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.

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

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!

You May Also Like:

The 5 Best Crates for Large Dogs

Everything You Want and Need to Know About Big Dog Breeds

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