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How to Adopt a Dog in 5 Easy Steps

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how to adopt a dog

So you’re ready to welcome a new furry friend into your home, that’s wonderful!

Choosing to adopt instead of buy may be the best choice you could make. Rehoming a dog is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do.

But how do you get the adoption process started? It’s not as simple as showing up at the shelter and picking out a pup. The process takes some time but it’s worth it for your new best friend.

Wondering how to adopt a dog? We’ve put together 5 easy steps to get your new furry friend living with you as soon as possible.

Why Should You Adopt a Dog?

Adopting a dog is always a viable option if you have decided to get yourself a pet. With time, people are realizing increasingly that instead of buying a dog, one can also adopt a dog. Adopting is a more convenient option and has certain benefits over conventional purchasing of dogs.

The most important reason for adopting a dog is saving a life, as unwanted and unadopted dogs are often euthanized. Through adoption, you give these abandoned and abused animals another chance to live their lives. 

Your decision to adopt a dog will also stop the mass breeding of puppies by reckless breeders. Besides, you won’t probably be adopting a puppy. An adult dog is mostly trained and can adjust easily. Besides, you will get a friend who will stay loyal to you throughout your life.

Additionally, adopting a dog is comparatively cheaper than purchasing a new dog from a pet store or some breeder. Also, there is a good chance that your dog is already microchipped by the rescue organization, where you will save money again. 

Besides, some recur organizations and animal shelters also provide food for adopted dogs. This ensures you don’t have to pay anything for the pet you adopt from recur organizations.

What to Expect When Adopting a Dog?

Adopting a dog may sound easy, but actually, it is not so. To begin with, it is normal for a rescue dog you choose to adopt to need an adjustment period, which may be longer than you anticipated.

For some dogs, the adjustment phase may last for only a few hours, while others may need more than a week and up to months.

Dogs experience stress on a regular basis, but rescue dogs may experience it more severely. You might not foresee how these new puppies would react to the added stress.

However, with proper attention and effort, any undesirable behaviors ought to go away as they adjust to their environment at their owner’s place.

There are several behaviors that your dog can possibly display when adjusting. Most rescue dogs are hesitant and reserved when they are first adopted. They could even take a long time to enter the house properly.

Often, rescue dogs bark a lot, and you might not be able to determine why the new dogs are barking so much. Additionally, they could have a bad tendency to mark their territory, which is annoying for the entire family.

Besides, even when the dog starts adjusting to its new surroundings, it could exhibit severe separation anxiety when left alone at home.

Things to Think Before Adopting a Dog

Although you can indeed adopt a dog instead of buying one, there are a couple of factors that you must consider before introducing a canine to your family.

Are You Ready For An Adopted Dog?

It may be fun to have a furry friend with you, but maintaining a dog also involves many responsibilities. Hence, it is always better to be realistic and sincere before undertaking this kind of commitment.

You need to devote time, love, and attention to your pooch.

Is Your Home home should be pet-proofed?

It is important to remember that before getting a dog, you should definitely pet-proof your home first. To begin with, you need to secure those places of your home where you don’t want your dog to come.

For instance, you can take the help of pet gates and baby gates to keep your dog away from the kitchen.

Besides, keep all the medicines away from your dog. Unplug electrical appliances when not in use. You must ensure that your dog doesn’t reach the fireplace and, if required, install a seat lock in the toilet. Besides, if you have a lawn or a garden, you need to remove all the gardening tools as well.

How to Adopt a Dog in 5 Easy Steps

1. Know What You Want

Before you take the leap, ask yourself, is this the right time to adopt? Any big life changes like moving house or a baby on the way aren’t ideal situations for adopting a dog.

If it’s the right time in life, then it’s time to figure out the breed for you. Consider your lifestyle. Do you work a 9-5 or is your job flexible? Are you active or do you like to chill out on the couch? How big is your living space? Do you want a big dog or small dog?

These are all important to consider. You generally don’t want to bring a big Great Dane into a small apartment. You don’t want a whippet if you want to spend the evenings chilling out.

Research different breeds to find which one will suit you. It’ll make you both happier in the long run.

2. Research Shelters

Once you have an idea of the kind of pup you want, it’s time to research shelters near you.

Find out how the adoption process at each of them goes. How long does it usually take? How much will it all cost?

The shelter should try and find the perfect pup to match your family and lifestyle. There are some shelters out there which let you take a dog home for a night-trial to see how you get along. There are so many different breeds and dogs all have their own personalities.

