Many of us would like to have a pet dog or puppy. And many of us just rush into this without thinking thing over. As a result many dog and puppies end up in shelters because their pet parents realized that there is a lot of responsibility and work involved. So before you dive into pet parenting you should ask yourself a few questions to see if you and your family are ready to have a dog in your lives. Here are the important points to consider before getting that pet dog or puppy.
Prepare Yourself To Adopt A Puppy or Dog
There is a huge commitment of money, energy, and time when you get a dog or a puppy. It is vital that you make absolutely sure that you are completely ready before bringing a new pet into the home. When adopting a dog keep in mind that there is a huge difference between adopting a puppy, and adult dog, or a senior dog.
Puppies have a higher cost associated with them. You'll need to consider the cost of vaccinations as well as the cost of spaying or neutering them when they are around six months of age. And, unless you are a do-it-yourselfer, there is also the cost of training and socialization classes. But the costs don't stop there. You will also have to purchase new equipment like bowls, toys, leashes, collars, and more. Plus there is a lot of time input involved. Puppies constantly require stimulation and play time. Then there's the higher risk of health problems while a puppy is growing up. Since puppies don't have a well-developed immune system until they are about two years old there is a constant risk of them contracting an illness or virus which can be very costly at the vet's office. And, as with all puppies, they will, at times, do their business on the floor, the bed, couch, and in your shoes (surprise daddy! I left you something in your shoe!).
With adult dogs there is basically a lower start-up cost associated with them. All adult dogs that you will find at a shelter are completely up to date with their vaccines. They are also well socialized as the people at shelters and rescue groups work hard to make the dog adoptable which increases the dog's chances of being adopted and not euthanized. However, adult dogs do require more exercise than a puppy and they also require mental stimulation in the form of dog games and sports or learning to do various tricks. If you are a busy person it might be necessary to hire a dog walker or register your dog with a doggie daycare center. If you travel a lot then you will absolutely need a pet sitter.
Senior dogs have a more relaxed existence. They come with the attitude that they have done and seen it all so they usually don't require constant attention to control their behavior. The downfall is that they are aging quickly and this usually results in increased health issues that you will have to deal with. These dogs don't have much time left on Earth but the time that they do have is always quality time. These dogs are usually best for senior adults as they become attached to people more quickly and they have a much lower energy level than either puppies or younger adult dogs. Just be prepared that you will have to say goodbye to a senior dog within a few short years.
Is Your Home and Family Ready To Adopt A Dog?
Once you have fully prepared yourself for adopting a puppy or a dog you need to now prepare your family and home. If you do have a family it is important that everyone is on the same page with getting a pet for the house. Responsibilities will have to be worked out and perhaps a schedule will need to be made. You will have to decide on who will feed the dog, who will give it its baths, who will walk the dog, and so on. And if you have other animals in the house they will need to be prepared for the new family member also. The first step here is to make sure that you other animal(s) are capable of getting along with other animals. Ask your friends who have pets to come and visit with their pets to see how your current pet(s) interact with another animal in the house. Keep in mind that your current pet is going to be territorial with other animals in the beginning. You will have to intervene in any aggressive behavior that results. It is important that you provide an environment where you can make a good first impression when introducing a new animal to the house.
While you are planning on adopting a puppy or a dog you will to decide on the sleeping arrangements for the animals. You will also have to decide on whether the animals are allowed on the furniture or not. And you will have to decide on where the bathroom is for the puppy or adult dog and who will clean up their messes.
It is very important that everybody in the family knows the rules. This will save in the amount of hassles and arguments later. And believe me, there will be times when arguments erupt about the duties involved in taking care of a pet. This is especially true if this is the first time you are adopting a puppy or a dog. Families that already have a pet will still have arguments but they should be few and far between. For more information on preparing yourself and the family in adopting a puppy or a dog read the article Bringing Home Your New Dog.
Deciding On What Kind of Puppy Or Dog To Adopt
Once you have prepared yourself, your family, and your home for a new puppy or dog you now need to decide on the kind of dog or puppy to adopt. There are many things you must think about when choosing a dog or puppy to bring into your home.
The first thing you must consider is the amount of living space available. Is your place big enough for a large dog with lots of energy, or do you need to get a small more mellower dog? Do you have a backyard and is it large enough for a large dog or do you live in an apartment? If you live in an apartment does the building owner have rules regarding pets? If you are considering on adopting a puppy think about how big the dog will be when fully grown in regards to the amount of space you have. I've known several people who had to either give up their dog or upgrade their living arrangements when their adopted puppy grew up.
