What Should You Consider Before Adopting a Rescue Dog?

According to the ASPCA, an average of 6.5 million companion pets enter shelters in the U.S. each year. Of those animals, 3.2 million are adopted, including 1.6 million dogs.

Adopting a rescue dog as a pet is noble because it provides a pet with a home. However, it is important for you to think through several things carefully before you adopt a dog from a shelter.

Take Your Time Making a Decision

Before you adopt a dog, it is important for you to think about adopting thoroughly. A dog will become a part of your family, so it’s important that everyone in your home is on board with your idea of adopting a new pet. You should also think about whether you have room for a dog. If you rent your home, your landlord will need to give the okay for getting a new pet.

With that said, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself before adopting a dog:

  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • Do you have a yard?
  • When you are not at home, will anyone be home to let the dog outside?
  • Does your family also want a dog?
  • Do you have time to train a dog?

Not all rescue pets have temperament problems. However, being in a shelter can still be traumatic for a dog. A new rescue pet will need time to adjust and will likely need training to correct bad habits that it may have picked up while it was in the shelter. Think about whether you have the time to train your dog and to help it to become more comfortable in your home before you decide to adopt.

Do Your Research on Local Shelters

If you think that you want to adopt a rescue dog, it is important for you to research the different shelters in your area. You’ll want to choose one that has a good reputation and is known for providing good care to the animals that are held there.

Some of the questions that you should ask yourself include the following:

  • Is the shelter a no-kill shelter?
  • How does the shelter keep its animals?
  • Does the shelter have a good reputation?
  • What is the atmosphere at the shelter?
  • Does the shelter spay and neuter the pets and vaccinate them?
  • Does the shelter have the type of dog that you are looking for?

While you can look at most shelters’ websites to see photos of animals that they have available, not all of their pets will be listed on the websites. Therefore, it is best for you to go visit the shelter during visiting hours to get a better idea of the dogs that are housed there and of the facility itself.

Can You Afford a Pet?

Adopting and caring for a rescue dog can be expensive. You need to be aware of all of the expenses that are associated with pet ownership.

You will likely have to pay an adoption fee at the shelter. In many cases, shelters will charge you for spaying or neutering your new dog and for giving it a rabies shot. Microchipping your dog may be an additional option. In addition to these costs, you should plan to take your pet to your veterinarian for a thorough checkup and for the remaining vaccinations it needs within a week of adopting it.

After you have taken your adopted dog home, there will be ongoing costs that you need to be prepared for. One study of people who relinquished their dogs and cats at animal shelters found that the costs of pet maintenance were among the top 10 reasons cited for giving the pets up.

You will need to purchase dog food, dog dishes, and a dog bed. Like children, dogs need toys and things to play with. If you don’t have toys, a rescue dog may chew up your shoes or other items.

You will likely need to train your dog. If you do not have the time to train it, you may need to pay a professional dog trainer to help the dog unlearn bad habits it may have picked up while it was living in the shelter. Dogs will also require flea and tick treatment every month.

All these costs can quickly add up, so think about your budget and whether you can truly afford to add a dog to your family.

Be Prepared to Put the Time In

If you decide to proceed with adopting a rescue dog, you need to be ready to put in some time to help your dog adjust. When you adopt a rescue animal, there is an emotional investment involved. Your dog will be a part of your family for its life, so it is important that you help your dog to bond with you.

You should plan to attend dog training classes. Obedience classes can help your new dog learn the types of behavior that are expected of it. Attending a dog training class together can also help you and your dog to bond. This can also help to prevent problematic behaviors in the future.

Choosing to adopt a rescue pet can be rewarding. However, it is important for you to think carefully about your decision before you move forward with it. Researching on the Internet might help you to learn more about what to expect in the adoption process as well as how to prepare yourself, your family, and your home for your new dog.

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