Guide: Tips for adopting a dog

When adopting, you are making a commitment to care for a furry friend for the rest of his/her life.

Sandrina Rodrigues

Jul 31, 2023, 8:30 AM

Updated 350 days ago


Are you ready to adopt a dog? 
When adopting, you are making a commitment to care for a furry friend for the rest of his/her life. 
Below are tips to help you make a ‘paw-fect’ decision:

Personalities are important

Just as we each have our own personality, so do dogs. Adoption counselors can offer advice to help you match the dog’s personality with your own. If there are young children in your home, a puppy may not be your best bet. You may want to consider adopting a medium-sized dog over five months of age, according to ASPCA.

Pick out a vet

Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption. You’ll want to take any medical records you received from the adoption center on your first visit. Don’t forget to have your new friend spayed or neutered.

Prepare everyone in the house

Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a dog before it comes home. Visiting the shelter or animal control facility should be a family affair. When adopting a new dog with existing pets at home, discuss with the adoption facility how to make a proper introduction. HERE are some tips on how to successfully introduce two dogs, and HERE how to introduce dogs to cats. Go slowly when introducing your dog to new friends and family. It can take several weeks for a pet to relax in a new environment. 

Draw up a schedule

It is a good idea to draw up a schedule of who in the family will help with the care of your new dog, including walking, playing, feeding and grooming.

Socialization is key

Socialization is the key to a happy and confident dog. All puppies should be enrolled in a puppy class where part of the time is devoted to monitored play with other dogs. 

Manners classes

Basic manners classes can help adult dogs brush up on their skills or learn new ones. But be patient, training often takes time.

Budget for the costs of a dog

Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a dog. Any pet is a responsibility, and there’s a cost associated with that. Stock up on supplies before the dog arrives - Dogs need leashes, collars, ID tags, and more. Be prepared so your new dog can start feeling at home right away. Here's a general list of supplies for dogs from the ASPCA.

Dog-proof your home

Make sure your home is safe before adopting. A new dog will quickly teach you not to leave things lying out. Tightly seal your garbage cans, pay attention to dangerous decorations during the holidays. Keep toxic foods, pet-unfriendly plants and dangerous household items out of paw's reach. 

Emergency plan

Be sure to include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan. You probably have a plan in place for getting your family to safety in case of an emergency. Adjust this plan to include your pets. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and closest 24-hour animal hospital to your “in-case-of-emergency” call list.

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