Adopting a dog is no small endeavor. It’s not a matter of simply going somewhere, selecting, purchasing and hoping it works out for the best. These are my top four things to consider before adopting a dog:
Consider your lifestyle
When I adopted my dog, I knew I could not go out after work without going home or making arrangements for the dog. Since I adopted the dog, I would be responsible and rarely let someone else let my dog out.
Where do you live? Do you own your home or do you rent? If you rent, make certain your landlord allows dogs in the home before you begin the process of adoption. Does your home have a backyard? Is there a place where you can exercise and walk your new dog? Inquire about breeds restrictions too. Some HOA’s, landlords, and jurisdictions ban certain breeds.
Consider who will care for the dog
Before you rush off to pick the perfect pet, consider who lives in your home and their ages.
If you have young children, less than 7-years-old, you may not want to adopt a goofy playful Great Dane as its clumsiness could accidentally hurt them. Some children are terrified of the larger breed dogs. A medium- to large- size dog around 5-months-old or older would be a better choice. If you have senior citizens in the home, what size dog would they be comfortable with? A high-energy very playful dog might not be the best choice. However, there are many other dogs which could be adopted depending on your situation. It’s Important to discuss this choice with everyone who lives in the home and will come in contact with the dog.
Who will take care of the dog? Will it always be you? Or will the children and any grandparents be doing it? Dogs like and need a routine schedule. They need to be let out or taken on a walk at the same time every day. Remember regular exercise or playtime is very important too. They need to be fed at the same time every morning and evening.
Think hard about your budget for a dog
Costs to adopting a dog can run from “free-to-a-good-home” to thousands of dollars. This is not “you-get-what-you-pay-for” though. Adopting a dog has some initial expenses. If you adopt from a rescue, chances are other expenses such as examinations, vaccinations and preventatives are included in the adoption fee. In most cases, any medical issues have been discovered and addressed. Often pets bought at pet stores are more expensive than rescues or reputable breeders and do not include the Veterinary expenses.
With that in mind, you will need to be prepared to take your new friend to a Veterinarian for an examination and required vaccinations and preventatives. There are the necessary expenses such as flea and tick preventatives, crate, leash, collar, food, food bowl, water bowl, treats. obedience classes, grooming, chew toys, and clothing. Yes, some dogs require cold weather protective clothing. Keep in mind, other expenses might be baby gates, odor neutralizers, cleaning supplies, emergency Veterinary visits, and any medications.
How much time do you have to spend with a dog? Different breeds require more time, others can do with less. The less time you spend with your dog, the more likely it is to become destructive and get into trouble around the house. By walking, exercising, playing fetch and encouraging him to run in the backyard, not only have I satisfied his needs and keeps him out of trouble, I’ve improved by own health. How much time you can spend with your dog is an important factor to know before you adopt.
Research various dog breeds
Research your favorite breeds to determine if it will fit your life today. The American Kennel Club, www.akc.org, has a great site with detailed information. With mixed breeds, you’ll get the best and worst of whatever breed so it’s good to have knowledge of what you might be adopting.
A benefit to learning the dogs traits is it helps you to understand why the dog does what he does. My Plott Hound/Black Labrador Retriever has a constant need to sniff and explore. If I constantly rush him on a walk, he will start demanding time to sniff. Some walks are quick while others are his “exploring walks.”
Many people seem to think they can drop off a dog or cat at the shelter if it doesn’t work out. Instead, some preparation can prevent most of these incidents. Don’t those precious dogs deserve it? Also, be sure to check out our tips for first time dog owners!