What to Know Before Adopting

What to Know Before Adopting

Every question you should ask yourself before adopting a dog.

Let’s face it – we’ve all been here before. We meet a dog and fall in love. Our minds start racing. Is adopting this pooch an option? How can we give this dog all the protection and affection we can?

Adopting is a beautiful act. And we can guarantee that when you do have a dog in the house, your life will change for the better. You will know the kind of love that you may not have known before. This is the power of a dog.

So what do you need to know in order to go forward with an adoption?

Being a pet parent comes with responsibilities

When a dog joins your family, be prepared to provide it with the proper attention and care. While this could imply providing affection, paying for medical care, and regular food, treats, and toys, there’s actually a WHOLE LOT MORE to consider.

There are so many decisions you can make even before you meet the dog you are going to adopt. This early planning requires an objective look at potential issues you might face when you have a dog in your home.

Ask yourself: Are you prepared to adopt a dog?

There are certain considerations when it comes to having a dog. Everyone should be comfortable or should learn to be comfortable with a dog’s presence in the household.

Yes, I’m adopting. But am I ready?

When you adopt a dog, know that you are adopting a baby. This dog will be your family. Just like with a baby, you will have to clean after your dog. You will have to wake up in the middle of the night to check on your dog if it’s crying or upset. Your dog poops – and you will have to clean up after the deed. Ask yourself if you are ready to spend this time and energy because once the dog is home, you owe the dog the same level of attention as you would give a newborn baby.

Also ask yourself if you are on the verge of a major life change. Will you be shifting house soon, or do you have to go on many office trips? Consider fostering a rescue dog for a while to see how you are able to cope with the needs of a new family member.

Is my house safe enough?

If you live in an apartment in the city, the first thing to do is to survey the size of your house. A dog needs spaces in the house for itself. Mark out areas where your dog can play, sleep, or spend some time by itself for a while! To know more about what you can do to make your house perfect for a dog, read our handy guide to dog-proofing here.

If it is a bit challenging to find a lot of space for your dog to use, consider the size of the dog you will adopt. Is the dog an Indian stray dog or a smaller breed like a Dachshund or a Pomeranian? Chances are the dog will be better suited for a smaller space as well.

If you live in a large, independent house with adequate garden space and place outside to run around and play, then you might be able to manage with a larger dog. Dogs are always grateful for a chance to stretch their legs.

Do I have enough time to spend with my dog?

It is a well-known fact that dogs are social creatures. They thrive when they spend time with their families and their pet parent. If you are planning to adopt, mark out time in your busy schedule to bond with your dog and foster a relationship. If you have a busy job, is there someone else in the house to help with feeding, daily walks, and to deal with health problems?

Does my dog require more medical treatment than other dogs?

If you’ve decided to adopt an older dog or a dog with a medical condition or some disability – know that you are doing something really positive and wonderful!

However, do some financial planning in advance. Call a local veterinarian to get an understanding of the finances to be set aside for the dog. Medicines will become a continuous process, and if there are health emergencies, you will need to plan for sudden surgeries and other medical treatment. Even a dog without health problems will require money set aside for medical treatment, vaccines, rabies shots, and so on.

Is everyone in my house comfortable with adopting a dog?

One problem that often occurs is when someone in the house is uncomfortable around dogs or any other animal. This is natural and very common. It is essential to prepare anyone who isn’t comfortable by speaking with them first. If it is a child, then having a dog might be the best way for the child to get over irrational fears.

You could introduce the child or the relevant person to a dog beforehand. Ask a friend to bring home their dog and demonstrate how comfortable and easy it actually is with a dog around. Try and introduce this person to the older dog and get used to touch. This is a usually effective way of finding out whether this will be a long-term obstacle to cross if you bring a dog to the house.

Do I have to change certain patterns in my life before adopting?

If you have a robust social life, or you have to go to the office for long hours, then the short answer is yes. You will need to plan your time around the new dog somehow. This would mean less outings for too long, and no more spontaneous holidays. Dogs prefer being with their families, and staying in a boarding house, while a good option in case you are vacationing or going somewhere, isn’t great when it’s frequent.

Who is the right veterinarian for my dog?

Ask friends and social media communities about the best veterinarians in the vicinity. If the veterinarian is good, it might become a long term relationship. You need to be able to depend on the doctor to treat your dog for the rest of its life.

Secondly, read up about health care and medical needs that might come up for a dog. You can read questions we often get asked, here.

Am I ready to pick up after my dog?

Remember that your dog will use the bathroom outside the house. You will need to take your dog for a walk every single day. And you will need to go outside a few times a day so your dog can relieve itself.

Buy a scooper or disposable bags to pick up your dog’s poop. Care for your community and always ensure that you clean up after your dog is done using the loo. This is your civic responsibility as well.

Do I have everything I need?

Before adopting, buy dog supplies like toys, a leash, food and water bowls, a dog bed, a dog crate, and grooming gear such as shampoo and a hairbrush. You can learn all about the basics of grooming your dog here.

Read up all you can on the internet as well before you make your decision. The best way to take care of a new member of the family is with a lot of love and a lot of preparation.

Adopt, don’t shop!

Are you very particular about a specific breed of dog that you want? Don’t be! Breeders often do not operate within legal frameworks, and dogs from breeders and puppy mills are subjected to horrible treatment. Pure-breed dogs are also born with many genetic health issues that will be a cause for concern in its life. Learn about the issues around breeding and marketing here.

Do you find this information useful? For more general advice about dogs, check out the VOSD website.