Owning a dog is one of life’s boundless pleasures. They are affectionate, loyal, and always happy to see you. Dogs provide companionship and protection and, most importantly, give us a reason to get out of the house for walks or other activities. But with such rewards come responsibility, which is why it never hurts to read a few dog adoption tips and things to know before getting a dog.
Even though your heart might be ready to shower your new pup with all the love in the world, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate whether you have the right circumstances for a successful adoption. Remember, your new doggy will entirely rely on you for the rest of its life, and it’s best to ensure you are prepared for that. So before you take the plunge and adopt a furry friend, read our dog adoption tips and things to know before getting a dog.
(Thinking of adopting a dog in Plano, TX? Check out the City of Plano Animal Shelter and rescue a pet that needs you! You may also consider DFW Pup Patrol as an alternative or Doodlerock to rescue Doodles)
1. Financial Resources
Owning a pet is an expensive commitment. Proper care requires regular check-ups, vaccinations, food, and medications. Depending on your pet’s needs and lifestyle, you may also need to invest in toys, grooming supplies, or training classes. Adopting a dog can require you to spend an average of $2000-$4800 for the first year due to all the supplies and expenses associated with pet ownership, such as a pet insurance plan and licensing.
Subsequent years will be less expensive annually. Every pet owner will have different expenses based on their situation, so it’s important to plan and budget accordingly.
2. Time Commitment
All dogs require exercise and attention, but the amount of time needed can vary depending on breed and personality. Some breeds thrive with daily runs and exercise, while others might prefer a gentle stroll or game of fetch. Each breed also has its level of grooming needs, from minimal brushing to weekly baths.
No matter what breed or type of dog you choose, all require attention and affection to be happy and well-adjusted family members. Spending quality time playing, snuggling, and grooming your dog will help build a bond and provide them with the satisfaction they need to thrive. If you can’t spend enough time because of work, you may want to consider splurging on the cost of a pet sitter in Plano.
3. Training Consistently
Dogs need to learn the rules of their new household and basic obedience commands like sit and stay. Training classes (either group or individual) are a great way to help your dog understand what’s expected of them and how to behave in different settings. The first few days might be challenging, but consistency is crucial, and with patience, your pup will eventually get the hang of it.
Establishing a schedule for potty training, obedience, and other house rules is also important from the start. This will help your pup adjust quickly and become a well-mannered family member.
At Hound Therapy, we work with some of Plano’s top dog trainers. You can read about them here: http://karmadogtrainingplano.com or come to the shop to see them in action.
4. Finding the Right Vet in Plano Texas (or anywhere)
Finding the right vet is the most critical health decision you can make for your pet. Whether it’s routine check-ups or managing a long-term condition, you’ll want to ensure you have access to the best possible care. Your vet should be someone who you and your pup feel comfortable with and who you can trust and respect to provide the best advice for your pet’s care.
The vet will walk you through all the important decisions, such as vaccinations, treatments, and medications. They can also provide you with resources for pet insurance, microchipping, spaying, neutering, and referral for other specialists if needed.
5. Consider a Microchip
Even if your dog has a collar and tags, it’s important to consider getting them microchipped for more secure identification. Microchips are tiny devices implanted under the skin and have a unique identifier that scanners can detect. This can be incredibly helpful if your pet goes missing or stolen.
Many rescue organizations and shelters already include microchipping in their adoption fees, so your pup will likely come with one already. Talk to the shelter or rescue you’re adopting from and find out if they provide microchipping services. If not, your vet can provide the service for you.
It is important to remember to register the microchip with a national database and ensure that your contact information is up to date. This way, it can easily be returned to you if your pet is found.
