Adopt a Dog Month

What to consider before adopting a rescue dog.

October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month. Before you decide on adopting a dog from the shelter, there are a few things you need to consider while keeping the dog’s best interest in mind. Caring for a pet is a huge responsibility and your new pup is going to depend on you to be there for his or her entire life.

 

Before going to the shelter, ask yourself:

Do you have time for a dog?

Most shelter dogs have been given up due to their previous owner’s lack of time. They may not have considered how much time it takes to provide their dog with the love and affection needed, the time that goes into training a dog, giving it the right amount of exercise, or just time for human companionship. Your new pup is going to depend on you, so you need to make sure you are at the point in your life where you can give your new pup the time he or she needs.

Can you afford a dog?

While adopting a dog from the shelter is cheaper, there are a lot of additional costs that you will face throughout the course of your pup’s life. Make sure your wallet can handle visits to the vet, dog food, paying for a pet-sitter if you travel frequently, potential medical expenses, and so on. These bills can easily pile up, so you need to ask yourself: Are you prepared?

Can you have a dog where you live?

Is your current living space pet-friendly? If so, is it an ideal living arrangement for the type of dog you’re looking for? Do your research to make sure your living environment is compatible with your dog’s personality and physical needs. If you live in a cramped NYC apartment, a large, highly energetic dog may not be the best fit for your lifestyle. Choose a breed that is well-matched with both your personality and living circumstance.

After you’ve answered YES to all of these questions, let the fun begin!

 

At the shelter, be sure to:

Spend some time at the shelter greeting dogs.

You want to make sure you get a good feel for each dog’s personality in order to find the right one for you. Take the time to greet each dog you are interested in and spend time evaluating their personalities.

Look for signs of friendliness.

Look at the dog’s body language for signs of friendliness. Dogs are very expressive, so wagging tails, relaxed ears, and an open, smiling mouth are all signs that a dog is happy. A dog’s eyes are also a great indicator of his or her personality. If a dog is relaxed, his or her eyes will look like their normal shape. If a dog stares directly at you for a while, this may be a sign that they feel threatened.

Don’t rule a dog out right away.

If you find a dog that is jumping and barking like crazy, don’t rule him or her out. Shelters can be a stressful environment. Try taking him or her to a calmer area where you can spend some one-on-one time together. He or she will most likely behave differently in a home setting.

Consider your family.

If you have a family of young kids – take careful consideration of the dog’s personality. If you see a dog that is very timid and hiding in the back of the cage, they may not be the right fit for your family. The dog may take a longer time to open up and he or she may feel threatened by young, playful children.

If you don’t have young children:

Don’t rule out a shy dog. They just need some extra love and attention to help break them out of their shell. Ask about the dog’s background to learn more about him or her. He or she may have just arrived at the kennel and could be timid in his or her new surroundings.

Be sure to talk to the staff at the shelter.

Staff members can provide valuable information on a dog’s background, temperament in certain situations, things you need to avoid, as well as any health-related issues. Be sure to spend time asking questions so that you can be well-informed before making a decision.

Be patient.

Remember, adopting a pet is a huge commitment, so don’t just pick one on a whim. If you didn’t find a dog that was the right fit for you, try again another day or visit a different shelter. This dog is going to be a part of your family, so wait for the one that is a perfect match.

Adopt a Dog Month

October 27, 2015

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