Adopting a dog is a big decision, make no mistake. Once you make the affirmative determination, adopting a dog is the first step on a longer journey.
Bypassing the expensive breeder and the devastatingly sad puppy mills, (which are now illegal in states like California) is for the good of abandoned dogs everywhere, as adopting a dog often means you are also saving a life.
PETA estimates that “for every dog bought from a pet store or breeder, a dog in a shelter has to be put to sleep.” With so many adorable dogs out there to covet, why not adopt one rather than buying?
If you have your heart set on adding a furry friend to your brood, you’ll need to know a few things about adopting before you set out.
Take Into Account How Much Space You Have
Though you may think you know which breed of dog you are looking for, you may have a change of heart when you go to a shelter or adoption site. Whatever dog you bond with is up to you and your vibes, but take into account where your breed is most likely to thrive.
For example, if you fall in love with a Husky and live in a studio apartment in the city, you might want to rethink how this will affect this breed’s quality of life. The same goes for a breed like a Golden Retriever; they will need plenty of space to run around and exercise. If you live in a house with a yard, then you’ll both be perfectly happy.
Spaying and Neutering Your Adopted Pup
Another major decision you’ll need to make when you adopt is whether to spay or neuter your dog. Most professionals would say yes. If your new addition is a female, their monthly visitor may inhibit their quality of life severely, and it can do the same for yours. That’s a lot of blood, and it’s a lot of diapers to clean up. You’ll most likely want to have them spayed. It’s also better not to have an unexpected pregnancy to worry about if you aren’t interested in having more puppies.
The more immediate issue you would need to worry when it comes to spaying or neutering would be that you’ve already adopted a dog in need, there’s no reason to create even more puppies that will inevitably need homes.
Microchipping – Keeping Track of Your Pup
Microchipping is the new wave collar, but don’t skimp on that either. Your new dog will need a collar, and most likely, a microchip. If you’re unaware of the necessity for a microchip, it is for keeping track of your dog should it run away or somehow become misplaced. A microchip with the owner’s information (address, phone number, etc.) is implanted underneath the dog’s skin, immediately indicating to anyone who finds the dog that he or she is not a stray.
Especially when dealing with a rescue dog, who can at times and according to their history, be temperamental, and a bit skittish, and may be more at risk of running away, having them implanted with a microchip will notify anyone who finds them how to return them safely. This will be a godsend as you always want to be reunited with your missing pet.
If you’ve decided to adopt a dog, they will definitely need to be groomed. Grooming is more than washing and brushing, however. You’ll need to keep up with grooming your new dog’s teeth and nails, too. You may be able to take care of a few of these things yourself, but cutting your dog’s hair and nails are better left to a professional.
According to your dog’s breed, they may need more attention due to the consistency of their coat or if they have especially sensitive skin. If they have a heavy coat of fur, make sure to get them a summer cut when the time comes. Same goes for a breed with short or thin fur, they may need a small jacket in the winter months if it is snowy or icy in your region.
You Are What You Eat
When you adopt a dog, it’s a bit like adopting a child; there are a lot of things you need to keep your eye on. For many rescue dogs, they are excited and maybe even frantic at exploring a new home. You’ll need to keep things that are off-limits for dogs out of reach, that includes choking hazards, chocolate, and other foods and items that are toxic to dogs.
According to your breed and their age, (some rescues only have an age range to go on) you’ll need to identify the best dog food for them. They may also have preferences for kibble or wet food, but that’s entirely up to your dog. You may also be a proponent of organic dog food. Whatever you do, do not overfeed or underfeed your dog. You’ll need to get them on a regular schedule.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Santa will need to bring toys for your dog! Every dog is different, so they might respond to one bone better than the other, or one chew toy to another. Try universally loved toys like squeaky ones and tug-of-war ropes to start. Once you get to know your dog, you’ll get to know their preferences. Playing with your dog is extra important to keep your dog happy and engaged.
Exercising With Your Dog
Exercise isn’t only essential for you too; it’s important for your dog. You’ll need to walk your dog at least three times a day, maybe more if your dog needs lots of activity, or if you live in a more crowded space. The good news for your dog if you have a big yard is that they will have a ton of room to run and play at all hours. Regardless, exercise will be the best thing for your dog’s health in the long run.