Adopting a dog can be a fulfilling experience for both the pet and the owner. According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters every year, and of those, approximately 3.1 million are dogs. Adopting a dog from a shelter not only provides a home for a dog in need, but also frees up space in the shelter for another dog.
However, before you make the commitment to bring a new furry friend home, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. If you’re interested in rescuing a pup, you can find all the information you need, including reputable shelters and rescues, with an online search right now.
Finding the Right Breed (or Mix of Breeds)
One of the first things to consider before adopting a dog is the breed or mix of breeds. Different breeds have different characteristics and requirements, so it’s important to choose one that fits your actual lifestyle, not what you aspire to.
For instance, if you lead a very active lifestyle and go for a daily run, you might consider adopting a working breed that has high energy levels, such as a border collie. On the other hand, if you have a calmer, more “couch potato” lifestyle, a low or medium energy breed might be a good fit, such as a greyhound or a bulldog. Keep in mind that every breed requires exercise and mental stimulation, regardless of energy level.
It’s also important to note that a breed’s popularity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best breed for you. Take the time to research different breeds and their traits to find the one that fits your lifestyle and personality best.
Consider Your Living Situation
Before adopting a dog, it’s important to think about your living situation. Do you live in a house with a yard, or in an apartment or condo? If you live in an apartment, you’ll want to look for a breed that doesn’t require a lot of space to run around and isn’t typically vocal, as this might warrant complaints from your neighbors. On the other hand, if you have a house with a yard, you might be more willing to adopt a dog that needs more space to roam and play.
It’s also important to consider any rules or regulations that your landlord or homeowners association might have regarding pets. Some places may have restrictions on the size or breed you can own, so it’s important to make sure you’re in compliance with any rules before adopting a dog.
Time and Finances
Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibilities, including feeding, grooming, exercising, and providing vet care. According to the American Kennel Club, the lifetime cost of owning a dog ranges between $14,000 and $16,000 USD, depending on the size and life expectancy of your pup.
You’ll also need to be prepared to spend time and money training your new dog. Training is important not only for teaching your dog basic commands, but also for building a strong bond between you and your pet. It’s important to be patient and consistent with training, and to understand that it’s an ongoing process that requires dedication and commitment. Most well behaved dogs are “made” through training and fulfillment.
Ultimately, it’s important to be realistic about the amount of time you have or are willing to make available to devote to a dog before adopting. Dogs require daily attention and care, from regular potty breaks, one to two walks, socialization, playtime, structured time, training and more. Despite the time and effort required to properly care for a dog, the benefits of having a furry companion are numerous. Research actually shows that dogs make us happier, healthier, and more able to cope in a crisis! Many dog owners find that the work involved in caring for their pet is more than worth it for the joy and enrichment that their furry friend brings to their lives.