Are you thinking of adding another member to the family? Adopting a rescue dog is a big one, yet a fulfilling one for many reasons. For one thing, adopting means saving a dog’s life. Every year, approximately 3,300 dogs are euthanised in New Zealand due to the increase of pets needing shelter, negligent owners and not enough people adopting.
Adopting also means adding fun and entertainment to the house. On top of all the happy, positive things having a pet dog brings, it also means added responsibility.
Becoming a pet parent is quite intimidating, but we’re here to transform it into a smooth-sailing process. In this article, we will dive into the many factors and considerations you need to keep in mind before adopting a dog from the shelter.
If you are ready to plunge into the pet parenthood life, make sure to read further!
The right breed for your lifestyle
More often than not, people usually have the impulse to scoop up the cutest dog they see in the shelter. However, it is essential not to let your feelings get the best of you. Choosing the right breed for you is like picking the right partner for you—your dog of choice must be well-thought-of and should match your lifestyle.
Say, for example, you live alone in a small apartment. A big dog such as a German Shepherd or a Labrador is not the perfect match for you since there is not enough space in your home. A small dog such as Maltese may be great for families with kids but may appear too timid to outdoor enthusiasts.
The first task is evaluate your personality, your life situation, and your home. Do you prefer lounging indoors or getting worked up outdoors? Do you spend most of the day in or out of the house? Is your home conducive to the type of dog you are planning on getting? Ask yourself these questions to give you a great head start.
Your financial capabilities
At first glance, new dog owners might only see the surface-level of dog expenses, such as food, shampoo, leash, and accessories, however, they are only some of the many necessities.
You see, taking care of a dog can include a lot of the responsibilities of caring for a child. A pet parent needs a budget for monthly food, annual checkups, medicine, and emergency vet visits. Take a realistic perspective on your budget—will it suffice to pay for your family’s needs now that you have a new addition at home? Don’t adopt if you can’t afford it. Wait until you can finally afford to give a dog the extraordinary life he deserves.
Are you or any family member allergic to dogs? Don’t assume if you have no idea. Before adopting your first-ever dog, get yourself and your family tested by an allergist to be sure. If any of the family suffers from mild dog allergies, it’s best to adopt a dog with a curly or wiry coat, as dogs with these coat types rarely cause allergies. You may also want to consider adopting hypoallergenic dogs, which refers to canines that are less likely to instigate allergies in people, such as Afghan Hound, Basenji, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, and Maltese.
Puppy-proof your home and yard
Before your furry friend arrives home, make sure to keep your household puppy safe to prevent him from getting access to anything that may jeopardise his health.
For starters, unplug electrical cords and move them out of your dog’s reach. These chewing hazards can cause electrical shock and, worse, burns to the mouth. Keep hazardous, chemical-laden supplies in high cabinets to avoid getting affected by the vapours of chemicals.
In the yard, don’t forget to secure rubbish bins, which are notorious for their strong smell that attracts puppies. Get rid of poisonous plants so your dog can’t chew on them. In NZ Karaka Tree berries can be fatal, for a list of other poisonous plants click here.
Your new, adopted dog needs love, safety, and attention, and all of these lie in your hands. It’s a big responsibility, but most definitely fulfilling.
Mike loves dogs and writing great things about them on his website, Dog Embassy. He and his lovely dogs hail from the beautiful city of Los Angeles, California.