Adopting a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have, but it doesn’t come without lots of new responsibilities and preparation. In order to have a smooth adoption, there are a few things you need to consider. Read on for 3 quick tips before welcoming the newest member to your family.
Get ready for a long-term commitment
Adopting a dog is a big decision. Before you proceed with taking on the responsibility of becoming a puppy parent, make sure you are ready. Having a pet is a long-term commitment. Unfortunately many people don’t take this decision seriously, and they return their pets to the dog pound once they realize what it takes to be a responsible owner. This the worst thing that can happen to a dog. Owner surrenders are usually first on the list to be euthanized in the pet shelter.
Think about your lifestyle. Does a dog fit your schedule? Pets don’t enjoy being left alone all day long. It’s not just that they crave company, they also have biological needs. Dogs need to walk, pee and poop. And, don't you forget playtime!
Make sure you choose a dog whose energy level is similar to yours. If you enjoy hiking, running, or being active in general, you need to find a breed that fits your lifestyle. Same goes if you are a couch potato and you enjoy your free time watching TV.
Is your family on board? It is extremely important that everybody is on the same page when it comes to big decisions like this. Dogs can sense if they are not welcome.
There will be times when you won't be available to take care of your pet. Make sure you have help from friends and family members or have the ability to hire professionals to take care of your pooch. Whether it’s walking, feeding or just playing, sharing the responsibility is just easier in today's fast-paced environment.
How is your neighborhood? Are there dog parks and a vet close-by? Are your neighbors dog-friendly? How about their dogs? These are some additional questions you have to ask yourself before heading to the shelter.
Make sure your home is ready for the new family member
Buy all the necessities in advance. You need to have your home ready before your new best friend arrives. Trust me on this, you don’t want to have to run to the pet store every other day to pick up essential gear. I learned my lesson the hard way. Below is the list of basics:
- Food and water bowls
- ID tag
- Poop bags
Make an appointment with your vet!
Visit your vet in the first week after adopting your dog. Bring all medical and vaccine records that you got from the shelter upon adoption. If your dog is not microchipped, this is the time to do it.
Ask lots of questions! It’s important to have a clear understanding of your dog’s health, history and condition.
FYI, many vets offer a free first checkup if you adopt a dog.
In the first few weeks, your new dog will be going through an adjustment period. It can be stressful for both your pet and yourself. Have patience. You probably can't wait to show your cute dog to everybody you know. But, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, a good rule of thumb is to introduce one new person to your dog every day.
Try holding off on going to the dog park the few weeks. It might be a little too much for your pet at first. Everybody needs their alone time, so does your dog. Give him the time to explore his new home and surroundings first.
If you notice symptoms of anxiety, try not to freak out. It is completely normal. Show your furry friend that there is nothing to worry about, and he is in a safe home now. Lesson number one: earn trust! Coming from the shelter, this will be a biggie. Invest your time, the reward is amazing. You will soon learn the meaning of unconditional love.
Lastly, if you can, please avoid buying puppies from a dog breeder.
Ready? Good luck!