Adding a dog to your family is one of the most rewarding things you can do. But it also comes with a lot of responsibility.
That’s why it’s important to consider a few key questions before you adopt. That way, you can be sure to have a great relationship with your new furry friend.
1. Do you have the time?
Adopting a dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience. But it's also a big commitment, and the more you know before you take the plunge, the better off you'll be.
The first step is to determine whether you have the time to commit to a new pet. You'll need to make room in your schedule for grooming, walks and other tasks that are part of dog ownership.
You'll also need to budget for the additional expenses that dogs require – food, vet care, toys and other items. It's also a good idea to have a small savings cushion for unexpected costs.
A great way to figure out if you're ready for a dog is to visit an animal shelter or rescue. They can be a great resource for information about the specific needs of each dog and how to ensure you're adopting the right one for you.
2. Are you ready for the commitment?
When you adopt a dog, you're taking on the responsibility for a living creature that fully depends on you, and promising to care for it for the rest of its life. That's a commitment you can't take lightly -- and it may not be for everyone.
If you're not ready to make that commitment, don't get a dog. They're not just companions who come when you call, they're lifelong friends who require your attention and love every single day.
It's also a big responsibility to make sure your pet gets the care and attention it needs, including exercise, vet visits, food, grooming and training. This can be time-consuming, but it's an important commitment you should make if you're serious about owning a dog.
3. Are you ready for the expense?
If you’re ready to take on the responsibility of adopting a dog, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the expense. There are a few things you’ll need to pay for when it comes to caring for your new companion, including pet insurance, dog food and dog grooming.
Most shelters will charge an adoption fee, which can range from $50 to $300. This fee usually covers vet exams, spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and deworming.
You’ll also want to budget for a microchip, collar and tags. These items are often required by law and can add up to a significant cost, especially if you adopt a puppy or an older pet.
Finally, you’ll want to factor in your time commitment to ensure the pet is well taken care of. Dogs can be demanding, and you’ll have to spend a lot of your time ensuring they’re happy and healthy.
4. Are you ready for the responsibility?
Dogs can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you’ll ever own, but they also come with a lot of responsibility. So before you adopt, make sure that your life is ready to be enriched by a new dog.
You’ll need to be able to give the dog lots of extra attention and care. That includes giving them daily walks, feeding them and taking them to the vet when needed.
Then there’s the time commitment — which is why you should wait until your schedule has settled down a bit before adopting. This includes any big life changes that you may have coming up (like a new baby or relocating).
If your family is not yet ready for the responsibility of adopting a dog, consider fostering first. This is an excellent way to get a feel for what it’s like to have a dog in your life, and helps shelters save more dogs by allowing them to find permanent homes.