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.