The decision to adopt a new pup can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. There’s a lot that goes into adding a dog to your family, especially if you’ve never owned a dog before.
During the adoption process, you’ll want to plan ahead and go in prepared. If you check all your boxes before actually bringing your new furry friend home, things will be much easier and safer for everyone.
Before you sign those adoption papers, here’s how you can prepare for your new dog.
Get prepared for dog ownership
Whether you’re a veteran dog parent or this will be your first dog, it’s important to consider whether now is the right time to add a new dog to your family. Although they provide tons of fun and love, dogs can also be a lot of work to take care of, and they’re not always the right choice for every family.
Make sure you understand the true costs of dog ownership and create a budget that works for your family. Consider the costs of adoption and supplies, as well as recurring food costs and veterinarian bills.
Also consider your schedule. Are you able to take your dog for regular walks and carve out time for exercise and play? If not, can you hire a dog walker or enlist the help of a friend or family member? Do you have the time to provide love and care for your new pet?
Finally, check on any restrictions you might have regarding housing. If you rent an apartment or home, your landlord might prohibit certain animals or require fees to have a dog there.
If you’re ready to move forward, you’ll want to visit your local adoption center and find a pup that will fit well with your family. Do you want a young pup, or would you prefer an older dog? Ask about the temperaments of certain breeds and average sizes to ensure the dog will be safe and happy, especially if you have children or other pets.
If you find a pup you’re interested in adopting, make sure all members of your family have a chance to interact with it and ensure your personalities all work well together.
Buy the essentials
If you’re ready to adopt, you’ll want to purchase some essentials prior to bringing your beloved pet home for the first time.
Most importantly, you’ll want to find a secure carrier for your pup that you can safely transport the dog in from the shelter. You’ll also want to get food appropriate for the dog’s age and weight, food and water bowls and treats.
Lots of pet parents are eager to bring home toys, but don’t buy everything you see right away. Look for just a few dog-safe toys at first like a ball and bone—you can always get more later!
Additionally, don’t forget the following:
- Collar with ID tags
- Leash and harness
- Dog bed
- Brush and/or comb
- Dog shampoo
- Toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste
- Flea, tick and heartworm prevention
Finally, you’ll need to prepare your home for your dog’s arrival. Hide small objects your dog could accidentally choke on, get rid of plants toxic to dogs and clean up things you don’t want your pup getting into.
If your home is not fenced in but you’d like to let your dog out in the yard, this would also be a good time to consider fence installation, so your home is completely ready for when your new pup arrives.
You’ll also want to plan ahead and find your pup a local veterinarian you trust. When you adopt your dog, make sure to ask the shelter for your pup’s medical records and find out if it has any special healthcare concerns or medications. Also ask if the pup was microchipped, so you’re able to identify it if it accidentally gets lost.
Additionally, ask if the dog has been spayed or neutered. If it hasn’t, you’ll want to make an appointment with your vet as soon as the dog is able to receive the procedure to minimize health risks and help reduce the number of stray animals in your neighborhood.
After bringing the dog home, you should bring it to the vet for a check-up appointment, so you might want to pre-schedule that. Your dog may need vaccinations to ensure protection against diseases. This appointment would be a good opportunity to ask your vet about preventative care, including joint support, gut health and dietary considerations.
Bring your friend home!
With all of the planning and preparation complete, you’ll be completely ready to bring your new pet home and begin incorporating it into your family. Remember to take things slow and give your dog time to adjust to its new home and the people and pets around it.
If you have any questions or concerns once your pup is adopted, don’t be afraid to contact the shelter or your vet to get answers and ensure you’re able to give your dog the happiest, healthiest life possible.