Adopting a dog for the first time is both a thrilling and daunting task. While a canine companion is proven beneficial for your mental and physical health, there is more to caring for a four-legged friend than microchipping, daily walks, and kibble.
Unfortunately, many first-time pet parents end up surrendering their dogs when they jump into the responsibility unprepared. Before adopting your first dog, here are a few things you need to consider.
Knowing Your Financial Capabilities
Dogs are not just a welcome family member—they are also an investment. Before you adopt a dog, you’ll want to be financially prepared to care for them.
From medical care to shopping for home and travel essentials, dog ownership can set you back anywhere between $380 and $1,170 a year.
Before deciding to adopt a dog, take a closer look at your current monthly expenses and how much room you can make for food, biannual check-ups, and emergency needs.
Selecting the Right Breed
Adopting a dog that doesn’t align with your activity level can often spell disaster. For instance, if you don’t get regular exercise, adopting a Husky that requires hours of daily activity and moderate sporting won’t make sense.
Similarly, active individuals will want to avoid adopting short-nosed breeds such as pugs or toy variety dogs.
Shopping for Home Essentials
When shopping for your dog, it can be all too easy to fall into a rabbit hole of items your pet doesn’t need. Curate your list according to priority.
For example, your non-negotiables should include:
- A dog bed
- Feeding bowls
- Dry and wet food
- A leash and collar
- A crate
Items such as tug toys and chewable products can come later.
Providing the Appropriate Medical Care
Some breeds are sicker than others. If you’re adopting a snub-nosed dog such as a Boston Terrier or French Bulldog, your pet might be prone to contracting respiratory problems or heart disease.
On the other hand, larger breeds such as Great Danes or German Shepherds might have an increased risk of hip dysplasia and arthritis.
When deciding which breed is most appropriate for your lifestyle, consider their genetic predispositions and what medical conditions you can comfortably maintain and fund.
Considering Your Household
Not every dog is amiable to other pets or younger children. When adopting a dog from a shelter, always consider a professional’s advice. Ask a shelter representative how a particular dog gets along with different types of people and animals—never disregard what they have to say.
More often than not, you will have to adjust to your dog’s given temperament—not the other way around.
Understanding Your Lifelong Commitment
Finally, you’ll need to remind yourself that a dog is a lifetime commitment—adopting them is just the first step. Giving your dog a comfortable and enjoyable life involves dedication, patience, ample room within your budget, and research.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, adopting a dog should be one of the most rewarding decisions of your life. If you are serious about introducing a canine into your family, take the extra time to research a reputable shelter, items you’ll need, and a relevant feeding guide.
About the Author
Mike, the owner of Dog Embassy, is more than just a pet enthusiast. He is committed to providing accessible resources on care, gear, and nutrition for pet owners who need it.