Before you decide to adopt a dog, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account. You want to ensure that the adoption will be as successful as possible for both you and your new pup.
Here are some important points to know before you bring your adopted dog home.
1. A full-time commitment is required.
Whether you are planning on adopting a puppy or adult dog, you need to understand the time commitment required when bringing a dog into your life. Your dog needs your attention, from feeding to supplying fresh water, to providing exercise and quality bonding time.
Your adopted pup may not call for constant supervision, like a child would, but he cannot be ignored either. Dogs who are left alone without proper interaction and stimulation often engage in destructive actions, like chewing, to relieve boredom.
Before adopting a dog, be sure you have the time to:
- feed and provide the dog with fresh water on a daily basis
- walk, exercise, and play with the dog each day
- interact and bond with the dog; don’t leave him in the garage or leashed outside all the time
- provide socialization and stimulation to prevent behavioral issues
The upside to being fully committed to your new dog is that with your loving care, he will be fully committed to you as well.
2. Veterinary care can be costly.
When you adopt a dog, you are also taking on the responsibility for his health care. Veterinary checkups and vaccinations need to be done on a yearly basis.
Additionally, it is vitally important that you spay or neuter your dog, and depending on whether your veterinarian uses a laser for this procedure or not, the surgery can be expensive. Other preventatives may also be necessary, and the cost of your dog’s health care will increase.
These are some veterinary procedures you may need for your dog:
- general physical exams
- yearly or bi-yearly vaccinations (rabies, canine distemper, canine parvovirus, etc.)
- blood tests
- spaying or neutering
- dental cleaning
- preventative services for parasites and heartworm
You may want to explore pet insurance to help you with some veterinary costs. Owning a dog can be an expensive venture, but a healthy dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog equals a happy owner.
3. Your freedom will be limited.
If you are adopting a dog, but expect to keep your jet-setting lifestyle, long hours at work, or many nights out on the town, think again. You will need to come home from work every day to care for your dog or make arrangements for your dog to be cared for during the day.
Dog sitters, dog walkers, or doggy daycare facilities can assist in this endeavor, but they can’t make up for the importance of the time you spend with your dog. Building a social bond with your pup is critical to creating a respectful, meaningful relationship.
Be prepared to do the following if you adopt a dog:
- head home after work to see to the dog’s needs
- contract with a dog walker or dog sitter service
- send your dog to a dog daycare facility
Always remember that you are the person your dog most wants to see and spend time with. If your life is too hectic to include a dog, you either need to adjust your schedule or reconsider the adoption.
4. Do your research.
Make sure that you adopt a dog that best fits your lifestyle, your home, and your family. If you live in a small apartment, don’t adopt a large-breed dog that needs room to roam. Need a dog with a quiet temperament? Consider adopting a senior dog instead of a high-energy puppy.
Take the time to research breeds of dogs that would be most suited to your life and home. For example, the Siberian husky is a dog that requires a fenced yard with space to run, and a Labrador Retriever is an energetic dog that has an extended “puppyhood.” If those dogs won’t work for your schedule, find another dog that will.
Before you adopt, make sure you know:
- what breed(s) of dog will work best with your lifestyle
- what size dog will fit your home
- any special requirements a particular breed of dog may need (fenced yard, dog run, etc.)
Many adopted dogs are returned to shelters because they didn’t mesh with the adopter’s life. You can better the odds for an excellent adoptive match if you do your homework ahead of time
5. Prepare for everyday expenses.
Aside from the price for veterinary care, there are many everyday expenses that you will have after adopting a dog. Accessories and food are two primary costs that will require regular funding. Other expenses, such as having your dog microchipped, are also costs to consider before adoption.
Here are some main costs you will have to budget for when adopting a dog:
- high-quality food and treats; the better the food, the higher the price
- accessories like collars, leashes, ID tags, harnesses, crates, food and water bowls, grooming supplies, and dog toys
- microchipping for pet recovery in case your dog becomes lost ($45.00)
- dog boarding/daycare services
- obedience training classes
Dogs need frequent maintenance, so if you want to adopt a dog, you need to have the necessary funds to spend on the general costs associated with dog ownership.
6. Expect the unexpected.
Dog owners need to be prepared for the unexpected to occur. Even the healthiest of dogs can suddenly suffer a medical emergency, such as an abscessed tooth, stomach blockage, or broken foot.
When you own a dog, you need to be ready for anything, which means having money saved or having reliable pet insurance to help cover unexpected medical costs.
Additionally, you need to have the following information on hand at all times:
- your veterinarian office’s phone number and operating hours
- the phone number for the closest 24-hour emergency clinic
- a pet first aid kit to have at home
Hopefully you never have to encounter an emergency situation with your dog, but if you do, you want to be ready at a moment’s notice.
7. Embrace a long-term relationship.
Remember that when you adopt a dog, you are bringing a living being into your home and your life. Your adopted dog will look to you for care, guidance, and love.
Keep these keys in mind as a dog owner:
- be patient at all times
- be consistent in your training and expectations
- owning a dog is a privilege and a responsibility
- plan excursions with your dog (hiking, walking, road trips)
The relationship between you and your dog is special and unique. When you adopt a dog, you take on the obligation of caring for a life, so cherish the opportunity to develop a lifelong friendship with your pooch.
Your newly adopted dog will give you unconditional love and loyalty; give him the same gift in return.
About the Author: Alexandra Seagal is dedicated to helping people become more knowledgeable pet owners through the information provided on her website, Animalso.com. When she isn’t writing, she can be found spending time with her two beautiful little daughters, two devoted dogs, and one remarkably intelligent cat.