Thinking about adopting or giving a pet as a gift this holiday season? There is a lot to consider. Here is a complete guide to adopting a dog that covers everything from financial commitments to ongoing responsibilities to selecting the perfect dog for your family. Make sure you are ready before you adopt.
Things to consider before adopting a dog
Before you adopt a pet, please take a moment to think about these four different categories: your lifestyle, activity level, financials and family environment.
Do you work a lot? If so, do you have the time to give the your dog the amount of attention and stimulation they need? Do you live in an apartment? Is your friend’s apartment dog friendly? Do you have a backyard? Is it fenced in?
Do you like to run, bike, hike, and be outdoors? Or do you stay home a lot? Chose a dog that has a similar activity level as you or that you can provide.
Can you afford to have a dog? It cost on average $200/month for food, toys, etc. but if the dog needs to be boarded or you are paying for a dog walker, daycare, etc. that can be as high as $1,500 a month.
Do you have children? How old are they? What kind of schedule does your family have? Do you live alone? Can you incorporate the dog’s schedule with your schedule? Do you want your dog to go with you on family vacations? Who will be the primary caregiver of the dog? Kids will say that they will do this, but often one of the parents has to do it. Do you have time between the children’s schedule to walk the dog, give the dog enough exercise and attention?
Good for an apartment
Puggle, pugs, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Chihuahua, Greyhounds, Yorkshire Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and English Bulldog.
Need outdoor space/backyard
Shepherds, Vizsla, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, Labrador Retriever, and Boxer.
Need lots of exercise & mental stimulation
Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Mini Pinschers, Pointers, Siberian Husky, American Pit Bull Terrier and Boxer.
Best for children
Newfoundland, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Boston Terrier, Beagle, Irish Setter and Poodle.
Responsibilities of dog ownership
Pets are great fun but there are also responsibilities that come along with adoption once you go through with the process. These include:
- Dogs require food, treats, dog walkers, dog caretakers, daycare, boarding, etc.
- Dogs need to be walked/pottied 2-3 times a day. Puppies need to be taken out up to six times a day!
- Training your dog will make your life easier, but it will also be enriching for your dog. If you adopt a puppy, consider sending them to puppy preschool so they receive the proper training and socialization to set them up for a lifetime of success.
- Walks should be 30 minutes to 1 hour in length.
- High energy breeds & large breed puppies need even more stimulation & exercise. Check out these great backyard activities for your active dog.
Where to adopt
- Rescue groups – look up local rescue organizations in your area. Dogs from rescues can be a little more expensive, but the adoption fees usually include all vaccinations and spay/neuter.
- Shelters- Make sure you read the reviews for your local shelter before adopting. If you’re adopting a puppy, you want to make sure they are taking necessary precautions to protect the dog from illnesses such as Canine Parvovirus, Kennel Cough, Pneumonia and more.
- Breeders- Always do your research before buying a puppy from a breeder. There are a lot of irresponsible backyard breeders out there who put profit over the safety and wellbeing of their dogs. Make sure the breeder has all the proper certifications, they allow you to visit the puppy and facility, they show you all the proper health documents and that they send you pictures and videos of the puppy. Also, if they always have puppies available and no waitlist, that means they are overworking their breeding dogs.
- While most shelter/rescue dogs are lost pets, the mere fact that they have been displaced often leaves them with insecurities.
- People need to give dogs and cats time to trust you and bond with you. Doing activities together like a hike or long walks at night or playing at night helps to build a level of comfort. The more positive interaction the better!
- Having a consistent meal and walking/potty schedule helps to set dogs up for success. This ensures that your dog trusts you to provide the basic necessities.
- January and February are the highest months for people returning dogs because they were not prepared for the responsibility.
- People should consider the decision to adopt a pet a lifelong commitment.
- Dogs live 8 to 15 years depending on breed and size and cats live anywhere from 10 to 20 years. This is your commitment.
- Take the time to go over whether or not adopting a dog is a good fit for your lifestyle and family before making your final decision.
- Learn about breeds that can suit your particular lifestyle.
- These things can prevent dogs from being displaced multiple times, which causes more hardship on the dog and it also ensures a perfect match with you!
- Once you find the right dog, he or she will be a family member for life and you will not even imagine your life without them!
Originally written by Andrea Servadio of Fitdog Sports Club and featured on KCAL9 on December 10, 2012. Watch video or read full story.