Few things exist in life that are as rewarding as adopting a furry best friend, but it is at least a decade-long commitment with multiple factors to consider. Countless dogs go to shelters each year because the parents didn’t fully consider all aspects of dog ownership including time and money commitments, as well as other family members. If you are considering adopting a dog, the first step is determining if you would make a good owner. Since dogs come in all shapes and sizes, with different personalities and needs, doing your homework also determines the best match dog for you and your family.
Keep reading to better understand how to get your family ready for a dog!
Find a Vet
If you have determined that adoption is possible, you want to find a vet in the area with good reviews. Remember, if you decide to adopt a young pet, you will need to bring your puppy or kitten into the vet for vaccines every three-to-four weeks until he’s 16 weeks old. The best way to find a new vet is to ask around for personal recommendations or search through review sites. Since you are planning to adopt a dog, you want to find a vet with expertise in treating dogs and ensure they are licensed. When speaking to the vet, ask about their approach to medicine and pets, as well as wellness and prevention issues.
Think Through Your Finances
As of January 2019, American households owed a total of $9.12 trillion in mortgage debt. Therefore, if you have a significant amount of debt then it is wise not to take on a smaller mouth to feed. In addition to the regular adoption fees, which can cost as much as $500 per pet, there is the standard yearly cost associated with dog ownership, which is at least $650. These costs include heartworm prevention, food, and flea and tick medications but do not include emergency vet visits, dog walkers, and pet-sitting services. Experts recommend that new dog owners have at least $1,000 readily available for medical emergencies. Serious injury is incredibly expensive, regardless of where you live.
Talk with Your Spouse or Coparent
With a 41% divorce rate for first marriages in the U.S., adding a furry friend gives you and your partner a bonding opportunity that could help strengthen any relationship. However, before adopting a dog, take a long look at your current circumstances. Understand who else will be sharing the space with your dog which could be a roommate, other pets, kids, parents, grandparents, or friends. Does this other individual have a pet who has lived healthfully and peacefully with other dogs before?
In some instances, dogs are returned to a shelter after being in a home for a while because a family member learns that allergies have developed due to pet exposure, and they do not take the correct steps to manage the issue. Another reason the dog may be returned is they have a toy or food guarding issue that was not evident during the meet and greets. If any of these situations are the case, then you are not ready to adopt.
In addition to potential issues with a family member or other pet, it is important to discuss the timing implications with your spouse. Some adoptions require more training than others which is a greater time commitment. Similarly, if you work long hours then it is unfair to your dog to be alone for long periods. If you cannot be home for lunch, then you should consider hiring a dog walker. These are some of the most important discussion points to have with your spouse to ensure the family can fully commit to the dog’s needs.
For first-time dog guardians, if you can afford a pet and do not have any foreseeable issues with kids, family, friends, roommates, or other pets then you are ready to adopt a dog. Pet ownership is a major time and financial responsibility that pays back the countless rewards throughout the life of your pet. Now all that remains is finding the best dog for you and your family!