What to Consider Before Adopting a Dog

Adopting a dog can be a complicated and absorbing process. Here are some things to consider before making the leap.

Dog looking upward at foreground with ears perked up

Adopting a dog gives her a second chance to get the love she deserves.

Dog adoption is not only a great way to introduce a new furry family member to your household, but also to give a second chance to a dog that may not be getting the love it deserves. It’s important not to jump into the decision to adopt though. There are a lot of different factors that can determine what the right adoption situation is for you. Before you adopt a dog, you should consider these factors:

  • Type of Dog: With twenty million dogs going to shelters every year, there are always plenty of dogs available for adoption, including nearly every type of canine imaginable. Many people think that only old, abandoned dogs end up in shelters, but it is also very easy to find puppies that don’t have a home. You should consider whether you want to adopt a puppy, which will be more work earlier on, or an adult dog, which will probably be calmer, but around your family for less time. Another consideration as to the type of dog you want is the breed. A wide variety of breeds are always available at shelters, from small to large dogs. If you are looking for a specific breed, rescue associations exist for many different breeds. These organizations dedicate themselves to saving and finding homes for certain breeds, and can be very useful tools for dog adoption.
  • Behavioral Issues: It is often the case that dogs are put up for adoption or abandoned because of problems with their behavior. When you are looking at dogs to adopt, make sure you get along with the pet in question. Talk to the previous owner or shelter employees and ask about any issues with the dog. Ask if you could take him out for a walk to see how he reacts. Even if the dog isn’t perfectly trained, though, it’s not an irresolvable issue. Just know that you will have to be cautious yet firm when training your new dog. Obedience classes and quality time together help this process.
  • Children: If you have children, you should make sure the dog you are going to adopt is kid-friendly. When examining potential pets, bring your kids along, and see how prospective dogs interact with them. If the dog does not get along with your children, he is probably not the dog for you. Also, make sure you are choosing a dog that isn’t scary to your children. In addition to them being scared, a skittish child will make an adopted dog more nervous.
  • Health: One important aspect of dog adoption to consider is the health of the dog. Before committing to a dog, you should make sure you know about the dog’s medical history. Ask the shelter employees or previous owners about any injuries, diseases, or other medical issues. Also, make sure the dog has been checked for worms. Don’t fret if the dog doesn’t look in tip-top shape, though. Regular, attentive care will help reverse many health issues.