There are many abandoned dogs who deserve a loving home. Adopting a dog is a great thing to do – but it’s just as important to pick the pooch that best suits your lifestyle. The responsibility that comes with owning a pet is often underestimated. Dogs don’t just need food, water and a place to sleep – they need to be cared for and loved as much as is humanly possible. So here’s how to make sure that taking care of the dog you’ve adopted will fit in smoothly with everything else going on in your life.
Identify the most important aspects of your lifestyle
Bringing a dog into your home can be a life-changing experience. You might need to change certain aspects of your lifestyle and adapt them to the needs of your newest family member. But you can’t really change the size of your house, the composition of your family or your working hours, merely for the comfort of your pet. This is why you need to consider these and other important parts of your life, and decide what type of dog would be the best fit.
For instance, if you have an apartment where you’re allowed to keep a dog, calmer (but surprisingly larger) breeds like Greyhounds and Great Danes can be the ideal roommates. Yet training them not to bark incessantly, and providing them with adequate access to the outdoors for exercise and potty breaks, is still extremely important.
Match your lifestyle with the dog’s energy levels
No matter how chilled or hyper different dogs can be, every single one of them needs exercise as part of their daily routine. Prospective dog owners who have a demanding full-time job should opt for a pooch with lower energy levels like a Shih Tzu or an old English bulldog. A couple of short walks everyday are more than enough for these non-sporting types of breeds. Someone with a flexible lifestyle, and who might also have a larger living space, can opt for more active dogs such as German Shepherds or Labrador Retrievers. But be weary of generalising, because all dogs have their own individual personalities and energy levels.
Consider adopting an older dog
Around the age of 1 and 2 years, dogs start reaching a social maturity. During this time, they start to abandon their heavily active and dependent puppy stage, and become more set in their ‘adult’ personality, which will most likely not change as they grow older. Adopting a dog that has already gone through this development makes it easier for a new owner to quickly get used to their behaviour. There are plenty of peaceful older dogs who are trained but are desperately looking for human companionship.
Ensure you can address health issues
Anything can happen when it comes to your dog’s well-being. You cannot possibly be well prepared in advance for every health issue your dog may end up experiencing. But visiting a veterinarian for regular check-ups, as well as wellness exams to prevent and detect disease, is an absolute must. Only seriously consider adopting a dog if you have the sufficient time, money and resources to properly look after their health and wellness.
Have the whole family on board
Take into account the make up of your family. This goes without saying, especially if you have small children. Adopt a dog that will be compatible with all your family members. Be sure to involve the whole family in taking care of the newest addition to your clan. Older children can benefit hugely from this because, apart from teaching them valuable skills that they will find useful for the rest of their lives, it will be perfect for the new dog to have energetic playmates when you’re too tired or busy.
Ask the shelter workers for advice
You’ve taken everything into consideration, and have decided to make your way to the rescue shelter. A wide-eyed cutie captures your heart, but you’re not sure how to go about making sure the adoption is successful. Ask as many questions as you can to their carers, and be open to their suggestions. After all, they are the ones who have taken in that dog and raised it. Communicating with them will ensure a smooth transition for your dog from the shelter to your home. Also, be sure to educate yourself and do your research before making the big decision.
A dog can definitely be a man’s best friend. But for a dog to give you its utmost loyalty and trust, it needs a safe and loving environment. Finding the right balance between maintaining your lifestyle, and adjusting parts of your life to properly care for your pet, is essential for a dog to settle into a new home with ease.
Ready to welcome an adorable pooch into your life? Get in contact with either of these 14 Animal Associations, or with any of the following 7 Animal Rescue & Services, all listed on www.yellow.com.mt!
Now you can start planning your amazing journey of adopting a dog that fits your lifestyle like a glove. Good luck!