If you're looking to bring a puppy into your life, the adoption route is an excellent way to go. By adopting a puppy you get all the benefits of raising a puppy, plus the feel good of providing a home to an animal in need. There's a lot of steps to follow from the point that you decide to adopt a puppy, to the point that your puppy gets acclimated to your home.
To help you navigate the puppy-adoption process, we wanted to put together a guide of the various components involved in puppy adoption.
Where to Adopt a Puppy?
Naturally, the first step to adopting a puppy is to locate where to do so. There's a wide variety of shelters and animal rescues where you can adopt pets, and puppies in particular. Do some research in your area and come up with a list of places that do pet adoption. The Humane Society and local shelters are a great place to start your search.
Once you have that list, you can contact the staff and ask about their puppy inventory. Depending on the location, there could be a variety of puppy breeds available or only one or two to choose from. Spring is a particular popular time for puppy adoption, so if you'd like to have a variety to select from spring would be an ideal time to do so. No matter what breed of puppy you adopt, with the right training, love, and care, you'll enjoy a wonderful long relationship with your puppy.
Once you've identified the location and precise puppy you want to adopt, there's usually an interview process that the shelter or rescues will conduct to make sure you and the puppy are a compatible fit. Some of the questions that are asked include:
Your housing situation.
Certain dogs will do better in certain home environments. For example, larger breeds of dogs require plenty of room to roam around, so if an adopter lives in a small studio apartment, that's not the best fit.
Age of children in your home.
Some dogs do better with children than others.
The number and type of other pets you may own.
All dogs have unique personalities. Some personalities make socialization to other pets easy, others are more difficult.
Your previous experience with pets.
Not having pet experience will not bar you from being able to adopt a puppy. They will just ask you this question to see if there are some other pieces of information about raising a puppy you should know before bringing one home.
Budget for Puppy Care
Providing a wonderful home full of love and happiness is essential for a puppy to live a long and healthy life, but so to are visits to the vet, vaccinations, and spaying. The shelter or rescue that you are adopting a puppy from will want to ensure that you're aware of the subsequent cost of puppy ownership. They'll provide you with an approximate estimate of the costs in your puppy's future, and help you carve out a budget. A great way to mitigate vet costs and have a more concrete puppy care budget is by getting pet insurance for your puppy.
Getting Your Home Ready for a Puppy
Once you've decided to adopt a puppy and have found a shelter or rescues to do so, it's time to prepare your home for their arrival. The first thing you'll want to do is get supplies that your puppy is going to depend on. Bedding, food and water dishes, puppy-formulated food, treats, crate, safe toys, toothbrush and paste, leash, collar, grooming supplies, and any pet-specific cleaners. All of this can be found at your local pet store.
Once you've got your puppy supplies, it's time to puppy proof your home. Puppy proofing requires pet owners taking steps at home to keep your puppy safe from a number of potential household threats. This includes toxins such as bleach, rat poison, slug bait, or antifreeze. Ensure that none of these things can be accessed by your puppy. Make sure all of your trash is secure and fastened, as all the smelly items inside your trash will make your puppy want to dig around. Pick up clothing and small toys or other objects that may be accidentally ingested by the new dog. Take a look at your home's electrical cables and make sure they're not exposed. Puppies love to chew things, and chewing on an electrical cable is dangerous for them. Also, make sure medications, poisonous plants, and other harmful items in your home are out of reach for your puppy.
Find a Vet Before You Adopt
Before you go and adopt your puppy, find a vet in your area that can serve as your puppy's primary veterinary service. Your puppy will need to have a regular vet for their vaccinations and check ups, but you also need to know where to take your puppy if something unforeseen happens. Unfortunately, accidents happen. If your puppy accidentally eats something, cuts themself, or is sick, you'll want to know exactly where to take them to get urgent medical care.
You also want to get as much medical history as you can about your puppy when you adopt him. Not all puppies will have a complete medical background, as pups are sometimes brought to shelters and rescues without prior information. When you take your puppy to the vet for the first time, which you should do in the first week that you have your puppy if possible, your vet will ask for any medical history you have for your puppy.
Regardless of whether you have medical history for your pup or not, you'll want to keep a paper record of every vet visit you make with your puppy. Most vets will keep a file for your puppy, but it's always nice to keep a file for yourself just in case. Be wary of online scams that will try and mislead you about purchasing a puppy. It's always recommending to seek out licensed and regulated shelters and rescues for puppy adoption, instead of an unverified online source.
Ask the Shelter or Rescue Pertinent Questions
The more information you can get about your puppy, the better. Ask the shelter or rescue the following questions to help your puppy's transition.
- Birthdate if known or approximate age
- Size and information about your puppy's parents
- Vaccination history
- Any medical issues since your puppy has been at the shelter or rescue
- Is the puppy currently on medication of any kind
- Have they been tested or treated for worms
- Has he been microchipped? If so, get the paperwork so you can register him.
- Has your puppy had fleas or been treated for fleas
- What has she/he been eating? You may want to ask for a sample or buy a bag of that food. Many dogs get diarrhea from an abrupt change.
Pet Insurance For Your Puppy
Once you've found a puppy to adopt, set up your house, found a vet, and asked the pertinent questions, you'll be all set do bring your little pup home. Soon after you do, it'll be time for you to begin potty training your puppy and socializing your puppy.
As we mentioned earlier, it's imperative that you take your puppy to a vet shortly after bringing him home. Many dogs don't like the vet experience - from the drive to the vet's office, to the strange smells and other animals they meet there. While you're driving to the vet, talk to your puppy with a calming voice and make sure to give them plenty of love both before, during, and after their vet visit.
Some pet owners, understandably, try to avoid the vet due to the hefty costs that accompany bringing your puppy in. That's where pet insurance comes in handy. Pet insurance provides pet owners with the freedom to make veterinary decisions without stressing the financial implications. Learn why most vets recommend pet insurance to pet owners.