Adopting a new puppy is an important decision and one that you should not make lightly.

Remember that adopting a dog is a commitment that lasts for their entire lifetime. To make sure you are ready for your new pup and aware of the commitment you are making, get the following things done before finalizing the adoption.

1.  Make Sure You’re Ready for a Puppy

The very first thing to think about is whether you are really ready to handle a puppy. Remember that adopting a puppy is not right for everyone. You can also adopt an older dog. It is frequently harder for older shelter dogs to find homes, so adopting an adult or senior could mean giving a dog a chance they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Think about your lifestyle and how having a dog will change it. Can you easily fit several walks a day into your schedule? Is your house reasonably dog-proof? Do you spend most of the day out of your house or a lot of time at home? Could you adjust your schedule so the dog isn’t alone all day?

Once you’ve considered all these factors, you must also research insurance options to cover your puppy’s long-term health needs.

Special Considerations for Puppies

Puppies have the same considerations as adult dogs, plus a lot more. You will have to take puppies outside a lot more often and you will have to deal with potty training them. Do you have the patience to potty train them and clean up the occasional mess until they get the hang of it?

Puppies are also much more likely to wake up in the middle of the night. Maybe you’ll need to get up at night to take him outside for a quick potty break or to play with him.

You also can’t leave puppies alone for more than a few hours. It will take some time to train them how to not be destructive, too. So until they learn, you need to puppy-proof your house and keep them in a crate when you aren’t there.

But you can’t lock a puppy up in a crate all day. Puppies can typically only hold their bladder (and sometimes bowels) for a few hours.

Essentially, if you get a puppy, you should be prepared to clean up potty accidents and deal with some household items getting destroyed. You should be ready to come home in the middle of the day to take them on a walk and maybe wake up in the middle of the night to do the same.

2.  Research Dog Breeds and Personalities

Once you’re sure that you are indeed ready to adopt a puppy, start thinking about the type of dog you want. Remember that adopting means you get your dog from the shelter, so you may not know his background or breed. Even so, you will likely get an idea of his personality from the shelter staff and can frequently guess some of his breed history.

The most important considerations when considering dog breeds include:

  • The dog’s adult size
  • Energy and activity level
  • Coat type
  • Likelihood of breed-specific health problems

3.  Confirm You Can Afford a Dog 

A dog isn’t cheap. Even if you adopt a dog from a shelter for $100 or less, you will still have a lot of costs associated with raising him. Recurring expenses like food and grooming must be included in your budget. You also need to think about vet care and the ability to buy him essentials, such as toys and a crate. According to recent research, the average lifetime cost to raise a dog is over $23k.

If you can’t afford a dog right now, be honest with yourself. You may want to consider fostering or just volunteering at a shelter in the meantime.

4.  Think About Your Pup’s Future Health

Before you adopt a new puppy, take the time to think about how you will take care of his health. This is the time to make sure that you can afford to provide for everything your dog needs for years to come, including food and vet visits. Don’t forget to research insurance options to cover your puppy’s long-term health needs.

5.  Puppy-Proof Your House

As mentioned, puppies are destructive, especially while they are teething. So before you take a puppy home, you should make sure to puppy-proof your house.

At the very least, do the following:

  • Tuck away electrical wires.
  • Lock cabinets.
  • Keep food, toxic chemicals, and medicines out of reach and locked away.
  • Move houseplants up high.
  • Put your garbage bin behind a locked door or choose one with a locking lid.
  • Reorganize so no small items, shoes, or clothes are within reach of your new dog.

6.  Get Your Supplies

You want to be ready to welcome your dog into your house as soon as you go to the shelter to adopt him. This means that you should get the essential supplies that you will need.

Some of the most important items to get include:

  • A dog collar and ID tag
  • A leash
  • Food and water bowls
  • Food
  • A dog bed
  • A crate that the dog can fit into even when he’s grown
  • Some dog toys
  • Grooming supplies

Depending on your house and your plans, you may also want to get a pet barrier or baby gate so you can keep the pup contained in one area of the house. This way, he can’t get into too much trouble when you’re not watching.

Summary: What to Do Before Adopting a Dog 

Before you adopt a dog, make sure that you can give him the type of life he deserves, both in terms of your lifestyle and your finances. Then, think about the traits you want in a dog and get all the supplies you will need to care for him, including pet insurance. Once you have all these covered, you are ready to go adopt a puppy of your own.

Remember that adopting a dog is a commitment that lasts for their entire lifetime. To make sure you are ready for your new pup and aware of the commitment you are making, get the following things done before finalizing the adoption.

 

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