Before You Adopt a Dog

shelter dogBringing home a new dog is something to celebrate. You can make the transition for both of you much more pleasant if you make sure that you’re ready for a new dog before you purchase or adopt one.

Prepare the Household

If you live alone, then this is an easy step. If you don’t, make sure your housemates or family are all on board with the idea of a new dog and understand the responsibilities of pet ownership. A dog will need to be walked on a dog leash, bathed, fed properly, played with and cared for. All members of the household should understand the dog’s needs and the part they’ll play in providing for the pet.

Understand the Cost

A new dog can be expensive. First, there’s the cost to adopt or purchase the dog from a breeder. But you need to factor in the cost of spaying or neutering, vet visits for routine care and vaccinations, occasional unplanned vet visits if your dog becomes ill, grooming, pet day care if necessary and food. There are also things to purchase like a dog harness, leash, collar, dog bowls, dog toys, a dog seat belt restraint and other items.

It’s also a good idea to budget a little extra, at least at first, to replace anything that becomes damaged or ruined. Sometimes puppies make potty messes or chew things up. Either can require some expense to fix. If your budget really doesn’t allow for the expense of owning a dog and caring for it properly, you should reevaluate whether you’re ready to own a dog right now.

Dog Leash Training and Other Obedience Issues

leash trainingCost isn’t the only factor to consider. Pets require a lot of time, especially in the beginning. Housetraining, dog leash training and keeping the dog from bad behavior in the house like scratching up the furniture and chewing will take some time and patience. It’s important to make sure you’re ready for the time commitment.

This includes knowing where you’ll go for dog leash training and exercise, as well as where you’ll take the dog to potty. If you live in a building where paper-training is necessary, budget for the cost of potty pads and cleaning supplies that will be necessary. You will still need to take your dog on regular walks for exercise. If you’re not able to, you should find someone who will do it for you. Some areas have dog walking services and day care.

Prepare for Change

If you can afford the dog supplies and healthcare, have the space for a dog and the time to spend with one, then its’ a matter of deciding which type of dog is best for you and your lifestyle. Once you determine that, you’re ready to bring a dog into your home. Have fun with your new friend!