, he or she will not have any “pre-existing” conditions excluded from your insurance plan.

Find more tips for a successful pet adoption and locate upcoming adoption events in your community at petsmartcharities.org.

SOURCE:
PetSmart Charities

Unique Ways to Save for Your Retirement (Other Than a 401k)

Saving up for retirement isn’t an easy task. Not only does it cost a lot of money, but it’s not necessarily the most glamorous thing to put your savings toward. Maybe you have your sights set on a new blazer to add to your Fall 2019 wardrobe, or perhaps you’d rather put your hard-earned dollars toward a weekend trip to San Diego. But if you want to eventually enjoy your retirement at its fullest when the time comes, you’ll need to start saving well in advance. But before you make excuses for your company’s lack of a 401k program, remember that there are plenty of other ways you can start building your retirement savings even if you aren’t eligible for an employee-sponsored retirement plan.

If you’re looking for unique ways to save up for your retirement without having a 401k, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss 4 creative ways you can start building your savings today.

1) Use your assets wisely

Since your income will likely be limited when you retire, it’s important to use the financial assets that you currently have to your advantage when saving for retirement. If you have property, for example, you might consider leasing it out as you can to bolster your savings. Perhaps you can lease out a section of your home to a tenant or on a vacation rental site for a less permanent solution.

Another way you can use your property as a retirement savings asset is with a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage converts the equity you have in your home into cash that you can ultimately fund your retirement. Of course, there are plenty of considerations to make with any major financial decision, so be sure to do your research. This reverse mortgage explained article provides some more helpful insight to determine if this option could work for you.

2) Build your investments

In addition to real estate investments, you may have some other financial assets like stocks, bonds, or CD accounts that could build a great foundation for your retirement savings, even if you don’t have a 401k savings.

If you haven’t developed your financial profile thus far, here are some tips to help you do so:

  • If you are investing as a beginner, use an investment app to help you make and manage your investments.
  • Before liquidating your assets, consider the market and other indicators to decide if it’s really the right time to sell.
  • Don’t invest blindly—consider a number of different industries and investment avenues to choose the best investment method for your current finances and retirement situation.

3) Save up your bonuses

If your hard work’s paid off throughout the year and you’re lucky enough to receive a bonus, you might be tempted to spend it on something to reward yourself now, but saving it for the future could be even more rewarding in the long-run. That’s not to say you can’t treat yourself to a well-deserved treat, but you may want to allocate a certain percentage toward your retirement savings too!

In addition to saving your bonuses, you can also do the same for any tax returns you’re issued at the end of the tax season. Typically these kinds of contributions are larger than those you’d make periodically throughout the year, so they’ll definitely make a sizeable difference.

4) Get a part-time gig

Even if you already know the importance of saving up for retirement, you might feel like it’s impossible to do so when you have rent to make and bills to pay. And although every dollar counts, it might not feel like you’re making enough progress. One consideration you might make is getting a part-time job to fully allocate toward your retirement savings. This way, you’ll accrue a more substantial amount and you can keep your primary income and secondary income separate.

There are plenty of opportunities to make a few extra bucks here and there, even if you don’t have tons of time to spare. Here are a few ideas:

Final thoughts

Saving for retirement without a 401k isn’t always the easiest route, but it’s entirely possible if you follow these tips!

5 Pro Tips to Prep Homes for Winter

Before blustery winter days arrive, there are plenty of home improvement projects contractors can tackle for homeowners. Many cooler weather projects focus on cost efficiency and sustainability, making the improvements all around smart investments.

Winter is the perfect time to implement upgrades that boost energy efficiency and lower heating bills, helping to manage household costs while improving comfort and enjoyment of the home. Consider these practical upgrade ideas.

Add insulation. Depending on the age of the home, improving the quality or increasing the volume of insulation can make a difference in the home’s energy efficiency. An expert can determine whether old insulation needs to be removed or new insulation should simply be added. A contractor can examine the home to determine where there may be gaps, as well as provide recommendations on the type and amount of insulation needed.

Seal air leaks. Air leaks can cause chilly drafts, contribute to frozen pipes and lead to energy loss. Eliminating leaks is an important aspect of winterizing any home, but not all leaks are easily identified. A skilled contractor can scour the home, checking unknown areas like basement through-wall penetrations, sill plates and the tops of concrete walls. Interior features like light receptacles and outlets are also common sources of air leakage. The caulking around windows and doors is another common culprit to be examined by an expert.

For most leaks, a solution like Great Stuff Pro™ Polyurethane Foam Sealant can seal gaps and cracks to help block air, moisture and pests from entering the home. In some cases, blocking drafty vents with cut pieces of foam board insulation or replacing seals will suffice to address leaks.

Install a programable thermostat. A programmable thermostat helps to regulate temperatures based on daily routines, so homeowners aren’t heating homes while no one is there to appreciate it. Experts can ensure electrical installation is done safely and provide guidance selecting a model that is appropriate for managing a home’s heating and cooling needs.

Replace weather stripping and seal trim. Over time and with frequent use, weather stripping breaks down and loses its shape, even becoming brittle. Cracked trim around doors and windows leads to air leaks, and sometimes homeowners think the only solution is replacing windows and doors, but they still end up with drafts. Contractors can periodically replace trim using foam sealant to help eliminate inevitable drafts and save homeowners money in the long run – a more cost-effective approach than paying for new windows and doors.

