Adopting a dog is a serious commitment that involves the entire family. Whether it’s your first dog, or you are a long-time dog owner, there are things to think about ahead of time which will impact the success of transitioning your adopted dog into your family.

It's important that the entire family is on the same page as far as how to raise that pooch to become a well-trained and happy dog. Here are five things to consider before starting the search for your new furry family member.

Purchase or Adoption?

While it might be your first inclination to seek out a breeder, or go to a pet store that sells dogs, consider the millions of dogs waiting for a good home in dog shelters. From puppies to adult dogs of all ages, you’ll be able to find a dog that will be a good fit for your family. Adoption from a dog shelter will not only save a dog’s life, it will make you feel good.

Puppy or Adult Dog?

Consider the characteristics that would make a good fit for your home. Do you want a dog with high energy, or more of a couch potato? Do you want a dog that craves human attention or one that tends to be more independent? Does anyone in the family have allergies to pet dander? All these considerations will help you decide which breeds would be a good match.

Puppies can be very demanding for the first two years or so. If you think that an adult dog may make more sense for you, talk to the staff at the animal shelter about the many dogs available. Find out about their temperament, behaviors and personality. If you want to cuddle your dog, make sure you get one that likes being held or hugged. They can also tell you about their energy levels and how they interact with other dogs or cats.

The Right Environment

Picking the right breed is very important, but consider the environment as well. If you have a large yard, a high-energy breed could be a good fit, as long as you have the time and energy to keep him well exercised. If you’re in an apartment or condo, a smaller or medium size dog with less energy is probably a better fit.

What’s the level of chaos at your home? Some dogs don’t handle a high level of noise, while others are better at adapting to high-energy households. If you have small children, you’ll want to consider breeds that are patient, protective and have a level temperament.

Related: Best Dog Breeds for Families with Children

The Right Time

Once you bring your new dog home, he will look to you for a life-long commitment of love and security. Do you have the time to give him the attention he will need – walking, training, etc.? Do you have the financial means available should he get sick? Are you expecting a baby soon, or planning a vacation?

You’ll want to introduce your new pup at a time when there are not a lot of interruptions or new things going on in your household. Dogs thrive on schedule and routine. Any changes will cause him a lot of stress and anxiety, which can lead to insecurity and digestive issues, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

The Right Supplies

Scout out the best pet shops in your area and get your shopping done before bringing your dog home. You’ll want to make sure you are getting products for your dog’s life stage – puppy vs adult dog. Some necessary things to have include:

  • A dog carrier of appropriate size
  • Bowls for food and water
  • A bed and accessories
  • Soft collar/head halter and ID tags
  • Leashes – short one for training, longer one for walking
  • Safe toys
  • Grooming tools
  • Pet-safe cleaning supplies

Related: Pet-Safe Cleaning Products

This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, a provider of a new line of freeze-dried bland diets for your dog. Your newly adopted dog may have digestive upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, when they first come home. A bland diet is often recommended to help soothe their digestive system until they return to normal. This freeze-dried product requires no cooking, just add water!

Under the Weather is also an avid supporter of finding homes for shelter dogs. We finance the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund to cover the transport cost of bringing dogs from overpopulated kill shelters to Vermont for adoption. A portion of every dollar in sales is channeled to supporting this cause as well as financing the spaying and neutering fees of shelter animals. Get to know more about Ruffy.

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