What to know before adopting a dog

By on April 29, 2015

So, you think you’re ready to adopt a new puppy pal? Before you go racing to your local rescue center, humane society, or pet store, there are a few things you should know and consider.

There are many opinions out there about adoption processes, finding the right fit for your family, and making considerations before adopting a dog, but luckily, Pets In Des Moines has done a little research and is ready to share a handful of helpful suggestions with you.

PetFinder has a few suggestions and tips for you before you venture out to find your new best buddy. First, they suggest that you consider the age of all members in your family. A puppy might not work if you have young children. Also, an older dog might have habits that are hard to change and may put a damper on the dog owning experience. The organization also wants you to consider the undertaking that you are about the delve into. Between working adults, kids in school, extracurricular activities, family time, and more, it is important to make sure that time is taken out for Fido. Designation of a member of the family as a “primary caretaker” is important, even though each member of your family will help in the care of your new friend. Lastly, you might want to consider the cost of not only buying the new pet, but the cost of maintaining its health, eating habits, and more. These considerations could help you decide whether to buy from a pet store (they are often most expensive), a rescue operation (also potentially expensive), or a humane society. Humane societies often sell dogs at a low price- even give dogs away- or rely on you to make a donation in order to make the dog yours.

Petside gives you a great look into what it takes to adopt. It isn’t always as simple as going to the store or shelter and asking, “how much is that doggie in the window,” and taking him home. There are often background checks, fees, and other rules about adoption and its process. Read the link provided above to avoid any surprises upon going to pick out your new pet.

From us at Pets In Des Moines, we also have some suggestions and tips you should think about before making the commitment to a dog. First off, remember that getting a dog is not like getting a hamster or a fish. Dogs take hours out of your day, require playtime or exercise, require a fenced in yard sometimes, and cost money to keep them healthy. Consider this- fish often live a few months or a year. Hamsters, gerbils, and other smaller pets stick around for a year or two. Dogs, however, can live up to 20 years. Are you ready to make the commitment that lasts 5, 10, 15 or 20 years? Dogs are not a novelty item or accessory. They require a lot of love, time, and years of care.

Here’s what we would suggest to you:

  • Research breeds and lifespans before you buy- different dogs have different needs. How much time do you have to commit to your dog?
  • Reflect upon past pet experiences. If you’ve had any trouble keeping animals or caring for them, consider what it takes to make the relationship successful.
  • Make sure your living situation is conducive to owning a dog. Many times, people adopt, move, and have other life situations that make it hard to keep pets. If you live in apartments, make sure you are in a dog-friendly place. If you have a house, make sure it is suitable for the dog of your choice. You may need to build a fence (or have a bigger one) in order to keep the dog and your neighbors happy.
  • Understand that you can’t just feed and water the dog to keep it happy. Dogs needs exercise, walk time, special food (sometimes), and extra attention. Adopt a dog that fits your lifestyle and can be cared for properly.
  • Don’t underestimate the “job” that is having a dog. When you adopt a dog, treat it like you would if you were adopting a child. There’s a lot of work that goes into keeping the dog healthy and happy. Only adopt when you are ready and able. Take the husky puppy pictured above, for example. These little (and soon to be big) guys need a thorough brushing multiple times per year to remove the undercoat. Too much fur build up can make them overheat in the summer, so that just means more time out of your days! Be ready to commit!

That is a lot of information to digest, but it really comes down to a decision- are you ready for a dog and can you sustain the preparedness required for owning one? Don’t just GET a dog to GET a dog. It’s a living, breathing, needy little friend. If you are ready, you will be happy- and so will your little friend.

 

About Eric Forrest

Eric Forrest is a student, teacher, writer and dad. He's had 5 dogs, 4 cats, two ducks and a cottontail rabbit he nursed back to health. When he's not writing about pets, he's writing essays, teaching literature, changing diapers and reading short stories.

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