Adopting a Dog in 2023: 10 Key Considerations First-Time Pet Owners Should Make

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woman and dog

Whether you are looking to welcome a puppy into your family or adopt an older pooch, getting a dog is a joyous, exciting moment. But becoming a pet owner is also a journey made of challenges and responsibilities, and understanding what to expect from the years ahead is crucial to building the most harmonious relationship with your pet. 

Although every person’s experience with a pet is unique, setting the right expectations is always the first step to take. In the sections below, we’ll look at some key tips and strategies that can help you understand whether you are really ready to welcome a dog into your home. Let’s get started. 

Choose the Right Breeder

The first step is to choose a breeder you can trust. Once you know what dog breed you are after, partnering with the right specialist can help you ensure that your puppy – as well as the parents and other dogs in the facilities – are well looked after. Comparing different options and investigating the methods and standards of each breeder can help you avoid spiteful puppy farms and find a trustworthy provider. If you are unsure where to start, the information you’ll find here can put you on the right path. 

Consider Adopting From the Local Shelter

If buying a pure-breed dog is out of your budget, you may consider adopting a puppy or older pooch from the local shelter. When doing so, it is important to understand the past of the dog, as well as its current character and habits. While a dog trainer can help you correct any poor behavior, you should make sure to find the right companion for your needs. 

Try Pet-Sitting Before Buying Your Own Dog

If you are unsure whether you are ready to become a pet owner, consider offering pet-sitting services. This will help you obtain a clearer idea of what it means to look after a dog in your everyday life. If pet-sitting isn’t something you are willing to do, you may consider looking after the pet of a close friend or family member. Alternatively, you may volunteer at the local shelter. 

If there is no space in your schedule for these activities, learn more about what to expect by consulting current pet owners and learning more about their own experiences with their pets. 

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Make Sure You Are Ready To Adjust Your Lifestyle

Before becoming a pet owner, make sure you are ready to modify your lifestyle around the needs of the newest member of the family. According to statistics reported by The Zebra, only around 10% of the dogs that are adopted or bought find a permanent home, while nearly 4 million dogs each year are either abandoned or given to a shelter. 

To ensure that you are making the right choice, consider understanding the needs of your desired dog breed. For example, some dogs need to spend several hours outside each day to burn through their energy, while others are happy to just chill by the fireplace! Just make sure to find the right option for your lifestyle. 

Be Clear About the Real Cost of Owning a Dog

Next up, look at your finances. The cost of purchasing a dog isn’t the only expense you’ll have to deal with! 

Indeed, the lifetime cost of owning a dog can be anywhere between $20,000 and $55,000! These costs include healthcare and veterinary fees, as well as dog training and sitting costs, toys, food, and other supplies. Make sure that your finances are stable enough for you to afford a dog. Otherwise, your furry friend may become an unmanageable financial burden!

Find a Trustworthy Vet Before the Adoption Date

As the adoption date approaches, take time to find a specialized veterinary clinic you can trust with all the needs of your dog. To do so, consider interviewing many vets and ask them about their costs, preferred insurance networks, and experience in the field. You may also get several of your questions answered when partnering with a vet. Just make sure not to leave this step to the last minute! After all, as soon as you bring your dog home, he or she will need several vaccinations and checkups!

Partner With a Specialized Dog Trainer

No matter the size of your dog, investing in an adequate training program is essential to build a healthier relationship with your puppy. Thanks to specialized training, your dog can become healthier, better balanced, and well-behaved enough to join you on any adventure you decide to enjoy together. When looking for the right trainer, just make sure that they have experience with the specific breed or character traits of your dog. And, don’t forget to inquire about costs, results, and schedules!

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Find a Suitable Dog Breed for Your Lifestyle and Needs

Not all dogs are as suitable for everyone. When choosing a breed that will suit the lifestyle of your family, you should take more than one factor into consideration. In particular, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much living space will your dog have? Do you live in an apartment? Is there a garden or green area?
  • What dog size fits your circumstances better? Are there children or fragile older adults in the household? 
  • Are you looking for an active or energetic dog? Or are you looking for a companion to relax with you at home during your free time?
  • What is your experience with training and owning a pet? Do you feel more comfortable around a dog who is naturally not aggressive and easy to train?

If you are unsure about the best breed for your needs, a specialist can help you decide. 

Shop Around for the Best Insurance Cover

Another important factor to consider before getting a dog – or any other pet – is insurance coverage. This will help you face the costs involved with their veterinary fees and prevent liabilities in the event of an accident. Compare different insurance options before choosing one that fits your needs. 

  • Pro tip: insurance costs may be influenced by the size and breed of your dog. Because of this, you should make sure to find the right provider before adopting a dog. 

Welcome a New Member Into Your Family!

Last but not least, don’t forget that, once the adoption process is complete, your dog will be a member of your family. Before going on this journey, make sure to have an idea of what it means to have a dog in your life for years to come, and be prepared to give your puppy all the love they deserve!