According to The American Humane Association, nearly 56 percent of dogs entering animal shelters are euthanized. Adopting a Dog from a nearby animal shelter will provide it with a loving and caring home instead of being euthanized. In fact, most shelters encourage people to adopt various pets, including dogs.
A dog can be a loving companion and an excellent exercise partner. Although having a dog is incredibly rewarding, it is also quite demanding. Training and raising a pup requires time, patience, and money. In short, adopting a dog is a big responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly.
If you've decided to adopt a pooch, you should be armed with the information that you need to develop a harmonious relationship with it. We have listed eight things to know before adopting a dog, which will help you understand the responsibilities of a dog owner.
1. Dog Ownership Is a Long Term Commitment
Most dogs have an average lifespan of 12-13 years. This means that you have to seriously think about how the dog is going to fit into your future plans. For example, if you are thinking of starting a family soon, you'll be better off adopting a child-friendly breed like the Golden Retriever. If you already have a family, make sure that everyone is in agreement with your decision and willing to provide love and care to the mutt.
2. Your Lifestyle Will Revolve around Your Dog
A dog needs a couple hours of exercise and training every day. Besides, you shouldn't leave a dog alone for more than ten hours at a time. You have to schedule your daily routine to spend as much time with your canine friend as possible. A puppy usually needs more attention for the first couple of years compared to an adult dog. If you travel frequently, it may be difficult for it to adjust to your routine. You may need to make your apartment/house more pet-friendly. In fact, the shelter home representative may check your apartment prior to the adoption.
3. Dog Health Care Is the Key Expense
The usual dog care costs include regular veterinary visits, vaccinations, food, accessories, toys, and spaying or neutering. The minimum average first-year cost of dog care is around $800, including adoption fee. However, the adoption fee can vary from nothing at all to a few hundred dollars. Second year onwards, the average cost of an annual dog care can be more than $500.
Sometimes, your pooch may need serious medical care because major health issues are pretty common in a dog's lifespan. For example, heartworm is a disease that affects most dogs. You should, therefore, choose a good pet insurance plan. If your dog gets sick and you do not have pet insurance, medical bills can quickly escalate into thousands of dollars.
4. Dogs Need to Be Trained and Socialized
Socializing a dog is no cakewalk. Your dog may act aggressively around strangers and children. However, you can train your dog to be docile in public places. Whenever possible, let your pup play in an open space with other dogs. However, a few jurisdictions have strict leash laws which may not allow you to do so. In this case, you should take your dog for regular walks or arrange a dog daycare. Regardless of how big or small your dog is, it will need some type of obedience training. You can send your pooch to obedience classes, if necessary.
5. A Dog Owner Is Liable for a Dog Bite Lawsuit
If your dog accidently bites someone, you may be liable for a Dog Bite lawsuit, which is governed by federal, state, and local personal injury laws. Dog bite settlements are pretty expensive. Whether it is a Pennsylvania dog bite law settlement or a New Orleans dog bite case settlement, you may end up paying thousands of dollars in damages. Therefore, you have to make sure that your pooch is docile and friendly with strangers and children.
6. Not All Dog Breeds Are the Same
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and not all breeds are the same. A few breeds may be inclined to live with a family, while others may need more physical activity. Currently, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in America, topping the list of most popular breeds in 2016. When selecting a breed, you need to consider several characteristics including temperament, personality, behavior, exercise requirements, shedding, and inherent health issues, etc.
7. Dogs Have Inherent Health Problems
Each dog breed comes with a list of inherent diseases. Most inherent diseases are the direct result of deliberate inbreeding and selective breeding practices. In a few breeds, health problems may occur early in life, while they may appear later on in others. Inherited diseases disrupt normal blood flow and infect the immune system, affecting the ability to breathe or walk normally. In rare cases, you may have to put down your dog due to its inherent health issue.
8. Think about Fostering a Dog First
There is nothing more enjoyable and educational than fostering a dog from a nearby shelter. In fact, it is the most responsible way to check if you are ready to adopt a pooch. Fostering will provide you with firsthand experience of training and grooming your furry friend. Most shelters offer instructions to help you deal with a particular breed. If you already have a pet, fostering is a great way to test the waters to see if your existing pet is ready to live with a new dog.
It is always better to learn about dog breeds and how to raise each one of them before adopting a pet. Adopting a dog is a life-changing decision, and it should be treated as such. You have to make sure to treat him/her like a family member. You also need to ensure that your four-legged buddy receives regular exercise and proper medical attention. Preparing for this lifestyle change will play an important role in building a healthy relationship with your mutt.