6. Prepare Your Home
Before bringing your pup home, it’s essential to prepare your house. Your new pup will likely be exploring and getting into all sorts of mischief, so make sure there are no hazards or items they can chew on. Some of the things you can do to dog-proof your home include:
- Cover any exposed wires or cords
- Move any plants and breakables to higher shelves
- Put away toys, shoes, and other items
- Get a pet gate or baby gate for areas you don’t want your pup to access
- Block off any areas you don’t want them to enter
- On sharp edges, put furniture corner protectors
You will also need to stock up on various supplies to ensure your pup is comfortable and has everything they need. Some essential items you’ll want to pick up before bringing your dog home include:
- Collar and leash
- Dog food and water bowls
- Food and treats
- Grooming supplies
- Waste disposal bags
- Crate and pet carrier
7. Learn How to Communicate
You will need to learn how to read your dog’s body language and understand its behavior to have an enjoyable relationship. Dogs communicate mainly through body language and facial expressions; the secret to being a successful pet parent is learning to interpret these signals. Patience, understanding, and positive reinforcement are essential to building a strong bond between you and your pup.
It’s also important to be consistent with commands and rewards. Dogs learn through repetition, so if you want your pup to understand certain behaviors and commands, it’s important to be consistent with how you use them.
8. Exercise and Socialization
Dogs need regular exercise and stimulation to stay healthy and fit and get rid of excess energy that could otherwise result in destructive behavior. Some good ideas include visiting dog parks, going on hikes, or playing fetch in the backyard. Depending on your pup’s age, size and breed, they need anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours of exercise daily.
You should also ensure your pup has plenty of stimulating toys and activities to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. This will help prevent boredom and keep them busy while you’re away.
Socialization is also important for all dogs. As they get older, they may become fearful or aggressive toward other animals, people and environments if they are not adequately exposed to these things when they’re young. Taking them out for walks, taking them to dog parks and puppy classes, and introducing them to other dogs are all great ways to ensure they learn to adapt and interact with their environment. Socialization will help them become better-rounded and less likely to be startled by unfamiliar people or things.
9. Pick the Right Food
Just like people, dogs have different nutritional needs based on their breed, size, and age. High-quality dog food is the key to a healthy, strong, and long-living pup. Some human food can be harmful to dogs, so it’s important to make sure you are feeding them food that is specifically made for canine nutrition. Try shopping at local specialty pet stores or talking to your vet about the best food for your pup.
10. Make Sure Everyone is On Board
A successful adoption starts before the pet even comes home. Adding a pet to your home will positively and negatively change things. Ensure all family members, especially those who will be directly involved in caring for the new pup, are on board with the decision. It’s important to talk about expectations, roles, and responsibilities for everyone in the household, so everyone is prepared for successful adoption.
It’s also essential to know the rules of your rental, lease, or homeowners association, if applicable. Some may restrict certain breeds or require all pets to be spayed or neutered.
11. Understand the Grooming Needs
Grooming is an important part of pet ownership. All dogs need to be groomed regularly depending on their size, age, and type of coat they have. Regular brushing, bathing, and trimming are necessary to keep their coat in good condition and prevent mats from forming.
Nail trims should also be done regularly to avoid overgrowth and potential pain for your pup. Additionally, check for fleas, ticks, and other parasites that can cause skin irritations and other health issues. Regular visits to your dog groomer will ensure your dog is getting the proper health essentials it needs (excluding vaccines, shots, and the annual trip to the vet).
12. Expect Setbacks and Challenges
The transition period after adopting a dog can be challenging, with a few bumps in the road, but it’s important to be patient and understanding. Every pup is unique and will adjust differently to its new environment. Be prepared to help your pet adjust, and give them plenty of love and patience during this time.
No matter how much research and preparation you do, there will always be unexpected issues and events that arise. Having a good support system in place can help you get through the tough times and help you and your pup create a bond that will last a lifetime.
Adopting a dog is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Preparing and understanding the commitment beforehand can help ensure you’re ready for all that comes with welcoming a new pup into your life.
Once you’ve taken these considerations into account and are ready to take the plunge, you’ll be one step closer to finding your furry forever friend. The key is to arm yourself with the right information, do your research, and be patient as you both adjust. The rewards of having a four-legged family member will make it all worth it in the end.