Everything You Need to Know About Dog Adoption
Did you know that 60.2 million households in the U.S. own a dog? As social distancing becomes the norm, dog adoption could be one of the few things to keep you sane these days. If you live alone, they can provide excellent companionship in this trying time. And if you have kids, what better way to entertain them then by placing a lovable pooch in their laps?
Rescuing a dog from an animal shelter is very rewarding, but there are things to consider before you adopt a dog. Here we take you through each step of the dog adoption process, from what to consider before adoption all the way up to those first days at home with your new pup.
Initial Costs of Owning a Dog
Adopting a dog is a major life change that requires careful considerations. Perhaps the first to consider is the expenses. Most adoption agencies will give dogs away for free to responsible owners. But there are oftentimes fees that can range from $100 to $300.
If you’re lucky, the pet shelter will have already spayed or neutered your dog as well as given them the necessary vaccines, but make sure to ask and factor it in as another expense if they haven’t. Regardless, a visit to the veterinarian during that first week is a good idea, and you can even find some vets who provide first checkups for free.
Annual Essential Expenses
The annual costs of owning a dog depend on the dog and the owner but can cost anywhere from between $1,400 to $4,300. The basics, of course, include dog food, chewing toys, leashes, collars and a dog bed.
Then, there’s the annual pet visit, which averages about $700 if you have a healthy dog. (Remember: Most dogs cannot be covered by health insurance.)
Other Expenses to Consider
If you adopt a puppy, they may require a bit of house training, which can cost anywhere between $25 to $300. And if you have to get a dog walker or board your dog during workdays or vacations, that expense can add up rather quickly.
If you’re lucky, you can find a local doggy daycare that offers a monthly fee of about $500. But some will charge by the hour, which can be much more costly.
Dog owners can spend anywhere from $250 to $700 each year on dog foods and treats in the U.S. Of course, this expense mainly depends on the size of your dog — i.e., larger dogs will require more food than smaller ones. You can always make your own, which could be a bit cheaper depending on the ingredients you use.
It’s also important to consider all the different types of dog foods — wet versus dry or organic versus nonorganic. Dog food has become such a big industry with so many options that you can even get dog food delivered to your doorstep.
The Needs of Your Dog
After factoring in all of the costs, you’ll want to consider the size and activity needs of your dog.
Is your dog a smaller breed that is excellent at indoor living? Or do they require a large backyard or a running buddy to meet their daily exercise needs?
Next, consider the needs of your family. First and foremost, you want to make sure that all family members are on board with dog ownership, and you want to be on the same page in regard to ground rules about where the dog will be allowed and so on.
If you have young children or infants in your house, you’ll want to get a dog breed that’s great with babies. Also, remember that having a dog is a 10- to 15-year commitment, so factor in your future plans as well.
The Dog’s Primary Caretaker
Just like having a kid, owning a dog requires careful planning, especially if your dog doesn’t have easy access to a backyard. So, who will be the dog’s primary caretaker? Who will be home to feed it, let it outside to go to the bathroom and ensure its needs are being met?
Like kids, dogs need routines and discipline, so setting up a consistent schedule for walking and feeding is something you should do upfront.
As you might have already guessed, bringing a dog into your family can have some pretty remarkable benefits. First, these lovable companions can help with mental health or offer support to those with any disabilities. If you have kids, owning a dog can teach them responsibility.
Studies have also shown that dogs, especially large breeds, can help keep burglars away.
Perhaps the biggest setback for owning a dog would be if someone in your household is allergic. But even then, you can find breeds that are more hypoallergenic than others.
It’s also important to note that some dog breeds are more aggressive or have more behavior problems than others. Even with the most low-key dog, injuries from dogs and dog bites can happen. In fact, there were $796.8 million paid out last year in liability claims related to such injuries. That’s why it’s important to get renters or homeowners insurance, which typically covers between $100,000 and $300,000 for these types of liability claims.
Home Sweet Home
That first couple of weeks at home will be an adjustment for everyone, including your new furry friend. Apart from establishing the previously mentioned consistent schedule, help your dog adjust by making time to bond with your dog. Preferably, pick them up at a time when you can spend three to five days with them to help get them acclimated. Also, make sure to spend a significant amount of time petting and speaking to them in a soothing voice in those first days in order to build trust.
Also, remember that dogs enjoy alone time just like you, so setting aside time for that as well is important. And then, once they’re ready, slowly introduce them to new people and friends outside of the household.
Lastly, you’ll want to come up with a fun name for your pooch if you haven’t already. While you might want to go with something super unique and more personal, here’s a list of the most popular dog names to date.
May we suggest Rocco or Penny?
Whether you’re looking to adopt a dog on National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day (April 30 every year) or just looking to expand your family, there are several dog adoption services available. You can always turn to the Humane Society or your local animal shelter for guidance, but here are some well-known national services you can look to as well.