Adding a dog to the family is an exciting time. But it’s also a long-term commitment that should be taken seriously. Rescue dogs are full of SO much love to give, but many of them have been through the heart-breaking experience of being abandoned or discarded already at least once in their lives. Before making the big decision ask yourself – Are you ready to adopt a rescue dog?
If the question has you feeling unsure, I’d like to help you come to a well-thought-out answer.
Take some time and work through the following questions. Be brutally honest with yourself. Even if you find that it isn’t the right time now, that doesn’t mean that it never will be. It just means that you are waiting until the time is right for both you and your future dog.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Adopt a Rescue Dog
#1 – Do You Have a Suitable Home Situation?
While some rescue organizations will require a specific type of home, especially for high-energy dogs like a Belgian Malinois or an Australian Cattle Dog, there are some general guidelines that you should consider before adopting any dog.
- Is your home situation stable?
- Do you know where you are going to be in the next 5, 10, or 15 years, or are you committed to finding a dog-friendly place if you do need to move?
- If you live with other people (spouse, children, roommate), is everyone on board with bringing home a new dog?
- Is your home safe for a dog in its current state (for example, it’s not currently undergoing major construction)?
#2 – Is There Room in Your Home for a Dog?
The amount of space needed will depend on the size of the dog you are considering and their energy levels. While some dogs are well suited to living in an apartment setting with a daily walk, others need more room to run and play to live happily.
- Is there space in your home for your dog’s basic needs like food dishes, a bed, and space to move about?
- If you are considering a high-energy dog, do you have a suitable yard space?
- If you don’t have a yard, are you prepared to provide your dog with the physical activity necessary for its unique needs?
- Will your dog have access to the full home? If not, is the space they will be allowed to enter suitable?
#3 – Are You Financially Prepared for a Dog?
There are some emergency situations that can come up, and we’re not here to judge that. But even the day-to-day care of a dog can get expensive. Consider the cost of quality food, annual veterinary appointments, vaccinations, flea and tick medication, and basic supplies like a collar or leash. Can you commit to providing for your dog’s needs with your current financial situation?
- Can you stay on top of basic veterinary care and procedures?
- Do you have a plan to provide proper nutrition for your dog?
- If you must go away for work, vacation, or a family emergency, do you have room in your budget for a dog sitter or kennel stay?
- In the event of an emergency, do you have a plan to provide life-saving care?
#4 – Does a Dog Fit into Your Lifestyle?
Bringing a dog into your life isn’t as simple as a hamster where you can find a safe location for a cage and be gone for hours on end. Your dog will need your time and attention on a daily basis. This includes feeding them throughout the day, playing with them, providing outdoor time, and, of course, giving them the love and affection that they need. That’s important too!
- Do you work long hours with no one at home? If so, are you prepared to hire a dog walker to come in each day?
- Do you have friends, family, or a roommate that will be helping with your dog’s daily care?
- Do you travel a lot to places that aren’t dog-friendly? If so, are you prepared to pay for kennel stays or dog sitters when you’re away from home?
- Are you a homebody that would rather sit on the couch than add more to your daily routine, or will you enjoy getting up and moving with your dog?
#5 – Are You Prepared to Tackle Training and Behavioural Issues?
Very rarely will you adopt a dog that is perfectly trained and behaved and never challenges you in any way. Instead, you need to be prepared to go into this relationship with your new pup with a willingness to work through any behavioural problems. The amount of training will depend on your dog’s age and previous training – a puppy will take a lot more commitment in this category than an older dog that has already learned basic obedience skills.
- Are you willing to attend training classes or work 1-on-1 with a trainer or behaviourist as needed for your dog?
- Will you commit time to your dog’s training daily, even if it’s just ongoing work to keep the commands fresh in their mind?
- If a behavioural concern arises, are you prepared to work through it with patience and understanding?
- Does the idea of a dog accidentally ruining or breaking something send you into fits of anger? If so, you may want to reconsider… Accidents happen!
If, after answering all these questions you feel as though you are prepared to make a commitment to your new dog for the rest of their life (however long that may be), then it sounds like this may be the perfect time to add to your family.
If not, don’t despair. You can get your ‘dog fix’ by volunteering with local shelters and rescue organizations walking dogs in your area or even working as a dog walker to make a little extra income until the time is right for you to take that step. Waiting will ensure that, when you do adopt a rescue dog, it’s a positive experience for everyone involved.
And remember, the unexpected can happen. This site is set up to try to cover just under $10,000 in vet expenses, after all! The best dog parents are those that prepare the best that they can for their dog’s care but are also willing to find a solution when needed. Your dog is relying on you!
What questions do you recommend potential dog parents ask themselves before they adopt a rescue dog?