10 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Dog

Food for Thought Before You Adopt

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  1. Do you want a running buddy or a couch potato? If you work long hours and don’t want to take regular 2-3 mile walks, a middle-aged, adult dog may be a better fit than a young, bouncy puppy or very young dog!  We can provide suggestions of dogs that fit your lifestyle if you are interested. 
  2. Are you ready to adopt? Dogs live anywhere between eight and 18 years! If you’re not ready to be a ‘forever’ home, you may want to consider fostering instead of adopting. Ask us about getting involved as a foster parent!  You get all the love and companionship of owning a pet without the long term commitment and expenses. 
  3. Where will your dog live? We ask our adopters to let their dogs live indoors. All of our dogs are indoor dogs and are veterinarians feel that it is very difficult for them to transition to outdoor living. The outdoors is a harsh and often lonely environment for a dog who wants to be part of your family. Worried about accidents in the house? We can help you with crate training to prevent accidents or destructive chewing when you aren’t home to supervise.  
  4. How long will your dog be left at home? Dogs are highly social animals and they get very lonely when left by themselves for long hours. Consider adopting two dogs so they can have company while you’re away or maybe consider hiring a dog walker or sending your dog to doggy daycare.
  5. Can you afford a new pet? Just like everything, dogs cost money. Be prepared to purchase food and supplies monthly and veterinary care annually or whenever your dog gets sick or injured. Your new dog will come spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and dewormed. Your dog will need vaccinations and a heartworm test each year plus monthly heartworm preventative.  Carol House Quick Fix Clinic is the most affordable place in the area for low cost vaccinations and heartworm preventatives.
  6. Where were your dog stay when you travel? If you travel often, you’ll need a pet sitter or boarding facility. Having your dog watched when you’re out of town costs anywhere from $30 to $70 per day unless you have a trusted friend or family member available.  
  7. Can you put the time into training? Training, exercise and enrichment are so important to giving your new dog a great life. We encourage you to seek out training classes or a positive reinforcement trainer to help your new dog have the best life ever. We can help point you to some training resources in the community!  Email us at training@gatewaypets.org.  
  8. Are you prepared to be patient? Dogs generally need at least 3 days to decompress and adjust to a new environment and then another 3 weeks to show their true personalities.  Plan on three months for your new dog to fully acclimate to your home. All dogs are individuals and it takes a long time for your dog to become part of your family. You may be surprised to know – most adoption returns happen in the first 48 hours after adoption. That’s because the new owner probably did not expect time would be needed for the dog to adjust. Some things that may take a while include potty-training, living with other animals in the home, sleeping through the night, and relaxing. If you have any questions about living with your new dog, you can contact us at training@gatewaypets.org and we can offer you advice and resources to help!
  9. Will you be kind and gentle with your new dog? Most of our dogs have suffered the trauma of losing their homes and their families. They will be stressed out and confused for a little while after you adopt them. Will you show them patience and kindness as they learn to live in a new environment with new people? We ask our adopters never to hit, yell at or otherwise physically punish their adopted dog. Punishment just doesn’t work to correct behaviors and we can show you other ways to deal with any challenges you experience.  Don’t hesitate to contact us at training@gatewaypets.org if you need any advice or suggestions to help your pet settle in.  
  10. Do you have kids or other pets? In general, it’s important to think about how your new dog will get along with anyone who might regularly be at your house. If you want to see how a dog will do outside of the shelter with your other pets or kids in the home, ask a staff member or volunteer about doing a foster field trip. If you are adopting a dog to a home with small kids and other pets, remember the golden rule: go slow! Take time to do introductions and don’t leave your new dog unsupervised with kids or other pets for at least a week.

I’m Ready to Adopt