If one dog isn’t a great fit, don’t give up. There is another dog out there waiting to love you, so keep trying!

how to adopt a dog

3. Ask Lots of Questions

When you’re at the shelter, it’s time to ask a lot of questions.

Take a look around and interact with different dogs. Get to know them and let them get to know you.

When you find one you like, ask questions. How long has he been in the shelter? How did he end up here? Does he have any medical issues? Has he had his shots?

If you have any kids or other pets, find out if he gets along with them.

Also, ask to take him for a walk around the shelter. This is a great way to get a feel for how to handle him and it’s a great way to bond.

4. Get Prepared

Whether you’re bringing home a new puppy or adopting an adult dog, you’ve got a lot to prepare for.

All dogs, big and small, young or old, need a lot of care. This care begins before you even bring the dog home.

Shelters will often do a home check, so it’s good to have a few things prepared before they arrive with the dog.

Make sure you buy the right food. Ask the shelter which food the dog has been eating and get the same. Changing a dog’s diet can lead to an upset tummy which is the last thing you want when welcoming a new family member!

Dogs also love treats, so get some in the house. They’re a great way to teach tricks and enforce positive behaviors. Don’t overdo it, dogs are easy to overfeed and it can lead to health complications.

Pick a place to put his food and water bowl that is away from noise or distractions.

Get a dog bed or crate. Your dog will want a safe space to retreat to throughout the day whenever they want peace and quiet.

If you have children, let them know when the dog will arrive and tell them to give him some space while he settles in.

Pet insurance is very important too, so get that sorted as soon as possible after adopting your dog. Treat them to a nice collar, leash, and treats and you’ll have a happy pup!

5. Make Him Comfortable

It’s likely your dog will be anxious when he arrives home for the first time.

It could take a few days for your dog to get accustomed to everything. He may not be the excited, bubbly version of himself you met at the shelter. Don’t panic! This is normal.

There are a few ways to relax him and make him feel more comfortable as he settles into his new home.

Get a comfy bed for him in each room. He’ll be less likely to jump on the furniture if he has his own bed.

Show him his chew toys and let him know that he’s allowed to chew them. Older dogs may know this already, but puppies like to get their teeth into everything.

Try not to shout or yell, this will only make him more nervous.

Related: New Puppy Checklist: Bringing Home Your Large Breed

Stick to his feeding and bathroom schedules from the shelter for at least a few weeks. Routine is comfortable and sudden changes are likely to add to his anxiety.

Show him where his things are and let him explore the house. Stay calm and don’t overwhelm him. Once he has a good feel for the house and people in it, he’ll be back to his happy self!

how to adopt a dog

Adoption vs. Buying a Dog

When considering getting a new dog, many prospective owners face a choice. They need to choose between adopting a dog (mostly from animal shelters) and buying one from a breeder or a pet store.

Adoption and buying both have their pros and cons, and based on individual choices and preferences, dog owners choose between these two options. We should now have a quick look at this topic.

The Advantages Of Adopting A Dog From An Animal Shelter

To begin with, providing a home to a neglected dog is always satisfying, as you will be providing a pet with a much-needed loving home. Besides, many times, unwanted dogs are sometimes euthanized, and by adopting a canine friend, you may be saving a life as well.

In addition, animal shelters also have lots of dogs from which one can choose. Also, since the staff of an animal shelter spends a lot of time caring for and raising these dogs, you can get valuable information from them about the dog that you wish to adopt.

They will be able to tell you about the dog’s preference, medical history, temperament, food habits, etc.

In general, shelter dogs are far less expensive than buying from a breeder or a pet store, and many a time, they provide dog food as well. Even if there is some cost involved, this covers most of the medical bills that your dog has incurred till now.

The Disadvantages Of Adopting A Dog From An Animal Shelter

The biggest downside of adopting from an animal shelter is that many dogs at these shelters originate from tough or abusive homes. 

They have been hurt and damaged in the past and can be very sensitive toward your behavior with them. It is equally difficult to predict how your dog will respond to a new situation that may seem very normal to you. 

For instance, traumatized dogs may not like to stroll in the streets, which you might not be aware of. If they have been mistreated in the past, they require a longer time to recover from their scars.

Your new dog should ultimately feel very comfortable in your home. For that, you need to shower it with a great deal of care, patience, and love. 

