Thinking About Adopting a Dog? Our List
Bringing home a new dog from an animal shelter is a special kind of feeling. You’ve given this animal another chance at living a happy and fulfilling life and you should be extremely proud of yourself. While it’s an exciting time in your life, there are many things you should do to make the experience as easy as possible. Being prepared will set you up for success in the long run and to help, we’ve created a list of five simple things to do if you’re thinking about adopting a dog.
Know the costs
Ahead of adopting a dog, beware that there are a lot of expenses and while some of them are one-time only, many of them are recurring. Adopting a dog can range from $250 to $500 in Canada but the good thing is, this covers spaying/neutering. In addition to that, you will need to get your dog’s vaccinations, pet license and microchip. These essentials can cost up to $600, depending on if your pooch is a puppy and if they are already up to date on their shots. Next, you’ll need to consider the products and gear needed such as pet food, leashes, collars, treats, poop disposal bags, beds, shampoos and more. Again, you must consider things like if your dog requires pee pads or if they are already potty trained, if your dog will spend some of their time in a crate or not, if they have specific dental requirements and more. Once you know what dog you’re bringing home, you will get a better sense for what recurring expenses you will run into.
Ask yourself if this breed is right for you
You’ve visited the animal shelter and have your heart set on one dog, amazing! But have you asked all the necessary questions to help set yourself up for success? The first step is researching the breed of the dog. Is this animal going to suit your lifestyle? Are you apartment living? Do you enjoy strenuous hikes and want a hiking buddy? These types of things matter because all breeds are extremely different, and some won’t coincide with your lifestyle. Once you’ve decided that the breed of the dog you’re looking at is indeed what you’re looking for, you need to learn about the dog’s history.
Get to know the dog before bringing them home
Ask the shelter about where the dog came from and why the previous owner may have surrendered them, if that applies. If the dog was a stray, where were they found and did they have any medical or health issues? Get a feel for the overall condition of the dog when they arrived at the shelter and if there are any continuing health problems that you need to be aware of. You should also talk to the shelter about the dog’s behaviours, if they are house trained and if they get along well with other pets, children or people in general. It’s no secret that some dogs who come from shelters may struggle from complex issues but ask yourself if this dog is something you’re willing to take on. If the answer is yes, congratulations on your newly adopted pooch!
Get your house ready for them before they get there
If you’re new to owning a pet, some things might catch you by surprise after they’ve arrived at your home. Even if you’re bringing home a fully-grown dog, the term ‘puppy-proofing’ still applies. You’ll want to move any hazards or toxic materials out of reach from your pup, including houseplants, cleaners and human food. When you’re not around, dogs can always get into things they’re not supposed to. Dedicate a specific room in your home to store things that my harm them and ensure they cannot access it by keeping it in an enclosed area or by using childproof latches to keep cabinets closed.
Understand that this is a lifelong commitment
Adopting a dog is a massive commitment and sometimes people don’t realize that until after they’ve brought home their pooch. Shelters unfortunately see many people return dogs for a variety of reasons – one being that people do not realize the amount of work it takes to care for a dog. Make sure you are completely ready to take on this job and to provide a healthy and happy life for your dog. This includes proper exercise, living arrangements and finances. Maybe you’re excited to bring home a young puppy, but you haven’t thought about the dog’s golden years and the responsibilities that holds. If you’ve prepared yourself with these steps, adopting a dog should be a lot easier.