So You Want To Adopt A Dog – Some Things To Consider

29 09 2010

If you have decided that your family is ready to take on the responsibility of a dog, there are things to consider before making the leap.

Several factors need to be taken into consideration before deciding on what dog you should get. This is a committment, on an average basis, of no less than ten to fifteen years. Your new dog will be like a member of the family and cannot be discarded because of illness or simply because you and your family grow tired of the responsibility.

The first thing to consider when choosing a dog is the age of your family members. Do you have small children in the house under seven years of age? If so, a puppy is not a good idea. Children under seven are not normally prepared to handle puppies under five months old and toy breeds under fifteen pounds. In the case of puppies, their extremely sharp “milk teeth” combined with their sharp toenails and need to teeth can injure an unsuspecting child who just wants to play. This can lead to the child being afraid of the dog and cause the parents to take the dog to a shelter where it risks being euthanized. In the instance of toy breeds, most are fine-boned and do not bear well with clumsy handling. With their short tempers, this can lead to biting and again causing a fear in children. If you are certain that a dog is a right choice for your family of young children, medium or larger sized dogs over five months old is your best bet.

Have you decided who will be the one primarily responsible for taking care of the new dog? In a world where both parents work and children have busy school and sports schedules, it’s not uncommon that the dog that your family just had to have, will get brushed aside. Eventually, the dog will become more of a burden than a pleasure and will end up at a shelter. Before you decide on a dog, clear and specific duties should be assigned based on family schedule commitments.

Choosing a family dog should be a family affair – not a gift from one family memeber to the rest of the family. When visiting a shelter to choose a dog, the entire family should be there to determine if there is a personality conflict or temperament issues with the dog and children or men for example. Before you arrive at the shelter, you should do your homework on the type of dog you’re looking for. If you live in an apartment for example, a mastiff, mastiff mix or other larger breed may not be suitable.

As important as choosing the right breed for your family and lifestyle is understanding the true commitment that comes with being a responsible pet owner. Sadly, too many think that once they bring their new pet home, that’s all there is to it. Contrarily – that’s when the fun, and work, begins. Are you prepared for the financial commitment as well as the time commitment? Have you taken into consideration the cost for veterinary care? What about obedience training? Incidentals like crates, toys and beds? Don’t forget, you have to feed your dog, and no, he can’t just eat what you do. If you choose a large breed, expect to have a larger food budget. Are you choosing one of the fancier breeds like a poodle or shih tzu? They need a haircut every four to six weeks. You will need a budget for preventative medications for heartworm and flea/tick problems. Are you prepared for a veterinary emergency? Some of the larger breed dogs are prone to hip problems and the smaller, toy breeds are fragile. What if your dog is hit by a car?

We’ve given you a lot to consider here and we hope you will read, re-read and take to heart the points made. As a society, we have become a “disposable” nation – when we’re done with it, we throw it away and move on. Unfortunately, when you dispose of a dog, it’s chances to live decrease dramatically. Make your decision as family and make it wisely.

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6 responses

5 10 2010
Bonnie @ WelcomePup.com

Buying a family dog is not a retail purchase that is returnable–it is a lifetime commitment. The dog’s life is in the dog owner’s hands. You couldn’t have said it better: “Unfortunately, when you dispose of a dog, it’s chances to live decrease dramatically.” I hope your article makes people think before they make an impulse dog purchase.

5 10 2010
animalrescuesuperhighway

Bonnie, thank you for your comments. Owning an animal is a lifetime commitment for sure. Too many go into pet ownership with a haphazard mindset and the dogs are the ones who suffer. If this article protects even ONE animal, it’s served its purpose.

19 10 2010
Breeding Responsible Pet Owners: Minimizing Owner Surrenders « Animal Rescue Superhighway

[…] Why? Is your pet sick or old? Does it cost too much to care for it? Did you pick the wrong breed for your family lifestyle? Does it have behavior problems? Did it get too big? Sorry folks, but the dog isn’t the […]

20 10 2010
Want Less Stress? Become a Pet Owner « Animal Rescue Superhighway

[…] person” or too busy to give your pet the proper care it needs, don’t do it. Pets are a lot additional responsibility and if this isn’t considered, it will only add to your stress, instead of […]

23 11 2010
‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly – But Not To Give Pets As Gifts « Animal Rescue Superhighway

[…] of at least 10-15 years. It should not be an impulse decision or purchase. There are many factors to consider when adopting a pet. And yes, I said, adopt. We at Animal Rescue Superhighway stand firmly behind […]

1 02 2011
Winter Weather Hitting Shelters Hard « Animal Rescue Superhighway

[…] about what animal is best for you? See our previous posts on adopting the right animal for you. Still confused? Contact us and we can help you find the right […]

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