I am a big advocate of adoption, both human and animal. But adoption is a serious commitment even when you adopting a cat, dog or small animal. Many people don’t take in to account how much vet bills will cost every year, obedience classes, food, exercise and just spending time with their new fur baby. I often see people online looking for a free dog for their children, and they can’t afford a re-homing fee. In no way am I bashing these people for not wanting to pay an adoption fee, but in my experience a $50-$200 adoption fee is the cheapest part about owning a dog. And it makes me wonder, if they cant pay an adoption fee how will they pay for vetting and food for said dog? Here are some tips for finding the right pet for your family.
When adopting any animal it is important to check with your landlord or local laws to make sure you are allowed to have animals. Most landlords wont allow dogs that are in the bully breed category due to insurance reasons. Also many states have adopted BSL or Breed Specification Laws that restrict ownership of certain breeds. Also check with your landlord to find out if there is a restriction on weight. If your landlord says you are not allowed to have a pit bull, don’t adopt a dog that is similar to it like the American Bulldog or Staffordshire Terrier. Often times when people aren’t familiar with breeds many other dogs are misidentified.
Pick an age that works for you. Puppies are cute, but they require a lot of attention and training. They are great if there will be someone home with them for most of the day, but if you work a lot and go out often, a puppy might not be the right age for you. If you want a baby animal, consider a kitten. Once litter box trained they are easy to clean up after and will often take care of themselves while you are gone. Young dogs ages 1-3 are great companions for the active outdoors-man. They are the perfect age if you have children, plus you don’t have to worry about potty training or chewing(usually). But if left untrained they may be rough with small children, or further develop bad habits like marking, digging or chewing. Adult dogs ages 4-6 are wonderful dogs that are often looked over when it comes to adoption. They are great dogs who may already be well trained and are much calmer than the young dogs. Much less jumping!! Adult dogs are wonderful for children and teenagers as well as for a couple looking to add a fur child to their life before human ones. Last but certainly not least, Seniors. Senior dogs often wind up in shelters because their owner passed away or they were traded in for a new younger dog. They are usually surrendered due to no fault of their own. This often makes them depressed and scared which may cause them to seem listless in their kennels when you go look for a dog. Thus they are often overlooked. But I guarantee if you ask the shelter worker to take the senior dog out of his cage to take him for a walk he will perk up and be the happiest dog in the whole building. The loud barking and echoing walls of a shelter are very hard on a seniors ears, which is another reason you may see them shaking or hiding their heads in their fur.
When adopting a dog, it’s important to think about the future. Are you planning on expanding your family? Will you be getting a new job or attending school soon? Are you planning on moving? Are you financially stable? These are all important questions to think about when looking to adopt a pet. If you are hoping to have another child soon, or starting a new job that will keep you away from home for long hours it may be a good idea to wait a little longer before adopting a pet. The wait is hard but once you have figured out your new schedule of routine it will be easier to decide what kind of dog best fits you. Financial stability is also very important. Will you be able to afford food for your dog? Vetting? Both are important factors in pet ownership.
Research the breed before committing. Not all breeds are equal! Some breeds fall short of certain expectations where others exceed. Some dogs are more prone to aggressive behaviors, some dogs need more exercise than others. Some dogs don’t get their brains until 4 or 5 years old like Labradors. Some dogs enjoy digging up your yard like doxies. Certain dogs have longer life expectancies than others, so it’s important to keep all these factors in mind before adopting.