Furthermore, the adoption procedure is quite lengthy most of the time. So, it is better not to expect that you can bring the dog of your choice to your home right away. However, all the efforts will eventually start giving results.

Advantages Of Buying A Puppy From A Dog Breeder

Responsible puppy breeders are devoted to their profession. They focus on raising a small number of purebred dogs and devote significant effort to them. 

They will be knowledgeable about the origins of your puppy, its parentage, and any history regarding its past illness. 

You can let the breeder know if you have a certain dog breed in mind. Your breeder is a trained professional and should be able to help and guide you in selecting the best dog for your home. 

They will also help you with sound advice on caring for your new puppy. Your puppy should have been raised in a hygienic condition and by a competent breeder. 

Additionally, it should be healthy, well-socialized, at ease in new situations, and have basic training to help it adapt to its new surroundings.

Disadvantages Of Buying Dogs From A Breeder

Most of the breeders are trustworthy, and they care about the health of dogs. But some of them are irresponsible and engage in illegal tactics. 

These breeders are mostly concerned about just making monetary gains and may not care about the well-being of their pets. Poor breeding can also lead to some health problems right from the puppy’s birth. 

And to worsen the situation, these sicknesses are not covered by pet insurance. Plus, there is also an associated risk that your breeder is associated with illegal smuggling and selling of pups. Hence, it is crucial that you choose a licensed and reputable breeder.

The monetary factor is another important reason why dog owners often choose to adopt dogs instead of buying them.

Buying a dog is much more costly than adopting one. Depending on the dog breed, a dog can cost between USD 500 to USD 1500. 

On the other hand, adoption charges are much less, and some animal shelters also provide dog food, enabling you to save money there.


How can I get a dog with no money?

Even if you have no money to buy a dog, some options are available. Most of the cities and towns have some or other animal shelters. You can always visit these shelters if you wish to adopt a dog. Besides, there are rescue groups where you can adopt dogs.

Some rescue groups even pay for the food for the dogs that you adopt from them. Then, all you need to do is shower love, attention, and care on the dog.

What is the best way to get a dog?

One can always buy a puppy from a breeder or a pet shop. But the importance of adoption is also being realized gradually, and nowadays, more people are adopting dogs from animal shelters and rescue centers. 

In comparison, adopting a dog is more ethical and economical than buying a dog. Besides, a noble cause is involved in it, which is saving a life.

What is the best website to adopt a dog?

If you are looking to adopt a dog, websites for pet adoption might be a good substitute for traditional animal shelters. 

However, we recommend that you stick to websites with reasonable and logical return policies.

It should give images and information on the individual pets that are available. Besides, it should also allow you to meet the dog you have your eye on before committing.

The best available websites allowing the adoption of dogs are ASPCA, Rescue Me, The Shelter Project, Petsmart Charities, Adopt a Pet, AKC Rescue Network, Petfinder, and Best Friends Animal Society.

How should I prepare to adopt a dog?

Before adopting your canine friend, you must prepare your home to welcome your new furry friend. This will ensure that your pooch feels safe and remains comfortable at your place.

To begin with, you will need food and water bowls for your dog, a dog bed, a crate, dog food, and toys. You may also want to have a leash that you will use on your dog while taking it for a walk.

Additionally, try to find a vet near you so that if your dog falls sick, you may have immediate help. Also, it is better to have a tag ready for your dog, as it helps you find your dog back in case it gets lost.

Is it easy to adopt a dog?

Adopting a dog is not at all an easy process. You may want a dog really bad, but adoption centers often have a long and complicated procedure. 

It involves a list of forms that ensures that you will be the perfect dog owner. Besides, officials from the agency may even drop by at your place. They do so to determine the suitability of their pooch at your home. 

Do you pay to adopt a dog?

In most cases, there is no monetary involvement in the adoption process. There is a range of rescue groups and animal shelters where you can adopt your dog from. 

Most of them do not charge any money, but some of them may have their adoption procedure and related expenses. 

The adoption charges generally cover the cost of the medical care that your dog has been incurring while it was waiting to be adopted. 

Besides, sometimes it also includes the cost of transportation and food. The money you pay for your dog also covers the costs of other animals left behind and the running cost of the organization.

Now You Know How to Adopt a Dog

After reading these five steps, you know everything you need about adopting a dog!

Dogs are loving animals which bring so much love and joy to any household. By rehoming a dog from a shelter you are giving it a better life.

Have you got a new furry family member? Check out our training guides to help him get on his best behavior.

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