Your Best Friend Awaits
Congratulations! If you are reading this article, you are considering adopting a dog. This means you are about to give an abandoned animal a home. This is a good deed, which needs a smart approach. If you don’t want to give the dog up shortly after adoption, you must learn everything there is to know about the process.
Dog adoption is fun and exciting, so try not to lose your head.
What You Need to Think About Before Adopting a Dog
How Much Money Can You Spend?
Adoption won’t cost you too much money but keeping a dog healthy will. A dog is a full-time family member, which needs food (potentially A LOT of food, if it’s big), accessories, and toys. You need to take your dog to the vet and groomers on a regular basis, and don’t forget about regular vaccinations! Do you have what it takes to afford a dog?
How Old Are Your Children?
If you have small children, they may become a hazard to a puppy. Toddlers can’t control themselves and often injure small dogs while playing. If you have little kids, consider adopting a dog that’s at least 5 months old, or older.
How Old Are Your Parents?
If you have elderly family members, you should avoid adopting large, strong dogs. Young dogs often can’t control their emotions and end up hurting people. If you want to get a large dog, consider adopting a reserved adult canine.
How Much Time Do You Have?
A dog is a big responsibility (this is what we tell our kids, right?), and you shouldn’t hope that your kids will be big helpers. Dogs require a lot of time.
Feeding and walking are far from being sufficient. Most dogs need your attention while playing and training. Some breeds can’t survive without intense physical exercises. Others can develop psychological trauma if left alone all day. Do you really have time for a dog?
Do You Like to Travel?
Whether it’s a two-week vacation once a year or regular 3-day weekends at your cousin’s house by the lake, who will take care of your dog while you are away? If you go by car, you can take it with you. If you go by plane, you’d need to collect a variety of documents and then leave the dog alone for the duration of the flight. Can someone take care of the dog while you are away?
Are You Ready to Deal with Death?
The average lifespan of a dog is 10 to 15 years. Eventually, you and your kids will have to deal with the dog’s death. By that time, it will probably become a full-fledged family member. It will be a tough emotional experience for your whole family. Are you ready to lose the dog?
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Does Your Landlord Approve?
Did you ask your landlord if they will allow you to get a dog? In most cases, you’ll hear a big fat no. Dogs are potential apartment hazards, sofa chewers, and floor scratchers. That’s why landlords usually refuse.
If you own a home, you may still need to get approval from a homeowner’s association. More often than not, there are rules about owning a pet.
Is Your Home Dog-Ready?
Before adopting a dog, you need to make sure your home is ready. Besides stocking up on supplies and making a dog door, you have to make sure all of your favorite fragile vases and beautiful floor lamps are well hidden. Dogs, especially puppies, run around and topple things over just as toddlers do.
What You Need to Know About the Dog Adoption Process
The desire to be a hero and rescue a poor, sad dog from the shelter is not enough to adopt an animal. There are rules and procedures to follow.
Choose a Shelter
The shelter you’ll be adopting a dog from should be respectable. Don’t just go for the one closest to you. A good shelter checks the dog’s background, vaccinates it, and keeps it well fed and clean. Read reviews about shelters online.
Pick a Pet
Most shelters have photos and brief stories of their dogs available on the website. You can browse the pets before going to see them in person.
When you are walking around the shelter, pay attention to the following:
- Does the animal look healthy? Are the eyes dry? Are the teeth healthy?
- If you can spot the feces, check out its consistency. Healthy dogs have a solid stool.
- Is the dog aggressive? Does it hiss and growl?
- Does the dog move well? Look for limping and awkward motion.
- How does the dog react when you come near the cage?
Try to spend some time alone with your pet of choice. When it’s just the two of you, a dog may act differently than with other people and animals around.
Fill out an Application
Some shelters can give you the dog when you show an ID and pay a fee. Others may ask you to fill out an application. Based on the information, the staff will make a decision whether the dog is suitable for you. Perhaps they will suggest another animal.
Some adoption centers require you to pass a short interview. Don’t worry. It’s usually a formality.
Pay a Fee
Each shelter requires paying a certain fee for the animal you’ve chosen. Some people are annoyed by the need to pay. Remember, the shelter needs this money to keep taking care of other animals.
Take the Dog Home
You can now take your new best friend home. Don’t forget to collect the immunization records and any other documents from the shelter.
Adoption is always a tough decision. If you think you are up to it, don’t hesitate to make an abandoned dog truly happy.