Adopting a dog: what you need to know

by Kira Garrett | June 18, 2014

Whether you are ready for your first pup, or want to adopt a friend for your cat or dog, adopting a rescue pet is a great option for anyone looking to grow their fur family. Millions of animals are surrendered each year, leaving kennels full which, in many cases, leads to euthanasia .

Often, prospective pet parents consider shelter animals tainted with behavioral problems and socialization issues. However, this is generally not the case. In fact, most animals are surrendered because of a change in family situation or living restrictions. With the proper preparation on your part, and a loving home environment, you can easily adopt a new pet.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Do your research

Many people think they’ll just ‘know’ when they meet the right animal. While this might be true, it’s also important to diligently research before visiting a shelter or rescue organization. Keep in mind the activity level of your family, age of children, other pets, space restrictions and free-time available when considering a rescue pup. You do not want to bring home a hyperactive dog if you work long hours, or select a giant, clumsy breed if you’ve got young children or a small apartment.  If you have an idea about which breed, or mix of breeds, may work best for your family, you’ll be able to make a decision with your head and your heart.

Gear up

Before you bring your new companion home, make sure you’re prepared! Gather supplies ahead of time so you don’t find yourself with a hungry pup and no food dish. Stock up on a healthy, dehydrated pet food and homemade dog treats. Bring home a variety of toys, so your pet will be able to try many out and let you know which toys he likes most. Have grooming essentials on hand like a brush, shampoo and a nail clipper.

Establish boundaries

While you’ll likely want to do nothing more than snuggle, cuddle and hug your new pooch, it’s important to set a behavior standard right off the bat. Let your rescue dog know where he’s allowed to be and what his daily routine will be like. This may seem rigid to some, but your pup will transition much better when he understands your expectations. That said, be realistic. It’s important to remember that your pup is in a new home, with a new family and could certainly take some time to get comfortable. To help him, create a space that’s truly his own—a kennel and/or dog bed where your pooch feels safe.

With some planning, you’ll be ready to adopt a new furry family member in no time.