The Big Guide to Adopting or Rescuing the Right Dog for Your Family

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Choosing a dog for adoption is exciting. You’re growing your family, and whether you’re rescuing a dog from a shelter or adopting a puppy, there is a lot to consider.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. In this article, we’ll help sift through all the decisions required in adopting a dog by looking at what kind of canine is best for you and what you’ll need to know throughout the process.

Why Do You Want to Adopt a Dog?

Before you do anything, think through your personal motiviations for rescuing or adopting a dog. Do you want a dog to play with your young children? Do you simply want some quiet company, perhaps a lap dog, or a companion for your daily strolls? Is the dog going to have a job: therapy, herding, hunting, protecting, etc? Are you looking for a running partner? As you consider Adopting a dog, answering these questions will help you select the correct size and breed of dog. Consider your expectations of your dog when selecting the right canine companion. Do NOT select a dog purely on looks.

Are You Ready for the Responsibilities of Adopting a Dog?

Adopting a dog is a big responsibility. Ask yourself the following questions, and answer them honestly. Evaluate your current life situation, and determine if you can appropriately provide for a dog.

  1. Is your home large enough to comfortably house a dog? Dogs should never be expected to live their lives confined to one small area, such as a single room or a crate.

  2. Do you have enough free time to provide a dog with the attention he needs? More than eight hours alone is not advisable for most dogs.

  3. Will you be willing and able to provide a dog with ample exercise every day? Most dogs need at least one hour of exercise each day.

  4. Will other pets and members of the family be comfortable with having a dog? Allergies, phobias and dislikes of dogs, and nervous or ill pets are things to consider before adopting a dog.

  5. Are you willing to provide a home, medical care, and appropriate nutrition for the duration of a dog’s life? A dog is not disposable; he is a lifelong commitment.

  6. Are you able to financially afford annual checkups, spay/neuter, vaccines, heartworm and flea prevention, emergency room visits, quality dog food, and any other needed pet supplies? A puppy’s care costs about $640 to $1,125 in his first year. Routine maintenance of an adult dog costs about $440 – $775 per year. You may also want to consider insurance for your dog to prevent against unexpected vet bills.

  7. Are you willing to handle the normal frustrations that come with having a dog (e.g. barking, house-training, accidents in the home, chewing, shedding, etc.)? No dog is perfect.

  8. Are you willing to spend time on a consistent basis helping your dog to be obedient, socialized, and well-mannered? A polite dog will be more enjoyable and easier to handle in public.

Finding the Best Dog for You

When adopting or rescuing a dog, how do you find the best dog for you?

Selecting the right dog can be a tough choice. There will probably be many dogs tugging at your heartstrings, and you will want to take them all home. Don’t forget to use both your heart AND your brain when making the decision.

How will you know which dog is perfect for you? It’s a personal decision. Most people just know it when they’ve found the right one. Some people let the dog choose them; others look for the quiet dog that is sitting off by himself. Often the way the dog advertises himself is indicative of the personality he will have after you adopt him. Sometimes, it takes getting the dog out of that stressful situation and into your peaceful home before he shows his true colors.

When you’re looking for your dog, be patient. Don’t make a quick decision and take the first dog you see. If there’s a bond between you and a dog, you will feel it.

Selecting the Right Dog Size

Before selecting your desired breed, think about what size will be appropriate. A very small dog is generally not safe around small children. Children may be too rough with the dog and cause injury. Small breed dogs also get underfoot easily, so they may not be appropriate in a busy household. Small dogs are great for the elderly or for a small, quiet family who is looking for a lap dog. They are also a good option for someone who lives in an apartment and doesn’t have space for a larger dog.


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