This is it. After months of mental back-and-forth, hours spent online scrolling through endless photos of furry faces and just a touch of obsessiveness—you’re finally ready to take the plunge and adopt a dog. Maybe you’re an experienced pet parent or maybe you’re brand new to the wonderful world of adoption. Either way, there are a few tips you should keep in mind (and a few questions you should ask yourself) before bringing a new dog into your home and into your heart.
Curb your fear of commitment.
For some of us, settling down can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Especially if you’re committing to loving an adorable dog for the rest of their days. That being said, when you adopt a dog, they are becoming a part of your life—think of them as a furry child. They will be there cheering you on as you go through major life changes. If your circumstances change, will you still be able to care for your pet? Because your Fido will still be counting on you.
Get ready to share your space, time and bank account with your new pup.
Your new dog needs more than just food, water and shelter. Be sure that you have the space for your new furry friend to make themselves at home, that your schedule allows for plenty of time with them, and that you are financially prepared to care for your pet. Keep in mind, there will always be unplanned expenses that pop up over the years—emergency vet visits, potential boarding costs, etc. Plus, you may feel compelled to spoil your new dog, and endless supplies of toys and treats can add up over time.
Choose the dog that best fits your lifestyle.
Do you love outdoor adventures? Or would you rather take a slow stroll around the block? To ensure that both you and your dog are as happy as possible, you’ll want to make sure that your personalities match up, and that your lifestyle works well for your new pal. Lean on shelter staff to help play matchmaker for you. They could guide you to the next four-legged love of your life.
Prep your home.
Before you bring your new dog home, be sure to have all the necessary supplies ready. Have a bed, toys, treats, a leash, harness and collar ready to go. Once you adopt, be sure to get proper identification tags to attach to your dog’s collar. Also, keep in mind that your dog will be curious about their new surroundings, so it’s important to ensure that any potentially hazardous chemicals, plants and foods are far out of paws’ reach. You may want to consider baby gates, or dog crates to confine your new friend when they are home alone (at least until you feel comfortable allowing them run of the house).
Be patient. Remember, good things come to those who wait.
No one is perfect, and your new dog’s past could affect how quickly they adjust to their new home. Dogs will often be unsure about things they have never experienced before, and all dogs need some time to acclimate to a new environment and routine. Some dogs will integrate into your life quickly, while others will need time and more flexibility. This doesn’t mean they are unlovable or unwilling to love you; it just means they need someone who is understanding, compassionate and patient. Most dogs just need someone to understand them, provide for their doggy-specific needs (such as the opportunity to chomp on healthy chews and explore the world with their noses) and a consistent routine. With a little TLC, a stressed shelter dog will quickly become a loving companion—they just need to be given a chance.
Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
After adoption, life as you know it will be different—in the most beautiful way. Whoever you end up connecting with, whether it be a tiny Chihuahua or a lovable pit bull, your new dog will truly change your life for the better. By adopting from a local shelter or rescue, you are giving a dog a second chance at a bright future. You are also setting yourself up with the best friend you’ll ever know, love and plenty of moments that will make you say, “This dog deserves his own Instagram account!” As long as you’re prepared, you’ll never regret the decision to adopt.
During the month of October, we are celebrating all things rescue dogs with our #FindYourFido campaign, encouraging people across the nation to help Fidos in need find “the one.” If you’re adopting, then congrats! You’re already helping a Fido. But if you want to learn more about ways to make a difference in the lives of shelter dogs, read how you can be a part of the #FindYourFido movement today.
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