With overcrowded shelters across the country, and many unwanted pets being put down, adopting a dog can be one of the best ways to find that lifelong companion. There are many things one should consider before adopting a dog. Remember the average lifespan of a dog is 10-15 years so making the lifelong commitment for you and your family and should be well thought out and researched. The following tips will help guide you through the decision and know what to look for.

Are you ready for the responsibility?

With a pet comes a lot of responsibility and the original upfront cost of purchasing a dog is just the start. There will be onetime items like a leash, crate, kennel or fencing that can add up to quite a bit the first year. Then you will have recurring costs like food, medical care, flea control etc. that can be up to $1000 a year.

Dogs not only cost a bit but they also require a lot of care. A high spirited active dog, for example, needs about 20 – 30 minutes of play twice a day.  In a family where both adults work outside the home and the children are younger it can be pretty difficult to find the time needed to give the new member of your family the attention they need. Take this into account when choosing the breed and age of the dog you are looking to adopt.

Choosing the right pet…

A dog will tend to take on the characteristics of their new family and especially the one they regard as the leader of the pack. Match up your personality, energy level and lifestyle with a breed that matches your family’s. If you are an older retired couple then a high energy terrier might not be the best choice. Also the smaller toy breeds might not be the best choice for a family with younger playful children.

You will also want to check your local neighborhood and see how well your new pet will fit in. Are there any restrictions by a homeowners association or landlord that might limit what breed you can get? Will you have enough room and space for the size of dog you are looking to get? Some dogs will do great in a small apartment where others will start to feel confined and develop anxieties.

Get to know your new family member!

The process of adopting should be an enjoyable experience and done with the whole family. With so much involved in caring for your new pet it is going to be a team effort and everyone should be on board with the decision. If adopting from a shelter be sure you to take the dog out for some play time to see how they interact and behave outside of a cage. Learn as much as you can about your new pet… what age, what breed(s), what kind of living environment were they in before?

Once you get your pet home take the time to introduce them to the new environment and get them familiar with their new family. Pet proofing should be done before adopting but there may still be areas or rules you want them to follow so plan on taking the time to train them. Training classes can be found relatively inexpensive considering the long term rewards. Your pet will pick up on any stress they cause you and it will reflect in their behavior.

Owning a pet can be one of the most gratifying and rewarding gifts life can offer you. As long as you starts things off correctly you can be sure a lifetime of unconditional love and enjoyment for the entire family.

Specialist Roger

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