If you are thinking of adding a dog to your family the most important question you must answer is “Do you and your family understand that this is a lifetime commitment”? You must make sure that you have the resources in time, money, and dedication to care for this dog for the rest of his or her life. There are too many dog breeders out there who are in business to make a buck and thus have produced too many dogs. Too many dog owners don’t think through the commitment required to own a dog and abandon their dog or drop it off at a dog shelter. We should not be surprised that many dog shelters are overcrowded with dogs waiting for adoption.
Here are my tips on the thinking and research you should do before you adopt a dog from your local shelter.
- Research the various breeds to determine which dog is the best match for you and to learn about possible behavioral problems or health issues with the breed you have chosen.
- If you are gone a lot from your home make sure that you pick the right dog that can adjust to your schedule.
- We dogs are not inexpensive to own. If you want your dog to look as good as me you need to research what you will feed your dog. There are too many dog food suppliers that are putting fillers and animal byproducts (who knows what that is) in their dog food. These foods are cheap but you will end up giving your dog health problems and making many trips to the Vet. Learn to read dog food labels. Your dog will need a collar, leash, water bowl, food bowl, comb & brush, toys, a dog bed, annual vet visits, shots, and heartworm care. Other costs are trips to the groomer if you are not going to trim our nails, clean our teeth, and keep us clean yourself. If you love your vacations you need to check out boarding costs if you aren’t taking your dog on vacation with you.
- Just like humans, we dogs need a lot of exercise to maintain our health. Will you have time to do this? Are your kids old enough to help or are they too young and will actually not allow you to have the time to exercise us? Dogs and kids need a lot of attention.
- Make sure you get the medical records from the Adoption Agency.
- It is possible that the dog you choose may have some bad behaviors from the previous home or may just not be socialized as yet. Read books on dog behavior and watch for the signs. You might even need help from a Trainer. Another cost I just thought of.
- If your dog is a puppy and is not housebroken most Trainers suggest a crate. If you do not hold the dog in the crate for more than 5 hours he will not mess his own crate and will get used to doing his business outside when you release him from the crate.
I know all of the above sounds like a lot of work and reasons not to own a dog but the two things that cancel out all the work and cost are the unconditional love and companionship that we will return to you each day we are together.
Whoops I almost forgot, if you live in the Cleveland Ohio area make sure to drop by One Lucky Dog Bakery in Medina. The smells coming from that bakery and the healthy dog biscuits they make are well worth the trip. I’ll probably be in the back of the bakery waiting for Mom to turn her back so I can “sample” the treats off the cooling rack. Someone has to make sure these treats are good enough for all you dogs who drop in every day.