Dogs make wonderful companions and are known to be man's best friends. The adorable puppy eyes and wagging tails seem to have cast a spell on the heart of humans. Sadly, dogs are often abandoned by owners due to the lack of commitment humans have to their dogs. More recently, the ‘adopt don’t shop’ movement has inspired many pet lovers to adopt a furry family member. If you’re also thinking about adopting a dog, then you might want to consider a few key factors from the following checklist before you introduce a pup to their furever home.
1. What’s your adoption motivation?
Nothing breaks our hearts more than a dog waiting for a home at the dog shelter. However, the sudden pang of sadness or guilt should not be the prime reason for you to adopt. Dogs can be a handful sometimes, which is why your motivation must be sustainable.
Reasons you should NOT adopt a dog
- You’re bored and lonely
- You want to gift a dog to a friend
- You want to teach your kids a lesson about responsibility
- You want to do a good deed
- You need the motivation to exercise
2. How much time do you have to commit?
Taking care of a dog goes beyond simply feeding it and taking it on walks every day. Dogs are emotional creatures that need lots of love, care, and companionship from their owners to stay healthy and happy. New pawrents need to consider the amount of time they have outside of work and social life to take care of a dog. Here are some questions to ask yourself before taking on the task of a dog parent:
- Do you work a 9 to 5 job?
- How often do you travel? Can you travel with your pet?
- How much time do you have outside of work?
- How much time do you spend per week running errands?
- Do you socialize with friends very often?
3. How's your home environment?
Dogs come in all sizes and shapes, which means that they have different needs when it comes to the home environment. For example, you might want to think twice before adopting a large husky if you live in a small one-bedroom apartment. You want to make sure that your house is not only dog friendly, but comfortable for both you and the dog. If you’re living in a rental, make sure that your landlord is fine with pets.
- Do you live in a house or apartment?
- Are you renting your home? If so, does your landlord allow dogs?
- Do you foresee yourself moving often?
- Do you share your home with other people? What are their feelings towards dogs?
4. How about your family members?
If you live with family or roommates, you must factor in their physical condition and feelings towards dogs before bringing one home. If there are children in your household, then you need to be extra cautious about bringing a fluffy friend home. Even the tiniest pups have sharp teeth and claws that can cause unintentional injuries to children. In addition, children are sometimes oblivious to the concept of respect and boundaries for dogs. If a child is constantly hurting or disturbing a dog, the dog will likely bite or scratch back.
5. Do you already have a dog at home? How about other animals?
Keep in mind that not all animals get along well. If you already have a fluffy companion at home, you should make sure that they get along in the same room before bringing another pup home. Most dog shelters will allow you to spend some time with the dog before the adoption happens. This is to prevent owners from returning the dog after it has been adopted due to lack of compatibility. Dogs that were returned to shelters were shown to experience more separation anxiety.
6. Can you cover the bills?
Last but not least, money is a crucial factor if you want your beloved pup to live a healthy and happy life. Food, bed, toys, vet bills, the list goes on. Taking care of a dog is more expensive than you think. You won't break your bank; however, you’ll need to budget carefully if you want to give your pup the best of everything. Here are some of the upfront costs you might encounter when adopting a dog.
- Adoption fee
- Spay or neuter treatment
- Dog food
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, crate, fence, ID tag, dog bed, toys)
The list goes on as you would need to factor in the monthly and annual checkups, vaccination, flea prevention treatment, heart-worm medication, grooming sessions, training classes, doggie daycare, and more.
Owning a dog is one of the most wonderful experiences as they will shower you with unconditional love and kisses. Do keep in mind that dogs are a huge commitment as they trust and rely on you completely. Make sure that you are ready for the years of commitment to come before you bring a fluffy friend to their furever home.