Things To Keep In Mind Before Adopting A Dog

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So you have thought about adopting a dog! That’s great! Adopting a pet is not only a rewarding experience for you, but you are giving a dog a second chance at life. Although they may look cute, there are a few things to consider before you take the dog home. These dogs are here because they were mistreated, unwanted, or the last owner could not afford the maintenance of the dog (surrendered). So picking the right dog that fits your family, environment, and lifestyle is essential so that you can create the best possible outcome for yourself, your family, and the dog. 

In the U.S, approximately 3.1 million dogs enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 2 million dogs are adopted out (Based on national estimates in 2019). If you want to know more, read ASPCA‘s article on Pet Statistics.

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Here’s What You Should Know Before Adopting A Dog

There are a few factors to think about when selecting a dog. Some critical factors to consider or questions to ask yourself are: 


Can you afford the costs involved in caring for and ongoing maintenance of your dog? Expenses to consider would be: 

  • Adoption fees to the shelter 
  • Upright costs like bedding, food, food bowls, brushes, toy, harness, collar/tag, etc
  • Buying food 
  • Training classes 
  • Veterinary appointments/bills/medications (if needed) 
  • Pet insurance 

Does Your Lifestyle Allow You To Commit?

Can you commit time to the dog, whether play, exercise, training, or grooming? If you want your dog to get the very best out of life, you need to be able to achieve long-term commitment. 

  • Are you an active person? Can you take this dog on daily walks and play with them to keep them happy? 
  • What is your current work schedule? Will you have adequate time with your dog?
  • Where will the dog be kept when you are at work? 
  • Do you frequently travel? Are you able to take them with you? If not, do you have alternate arrangements to have someone look after the dog? 
  • How old are your children? is it going to be an excellent time to adopt a dog now and still have enough time for family responsibilities and the dog? 
So you have thought about adopting a dog! That's great! Adopting a pet is not only a rewarding experience for you, but you are giving a dog a second chance at life. Although they may look cute, there are a few things to consider before you take the dog home. #adoptadog #shelter #petadoption
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How Do I Prepare My House For Adopting A Dog?

Is your home set up appropriately for your dog? Quite often, a quick walk around your home and surroundings can help you determine if you need to repair something or add to cater to your new dog. 

  • Things like checking your fence, making sure it’s suitable for the type of dog you’re bringing home. 
  • Ensure no poisons or any fatal, harmful substances are lying around. If you plan to have your dog inside, also include wires or cords that they may chew. 
  • Is there a suitable place for your dog’s kennel/bedding away from the weather or, if kept inside, somewhere they will be most comfortable?

Pure Breeds vs. Mixed Breeds

You may already like a specific breed of dog. However, certain dog breeds may inherit signature traits and have genetic health issues, so do your research and see if they would be a good fit for you and your family. There is nothing wrong with mixed breeds; some will even say that they make the best pets! With a cross-bred dog, you will have a unique and one-of-a-kind dog. We don’t recommend choosing a dog just based on the type of breed. Due to their past and the nature of their upbringing, picking a dog only based on breed is not favored. 

Personality Of The Dog

The dog’s personality is just as essential, and taking the time to get to know the dog in the shelter to observe its behavior is a must. Some shelters may have little cards describing the characteristics of the dog. Take that information into consideration but ultimately watch the dog for yourself and ask more questions to the person who cares for that particular dog. Some dogs may not show their true self to you while in the shelter, so observing their behavior is essential. 

Are You Adopting A Dog Or Puppy?

Are you more interested in adopting an older dog or a puppy? If you have time to train your new puppy and are ok with the needy and energetic lifestyle that a puppy brings, then go for it! You will be able to put in time and effort and train the dog the way you want! Don’t just get a puppy just because it looks cute; they will grow up and have issues if they are not properly trained and cared for. Suppose you want to choose an older dog due to not wanting to go through the development stages. In that case, choosing an older dog can be an excellent choice, but also consider that your older dog may come with learned destructive behaviors, and you still may need to “re-train” your adult dog. 

Known Behavioral Issues

Maybe you have a dog you like that ticks most of the boxes but already has known behavioral issues. Don’t let that deter you; if you think you can take on the responsibility of training the dog and giving it the time, love, and patience to correct the bad behavior, then you may end up with a great dog. In most cases, dogs with bad behaviors or special needs may only be allowed to go to a home that ticks certain boxes in the dog’s best interest. Either way, you must expect your dog to have some behavioral issues due to their past experiences and hence why they are in a shelter in the first place. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money should I have before adopting a dog?

You need to make sure you have enough money to buy the necessary items you need the day you bring your dog home. Anything from $500 will get you things like a kennel, food, toys, leashes, food bowls. It may even cover the cost for adoption, but the fee will vary depending on the dog and organization. So keep these costs in mind when looking to adopt a dog. 

How much does it cost to adopt a dog on average?

Adoption fees for a dog may vary depending on the dog and individual organization, but you may see prices range from $50 – $350. These fees are there to cover the costs of the dog while in the shelter and go towards the medical, caring costs involved for other dogs in the shelter. Most of these dog shelters are run by volunteers, so your contribution means a lot, and the funds go back into the organization to continue their great work for these dogs. 

How difficult is it to adopt a dog?

Depending on the organization, you may have to fill out an application form and go through an interview to talk more about your situation & adoption choice, and then if you are accepted, you pay a fee and take the dog home. Depending on the individual organization, this may all happen in one day! 

There are instances where dogs will only be adopted due to their unique circumstances, e.g., past trauma and special requirements. 

Potential health issues that could affect certain breeds. Those dogs will only be able to go to the people who can give them the proper time and care. This process may take longer, but it will also depend on each shelter. 

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So there you have it! A few factors to consider before you decide if you want to adopt a dog and the kind of dog you are looking for that suits you, your family, and your lifestyle the best. We hope you find this article helpful. 

Let us know if you have adopted a dog. We would love to hear your story! 

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