What to Know Before You Adopt a Dog

There’s a lot to consider before adopting a dog.

Lots of people have decided to adopt a dog during this coronavirus pandemic, and while dog adoption is a positive thing in many, many ways, it’s also not something you want to take lightly.

The truth is that there are lots of things you’ll need to know and consider before adopting a dog.

10 Things You Should Consider Before Adopting a Dog

#1. Can I afford to adopt a dog?

Choosing to adopt a dog from a shelter is certainly more affordable than buying a dog from a breeder — by thousands of dollars in some cases — but the costs of adopting a dog are far more than just the adoption fee.

A good home for a dog is one that is able to meet the dog’s needs, including veterinary care, nourishing food, grooming, and lots of toys for its enrichment — the costs of all of which can add up greatly.

Before you adopt a dog, consider all of the costs of providing your furry friend with a good home, and be honest with yourself about whether or not you can truly afford it.

#2. Do I have time to adopt a dog?

As a proud dog parent, I can tell you that dogs take time — lots and lots of time. Between walking, feeding, grooming, cuddling, and playing with my dogs, there’s not a lot of time for much else. They’re a huge part of my life, and any dog you adopt will be a huge part of yours.

Not only does it take a lot of time to care for a dog, but your dog is also going to want to be with you as much as possible. Dogs are very social animals that don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. Make sure that you have plenty of time to spend with your dog before taking the leap.

#3. How much will the dog’s life change after the pandemic has ended?

Right now, a lot of people are finding themselves home more than ever before. But, even though it may feel like the coronavirus pandemic will never end, it’s important to remember that, sooner or later, it will.

So many people have rushed out to adopt dogs during the pandemic. But, before you do, it’s important to consider what your dog’s post-pandemic life will look like. Will you be able to continue to provide your dog with the same level of care and attention post-pandemic?

A sudden change in a dog’s life — for instance, you being gone at work for eight hours a day when you were previously home all the time — is going to have a huge impact on your dog.

#4. Am I physically capable of taking care of a dog?

Dogs need regular physical activity in order to be healthy, which means that their owners need to be physically fit enough to ensure that they get the exercise they need.

Studies have shown that dog owners get an average of 200 more minutes of walking each week than people who don’t have dogs, and that dog owners are four times more likely to meet exercise guidelines.

#5. What does my living situation look like?

Your living situation has a huge impact on your dog’s quality of life, and on the flipside, your dog will have a huge impact on where you’ll be able to live, particularly if you rent.

Not every landlord is prepared to allow a dog to live in their property, and oftentimes, when you do find a landlord that accepts pets, they’ll charge a pet deposit and/or pet rent.

Apartment life is also a bit more challenging with a dog because it means close neighbors who might get annoyed by barking or whining, as well as the need for frequent trips outside. Furthermore, you need to plan on additional walks since your dog won’t be able to exercise in a backyard.

#6. Can I practice patience?

Dogs don’t often come pre-trained. Most require lots of patience and consistency in order to learn what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable in your home. It also takes time, and you better believe that you’ll experience a few bumps along the way.

I can’t tell you how many pairs of shoes I’ve lost, how many of my books have been shredded, or how many pairs of my socks have been demolished by my dogs over the years. Dogs, especially when they’re young, operate mostly on impulse. It’s important that you’re willing and able to be patient and weather the storm while they figure out how to control their impulses.

#7. Will I be able to train the dog?

Not every dog needs to be trained as well as a service dog or a dog that works with law enforcement, but every dog needs some degree of training. As a dog parent, it’s up to you to train them.

Training is an important part of creating a harmonious home for your dog. It teaches them what to do and what not to do to keep you happy, but it’s also an important part of keeping your dog safe.

Let’s say that your dog slips out your front door when the delivery person drops off your dinner. A trained dog is more likely to come back when called than an untrained dog, which is more likely to keep running, putting it at risk for getting lost, in a fight with another dog, or run over by a car.

#8. Am I willing to spend time grooming my dog?

Dogs, much like people, require regular grooming in order to be healthy. Not every dog needs a regular haircut, but all dogs need the basics, like having their teeth cleaned, their nails trimmed, and their hair brushed. Some dogs have additional grooming needs, like haircuts or ear cleaning.

Before adopting a dog, inquire about its grooming needs, and make sure that you’re prepared to meet those needs.

#9. Are you ready/able to take on the responsibility of dog parenthood for the long haul?

Dog parenthood isn’t a short-term thing; it’s for the long haul. Dogs can live anywhere from five years to 15+ years, depending on its breed among other things. If you adopt a dog, it’s important that you are able to provide it with love and stability for the rest of its life.

#10. Are you prepared to give up other luxuries?

Sometimes, doing what’s best for your dog requires giving up some of the things you enjoy. For example, dog owners don’t have the luxury of staying out all night or taking a last-minute vacation, because they have a dog waiting for them and relying on them at home.

Having a dog doesn’t necessarily have to mean giving up on your social life or never traveling again, but it does mean being willing and able to make adjustments for the good of your fur child.

Are you ready to adopt a dog? If so, read find the right pet shelter near you with Top Rated Local®. With Top Rated Local, you can read a pet shelter’s reviews from across the web and quickly compare shelters in your community. Get started today.

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