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What You Need to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Dog

Introducing a new dog into your life always seems like a great idea, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s the right time to adopt. Before adopting, it’s important to be prepared with both your finances and your lifestyle, and the decision definitely should not be one that’s made on a whim. Wondering what you need to know before adopting a dog for your family? Keep reading to find out.

What size dog is appropriate?

Generally, puppies and toy-sized dogs are not recommended for children aged 7 years or younger. Puppies tend to have sharper teeth and nails, possibly resulting in accidental injury to a child, while toy-sized dogs are usually sensitive animals who don’t respond well to being handled in a clumsy or rough demeanor. If you have a young child and feel that you can handle the addition of a new dog into the household, consider adopting a medium to large sized dog over the age of 5 months. This is the age where a dog has usually transitions from puppyhood to doghood. At the other end of the spectrum, if you have elderly or frail individuals living in your household, consider adopting a smaller dog that has less energy. In households like these, adopting a senior dog can also be a great choice, as they tend to be less rambunctious.

Are you financially prepared?

Money is something a lot of people overlook when making the decision to adopt a dog, but believe us when we say that dog ownership comes with major financial responsibility. You’ll need to account for all of the initial costs which include adoption fees, initial veterinary care, supplies like a crate, toys, food and water dishes, treats, and food itself. In the long run, you’ll need to be prepared to spend money on regular vet checkups, boarding or dog sitting when you go out of town, and the inevitable emergency trips to the vet when they get into something they shouldn’t or begin to have health issues like arthritis. None of these things come cheap, and if you can’t afford them you should think about whether or not this is the right time to adopt.

Who will take care of the dog?

Many times people adopt a dog because they want to get a pet for their child, only to decide they can’t spend the time and energy needed to care for an animal. This leads to countless dogs being brought back to shelters each year through no fault of their own. At a minimum, one person in the household needs to ensure that the dog is being walked, fed and exercised enough. The truth is, you cannot rely on your child to be the primary caretaker of the dog, and if you or your other family members are not willing or able to commit to taking care of the dog, then you may want to reconsider adoption.

Can you keep up with health and grooming?

As mentioned before, you’ll need to make sure you can keep up with your dog’s health, and that includes more than just an annual trip to the vet. Your dog will need regular flea, tick and parasite prevention. All three of these can lead to health issues, including Lyme disease and heartworm. Grooming is also important for more than just aesthetic reasons. Regular baths and brushing prevent matting and help increase circulation to the dog’s skin. Keeping their nails trimmed is also a must, as this prevents snagging and prevents issues with their gait if their nails get too long to interfere with walking. Also, brushing your dog’s teeth is a must. Plaque and tartar buildup on a dog’s teeth can be ingested when they swallow, which has been shown to lead to heart disease. All of these things can be taken care of by you at home, but almost all groomers or veterinary offices can take care of them for a fee as well.

Are you ready for unconditional love?

Dog ownership can be daunting, especially if you’re considering adopting a dog for the first time. While there are a ton of financial responsibilities and lifestyle choices that need to be taken into consideration, it’s also important to remember that when you get a dog your gaining a best friend. Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue is one of the most rewarding experiences. You’re giving a dog a second chance at life and a loving forever home. Just remember that their lives are short compared to ours, so providing them with the best care possible and showing them love and affection is of the utmost importance.