Prevent ice dams. Snow-covered roofs and freezing weather can lead to ice dams – thick ridges of solid ice that build up in gutters and along eaves. Dams can damage gutters and shingles and cause water to back up, which could force the water inside where it can peel paint, warp floors and lead to stained or sagging ceilings. To prevent damming, have a professional clear your gutters of leaves and debris ahead of the first snow and consider installing gutter guards to help prevent melting snow from refreezing in gutters.

For more tips and ideas on how to prepare homes for winter, visit GreatStuff.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Great Stuff

5 Tips to Ward Off Cold Weather

Colder weather brings plenty of changes, especially in the ways you take care of your home and self. Especially when the temperature drops, extreme winter conditions can play havoc not only with your skin and health, but also your family’s comfort.

Take steps to protect your family and household as the weather starts to cool this season with these practical tips:

Take steps to help prevent the flu. As temperatures drop, the chances of getting sick rise. That’s partly because certain germs and viruses thrive in colder temperatures, and because the cold puts extra strain on your immune system. When it is cold outside, people are also more likely to spend time indoors (and in closer quarters) where germs are more easily spread. Do your part to help prevent the flu by washing your hands often and covering your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze. Also be sure to stay home if you’re sick and avoid exposing others to your illness.

Prepare your wardrobe. Colder weather outside means more skin sensitivities and dryness. Long pants and sleeves don’t just add warmth; they also protect your skin from harsh outdoor elements. When you haul your winter wardrobe out of storage, start the season on a comfy note by washing everything with an option like ‘all Free Clear Liquid Detergent or Mighty Pacs. It’s the No. 1 laundry detergent brand recommended by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin due to its hypoallergenic formula.

Dress in layers from head to toe. Bundle up with winter accessories to match the daily weather forecast. For chillier mornings and nights, cover exposed areas such as your head with a hat, neck with a scarf and hands with gloves. To accommodate warmer weather during the day, layer flexible clothing options to accommodate temperature shifts.

Stay active. Physical activity naturally warms your body in the short term. In fact, shivering is your body’s natural physical response to generate body heat when you’re cold. Aside from the immediate benefits, keeping active during the colder months can help in other ways, too. A healthy cardiovascular system keeps your blood flow steady and strong, and a good circulatory system plays an important role in keeping your body, and especially your extremities, warm when temperatures take a dip.

Nourish your body and skin. Preventing painful dry cracks and itchy, scaly skin is a job that requires attention inside and out. Externally, moisturize shortly after showering to trap in the water lingering on your skin, use extra lotion throughout the day on areas prone to drying and reapply lotion after washing hands. Remember to protect sensitive spots like your lips that can easily chap and crack. You can also prevent dry skin by ensuring you’re drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet with plenty of essential vitamins and healthy fats.

For more ideas to prepare for changing weather, visit all-laundry.com. (Family Features)

Content courtesy of ‘all

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
‘all

How to Find the Right Dog for Your Family

Adding a four-legged friend to the family is no small decision, and it’s easy to get distracted by sweet eyes pleading to be taken home. Becoming a dog parent is a major commitment, so it’s important to do your research and make well-informed choices before deciding on a new dog.

No matter what stage of acquiring a dog you’re in, educate yourself about your options. A resource like Be Dog Smart, an online tool designed to guide consumers through the process of looking for a dog, can help you every step of the way, regardless of whether you’re considering getting a dog from a professional breeder, pet store, friend, family member or adopting from a shelter or rescue.

By asking the right questions, researching credible sources and requesting transparency from those who provide companion animals, you can rest assured you are taking the right steps to bring home a new furry family member.

Take smarter steps to bring your new fur-baby home with these tips from the Pet Leadership Council, the creators of the Be Dog Smart initiative:

  1. Determine the responsible environment you would like to acquire your dog from. One way to ensure those who raise and supply dogs maintain proper care standards is to understand the acquisition process and thoroughly vet breeders, retailers, shelters and rescues before supporting their operations. Ask questions about their businesses, policies, animal care and referral sources. Visit the locations personally to get a sense for the environment before making a decision. Once you settle on a source for your dog, interview several options to determine the best fit.

  1. Consider how a dog fits into your living situation. For example, if you work long hours, you’ll need to consider ways for your dog to be let outside during the day. Although some breeds require less space for exercise, all dogs need daily activity and regular access to relieve themselves.
  1. Think about the time and monetary investment. Dogs typically do not understand being left in their crates because you have a busy work schedule or social life. Contemplate your available time and how you would adjust to accommodate your pet. The same can be said for your finances. Ensure you can afford essentials such as food, grooming items and veterinary care as well as extras like toys and treats before making the commitment.
  1. Learn about the differences between purebred and mixed breeds. With so many breeds of dogs available, it’s tough to know which one is the right fit for you. Purebred dogs, which are dogs whose parents belong to the same breed, offer predictability in size, appearance, temperament, health issues, grooming needs and energy level. Mixed breeds, whose parents come from different breeds or are mixed breeds themselves, have a lower chance of being born with inherited congenital diseases and often inherit only the best traits from each parent.
  1. Weigh the benefits of a puppy versus an adult dog. Puppies are typically sweet and fun, and there are advantages to bonding with a puppy from its earliest stages of life. However, puppies quickly grow and can require a lot of work and training. Puppies are also more likely to be destructive. At rescues and shelters you’ll often find older dogs, many who were abandoned due to their owner’s life circumstances, not anything they did wrong. These dogs can be wonderful additions to a family and may be house trained and have previous basic command training, but there is a possibility of not getting a clear understanding of the dog’s past.  (Family Features)

For additional tips and to learn more, visit BeDogSmart.org.

SOURCE:
Pet Leadership Council