A record of nearly 4 million dogs and cats were saved last year as people on pandemic lockdown adopted animals in large numbers, according to U.S. News & World Report. This is all good news for dogs and the shelters that help home them. But for some first-time pet owners the responsibility and financial implications of being a dog parent can be overwhelming. We’ve compiled a short list of things you should think about adopting a dog.
Decide if your home (and life) is pet-friendly. Do you have a house with a yard or share a crowded apartment with multiple roommates? Do you have to travel a lot for work? Do you enjoy making spur-of-the-moment plans? Dogs need space, a schedule, and a stable home. They also require time, attention, and commitment—seriously consider if you can handle it.
Determine if you can afford to be a dog parent. Routine vet appointments, emergency vet visits, regular grooming, pet meds, and an endless supply of dog food, treats, pet care products, toys, bedding… A dog needs all this and more, which can quickly add up to some really big bucks. Make sure your wallet can withstand the spending.
Prepare for the “dirty” duties. It’s easy to imagine all the snuggles you’ll get from a new pet. But there’s a long list of not-so-cute things you also need to do for your dog, like pick up their poop, clean up their accidents, brush their teeth, trim their nails, and prevent things like fleas, ticks, and worms. These regular tasks are just as essential as cuddles, so be ready to take them on.
Make a list of what you’ll need. Creating a checklist of things you’ll need for your pup will help ensure you’re ready to take a fur baby home. Start with the basics: dog food, food and water bowls, a leash and collar, poop bags, dog treats, a cozy dog bed, toys, nail trimmers, dog shampoo, and maybe even a pet crate and pee pads depending on the age of the dog you're adopting.
Consider your dog’s health and safety. If you’re ready to take the plunge into pet parenthood, don’t forget to have your dog spayed or neutered (if they’re not already). Dog tags and microchipping are also musts—that way if your new Best Dog Friend ever gets lost, they can always find their way home.