As the trope goes, dogs are [hu]man’s best friend, so we’re not surprised you want to adopt a pooch pal. Before you bring your dog home, there are a few ways to prepare for their arrival and your new lifestyle. First, we congratulate you on deciding to adopt, especially if you’re going for a shelter dog.
Start with a question: What size and personality type?
Finding the right dog is like playing matchmaker—from size to temperament—you have many options. Think about your lifestyle: how spacious is your home, do you have children, do you enjoy jogs or walks? Answering these questions will inform you of the breed most suitable for you. If you are still wary, spend time with your friends and relatives who have dogs, and see how you feel around their pooches. Ask questions; dog people love talking about their furry friends.
Is your home doggy-proof?
Once you have an idea of which breed you’d like to adopt, here are some things to mull over as you examine your home:
- Where will the dog bed and bowls go?
- If you have other pets in the house, how and where will they coexist?
- Is the yard fenced? If you don’t have a yard, are there suitable places to walk and pick up after your dog? How about a local dog park?
- If you have doors and gates, do they lock or have screens?
- Where do you keep your chemicals, plants, and foods that are toxic to dogs?
- What’s your work schedule like, and who will take care of the dog when you’re out of town or are away all day?
Choosing a dog adoption agency
Although they make great pals, 670,000 shelter dogs are euthanized each year. As such, we highly recommend adopting from a shelter, but where do you start? You likely have someone in your life who adopted a dog or 15; reach out to them to learn where they went. If you prefer to do independent research, a simple search engine query will lead you to a list of local adoption agencies. We suggest adopting through a reputable non-profit organization and visiting the center before you adopt.
While there, confirm your dog’s medical record (what’s available) and whether they’ve been spayed or neutered. Some dogs have unique grooming needs; a conversation with the adoption agency or a vet visit will help you discern how to best care for your dog.
You’ve just about checked all the boxes on our dog adoption checklist, but here are a few other things we’d like you to consider:
- Are you ready to handle the expenses that come with owning a dog: pet insurance, surprise vet visits, grooming, preventive medical care, dog sitter, emergency funds, and toys and treats?
- Will you need help training your dog?
- Do you know how to care for your dog’s everyday grooming needs: nail clipping, bathing, wiping paws, and brushing?
- Do you have a network of friends who already have dogs who can help answer questions along the journey? If not, be sure to visit our Blogbowl for tips.
Next, hop over to our puppyhood pages, where fear-free pet behaviorist Sarah Hodgson gives insights into how to relate with a new puppy. You don’t have to be adopting a youngster to get value out of these tips, though.
Get a free quote from SPOT to see how much you might spend on a monthly premium to help cover vet costs. Having a steady pet insurance premium might help make the cost of your future pooch a bit more predictable (vs. unknown vet bills). You can get a quote before you have a dog, if you’re curious; just enter the approximate age and breed you think you might get.
When you get your dog, take a few minutes to complete an emergency preparedness form for them. This is an emergency response team-recommended measure that will establish an in-case-of-emergency plan for your dog from the start.
Consider these benefits
Owning a dog is a major responsibility, so we want to make sure you’re prepared, but adopting a furry friend has many upsides, especially now as many of us are working from home. For starters, you’ll have a pal to keep you company. Caring for a dog will also show you how to become more accountable—think morning walks and feeding times. And, now, you’ll always have a great conversation-starter and a ton of material to post on social media.
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