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How to navigate the world of dog adoption

BY Dr Jo Myers

26th Sep 2023 Inspire

11 min read

How to navigate the world of dog adoption
If you're interested in adopting a dog that badly needs a good home but you're not if it's right for you, then this guide will help, with personal factors to consider before adopting your new pet
The bond between humans and dogs is truly remarkable, with dogs often playing the roles of therapists, personal trainers, and beloved family members. In the UK alone, there are approximately 13 million canine companions, a testament to the deep connection we share with these wonderful creatures.
So, how can we give back to dogs the way they give back to us? One simple answer—considering adoption.
"How can we give back to dogs the way they give back to us? One simple answer—considering adoption"
Adoption can seem daunting, with many animals needing a bit more attention and training when they have come from a tumultuous background. However, this is absolutely far from being a common case.
If you’re interested in adopting a dog, but are afraid it might not work for you, look no further. Dr Jo Myers from Vetster has shared detailed guidance on dog adoption below and personal factors to evaluate before entering your adoption journey.

Adopt a dog that is compatible with your family and home

A family visit a dog in a shelter to consider adopting
Each animal has a different temperament and personality. Certain breeds are prone to specific health problems, and not every individual from a given breed will have predictable personality traits.
Dr Myers, says "One of the best ways to learn more about what a dog is like, is to spend time with them before adoption. Visit them in the shelter multiple times and bring the whole family. Fostering is a great option that provides an opportunity to learn even more about what the dog will be like after settling in,".

Ask yourself these questions

You should ask yourself the following questions to ascertain whether adopting a dog is right for you, and if so, which dog  will suit your lifestyle. For example, if you are time poor, adopting a dog that may have additional needs probably won’t be right for you.
  • Will you be able to provide quality care and time for your dog  (for life)?
  • Do you have the space for this type of dog?
  • Do you have children old enough to learn how to treat animals with the care and respect they need to avoid any dangerous interactions?
  • Do you already own a dog? What will you do if your new addition and loyal companion don’t get along?
  • Are you prepared for a dog that may develop health issues and require ongoing maintenance?
  • Are you or anyone in your house allergic to certain types of dog?
  • If there are children in the home, will the adults be able to manage the increased headcount?

Calculate the costs

Next, you’ll need to ask yourself if you can afford the extra expenses of owning a dog .
Adoption costs vary between pets and shelters, but expect to pay between £150-£200 adoption fees on average for a dog, including vaccinations and microchipping.
"It typically costs around £2,000 per year to take care of a dog"
Routine pet expenses will be necessary, such as food, grooming and insurance—you should research yearly costs for your dog . For example, it typically costs around £2,000 per year to take care of a dog.
Can you afford to travel with your dog, or book a kennel or pet sitter?

Consider a senior dog

Older woman hugging a senior dog in an autumnal woodland
Whilst a lot of us will make a B-line for puppies, you should consider the older dogs at the shelter for many reasons. Senior dogs are fully developed. You'll know their personality type and any grooming and health requirements.
"Bringing a senior dog into your family can be a way to rescue a pet who needs specialised care"
Unlike puppies, senior dogs are likely to be less active. They also tend to have more health concerns, so bringing a senior dog into your family can be a wonderful way to truly rescue a pet who needs specialised care.

Schedule a chat with a vet

Schedule an online vet appointment with Vetster to speak with a qualified professional to help guide you in your choice and share your thoughts and expectations of what you are looking for in a pet.
Then, once your new pet arrives, schedule an in-clinic vet appointment with your dog for an initial appointment to assess overall health and address any concerns you may have.
Banner credit: David Baileys

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