October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month


Tips for choosing the right dog for you and your family:

·         Choose a dog that will fit in with your lifestyle

o   Things to consider are the dog’s size, exercise needs, energy level, friendliness and compatibility with children, strangers and other pets.

o   Do you live in an apartment, condo or house? It’s also good to consider your housing situation especially if you’re interested in a large breed dogs


·         Age differences

o   Are you interested in a puppy? Have you considered everything a puppy needs?

§  Is someone home during the day to train and socialize the puppy?

§  Who will be responsible for taking the puppy out in the morning and during the night?

§  Puppies need to be fed three to four times a day and go out often immediately after eating or drinking.

§  Accidents inside happen as they are being housebroken. 

o   Many older dogs (meaning not puppy age) have some basic training and can be left alone for longer times.


·         Don’t rely on first impressions alone

o   You can’t often get a good feel for a dog’s real personality in a shelter environment.  Some dogs can get overstimulated by the number of other animals and/or noise in the shelter environment. This may cause dogs to bark excessively.

o   Don’t overlook quieter dogs. They may not appear to be vying for your attention but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a good fit for you and your family.


·         Talk to shelter staff

o   Since they interact with the shelter dogs daily, they would have the best knowledge about the dog you’re interested in.

o   Visiting the shelter frequently allows the shelter staff to get to know you and your family and help figure out which dog would work best with your lifestyle.


·         Ask to see the dog outside the kennel area

o   Ask if you could take them for a walk outside the shelter

o   Ask to visit with the dog in a quiet visiting room


·         Visit more than one shelter

o   Compare the shelters

§  Are they clean?

§  Are the staff friendly?

§  Are they willing to help?

·         Consider costs

o   The ASPCA estimates the annual cost of care for a dog, including pet insurance, is as follows:  

§  $737.00 annually for a small dog

§  $894.00 annually for a medium dog

§  $1,040.31 annually for a large dog 

§  This does not include initial costs including adoption or fees, beds, crates, leashes, collars, harnesses, toys, food/water bowls and other items needed to bring your new doggy home


·         Keep in mind the dog you pick will be with you for many years.