Don't forget that different breeds of dogs have different needs. Certain breeds require constant medical attention while others may not even see a sick day throughout their whole lives. If your new dog requires constant medical attention prepare yourself for large veterinary bills and consider having your pet insured to offset these costs.
If you constantly have people dropping by your place you should consider getting a dog breed that enjoys meeting new people. Just make sure that the dog is trained not to jump on people as your guests will probably not like that sort of behavior from your dog. If you adopted a puppy you might want to set aside a room, or have fewer guests drop by, so that they won't constantly seek the attention of your guest. This will also keep the puppy from getting hurt by accident.
Mutts often make good choices for adoption as they often have fewer health problems that are related to heredity and inbreeding. They are also usually indifferent when it comes to meeting new people which makes them more relaxed with strangers.
Where Should You Go For Adopting A Puppy Or A Dog?
If you are thinking of buying a dog or puppy from a pet shop or puppy farm don't. Go to your local shelter or rescue group instead. You will get the best dog ever from these places. There are many reasons for getting an adult dog from a shelter that will blow away any myths that you have heard. Most people surrender their dogs for the following reasons:
- While many dogs are surrendered for behavior problems, the vast majority of those problems could have been prevented, and can be treated, with training, attention, and exercise.
- Many dogs are surrendered because of a family’s change in circumstances — a move, financial loss, illness, blending of families — and not because of the dog.
- Some people don’t realize how much time and work puppies, and even adult dogs, require and become fed up with the responsibility.
You will always find a dog that is a good fit for your home at a shelter. All you have to do is carefully evaluate the dog or puppy and introduce it to every person that live in your home.
Shelters are a great place to go as their business is adoption. The dogs in their care are usually from owners who have surrendered them or a stray. Most shelters are partially funded by the city in which they are located but there are some that are completely independent and rely on donations from the public.
There is a wide range of quality and services in a shelter. Most will provide the basics which include basic medical care, training, spay/neutering clinics, and dog walking services. Others are more like a prison holding pen that don't offer any services except to provide food and water to the animals. These I recommend that you stay away from and go to shelters that provide at least the basic services.
Here are some highlights about shelters:
- The population of available dogs usually changes quickly and regularly.
- At the best shelters, the staff takes notes, and sometimes posts them, on how the dog is doing. Some shelters do extensive tests to gauge a dog’s personality and what sort of home would be the best fit. Many more shelters do not, and you’re on your own. (See choosing a shelter dog or puppy.)
- Some shelters allow people to put a hold on dogs they want to adopt. Before you lose your heart to a dog, make sure someone else doesn’t already have a claim on him.
- Some shelters euthanize animals when overcrowded. Many no-kill shelters will only accept dogs believed to be adoptable, i.e., those who don’t have aggression or health problems, and tend to be younger.
- If you’re interested in a dog, make sure you ask how much longer he has at the shelter. That is, do you have a long time to make your decision, or is euthanasia scheduled in two days?
What are rescue groups? These are organizations that take dogs out of the shelters and put them in foster homes or private kennels until a permanent home can be found. Many of these organizations are breed-specific but there are some that cater to any breed of dog or cat. These places also offer better care of the animal compared to the care given in a shelter.
Some highlights of rescue groups:
- Dogs are happier in foster homes than in shelters so it’s easier to assess his personality.
- You can get a good idea of the dog’s temperament and habits from the foster family, since they live with him.
- The dog is not likely to be euthanized, unless he displays a serious aggression or health issue.
- These groups often have adoption events at public places such as pet supply stores, so you can drop by and meet several dogs. If you’re interested in a specific dog you’ve seen on the group’s website, you can ask for that dog to be brought to the event.
Bottom Line On Adopting A Puppy Or A Dog
We've covered a lot of information on adopting a puppy or a dog. However, the bottom line here is that you should completely prepare yourself, your family, and your house before bringing home a fur buddy. After you have completed that step go ahead and visit your local shelters and rescue groups. There are plenty of dogs there, as well as other types of animals, that really need a good home. Don't buy a dog from a pet shop or individual. This adds to the problem of shelters and the humane society as they are trying to eradicate the puppy mills. Also, you never know what you'll get when you but an animal.
I hope that this article was informative and will give you the necessary tools to adopt a new pet. And please leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. And, perhaps, you'll give me some more ideas for future articles on this topic.