Adopting a Dog Made Simple

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1 Adopting a Dog Made Simple The 7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Adopting a Dog Advice and support from the veterinarians and staff at The Pet Concierge, Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care

2 Pitfalls to Avoid When Adopting a Dog 1. Avoid getting the wrong breed of dog for your lifestyle. Each breed has their own characteristics that may or may not work for you. Do your homework and research the breed that will be best for your family. A rescue dog or a mixed breed may be a great choice. 2. Before adopting your new dog, make sure you have enough time (like a long weekend) for you and the dog to get acclimated to each other. 3. Be sure your living situation works for your new dog. A large dog needs much more space for exercise and playtime than a smaller dog. 4. Consider if you or your family members have allergies or health problems that would prevent you from taking care of your new dog. 5. Think about whether a grown dog or puppy is right for you. Puppies need a lot of extra time and attention while they are growing. 6. Be sure to know exactly who will be responsible for the overall care of the pet. Be clear on who will feed, water and walk the dog on a daily basis. Who will make sure he is brushed? Who responsible to clean up of the dog makes a mess? These are all aspects to consider when adopting a dog. 7. Adopting a dog is a financial commitment. Be sure you have the resources to provide food and the veterinary care needed throughout their lives. Adopting A Dog Made Simple 2

3 Thinking About Adopting a Dog? Wonderful! The bond shared between humans and their canine companions is as rewarding as it is unique. Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group can be a fantastic means of introducing a new companion into your life. Whether you are adopting a dog for the first time, or simply looking to add another member to the family, adopting a dog can be a big decision. Asking yourself the following questions can help to ensure the right fit for you and your new companion. Adopting A Dog Made Simple 3

4 Why do I want to adopt a Dog? Our canine companions have earned the reputation for being man s best-friend. Dogs share a close bond with their owners, and it is this bond that many potential adopters are looking for. Dogs can be exercise partners or fellow couch potatoes. They are highly trainable and come in all shapes and sizes. Recognizing your reasons for wanting to adopt will help guide your decision-making during the adoption process. Many shelters and rescue groups are full of adoptable dogs that have been looking for homes for months or more. In some instances, adopting a dog can also mean saving the life of your new companion. Is adopting a Dog right for me? When considering adopting a dog, be sure to take other pets and family members into consideration. A new addition can prove to be quite an adjustment for existing pets. Some dogs and cats do not get along well with other pets, and it may be beneficial to expose them to other dogs first to see how they might respond. All dogs require some degree of exercise, and although the exact amount will vary based on the age and breed of dog, it is important to realize that a certain amount of time must be allocated on a daily basis to care for your dog. Young children or family members with allergies may also make the addition of a new pet challenging. If you or anyone in your home has a compromised immune system, check with your physician to make sure it is safe to bring a dog into your home. Adopting A Dog Made Simple 4

5 Do I have appropriate housing? Dogs can adapt to a variety of home environments, and appropriate housing for each dog will vary based on size and energy level. All dogs need a space to relieve themselves on a regular basis. Access to a park or yard can be helpful, and some dogs can be trained to urinate and defecate on disposable pads or artificial grass indoors or on a balcony. Some leases, homeowner associations, and local ordinances forbid certain dog breeds. Be sure to check into any restrictions prior to adopting. A certain amount of dog-proofing is also necessary prior to brining a dog into a new home. Garbage cans and easily accessible food items may be too tempting for some dogs to resist. Fragile or valuable items should also be kept well out of reach. Identifying common household toxins is an important part of keeping your new dog safe. Check out the ASPCA pet poison control website for more information. Click Here to go directly to their website. Adopting A Dog Made Simple 5

6 Am I ready to take on the life-long commitment? In many cases, the decision to adopt a dog equates to a 10-plus-year commitment. While it is impossible to know what the future may hold, a prospective owner should recognize that changes in housing, locations, work schedules, etcetera, may all impact a person s ability to provide care and housing for a canine companion. If you are planning on a extended vacation next year, or are looking for new housing after your lease is up, it may be best to wait until you are more stably situated to consider adoption. Am I prepared for the costs of keeping a Dog healthy and well cared for? Adoption fees make up only a small part of the overall cost of a new dog. Providing adequate nutrition and regular vet visits can add up over time. Unforeseen health problems and emergencies can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Pet health insurance can help keep health costs low. Regular check ups are also a great option for keeping health costs low, as they can help you and your veterinarian to prevent disease or detect disease in it s early stages when it can be most easily treated. Adopting A Dog Made Simple 6

7 What age/breed of Dog am I looking for? Many shelters find it easier to match homes for younger dogs, so an older dog can be a wonderful not to mention grateful addition to any home. While an older dog may require less exercise and training than a younger dog, it may also come with its own personality quirks and health issues. Dogs of many different breeds and mixtures of breeds are available at shelters and rescue organizations. If you have a particular breed in mind, do your homework to make sure it will be a good fit for you. Sporting and working breeds typically require more room for exercise. Longer haired breeds will generally require regular grooming and upkeep. Regardless of the breed, each dog is an individual that will have its own unique personality, just like you! Adopting A Dog Made Simple 7

8 Where should I look to adopt? County and city shelters can be great sources of dogs in need of forever homes. Rescue groups are also options. Families with young children or other pets may consider a dog that has been fostered with a family that can offer insight into the dog s temperament and preferences. Adopting a dog is a major decision, but one that can be a rewarding experience for years to come. Carefully evaluating your reasons for wanting to adopt, and recognizing your ability to effectively care for your new dog can help you to make the best decision possible. Adopting A Dog Made Simple 8

9 Top 9 Tips for New Dog Owners: Bringing Your Pup Home 1. Being a new pet owner can be challenging at times. As you get to know your dog better and as he/she gets to know you, remember that there are solutions to any obstacles you may encounter. Seek out trainers, veterinarians, & other qualified professionals for advice. Use your resources. Asking for help can reduce the anxiety of a new role. 2. The first thing you can do to prepare for your new dog is to buy all the necessary supplies in advance. Have the supplies ready before you pick up your new pooch. This will ease the transition. 3. Necessary supplies include the following: food and water bowls, nutritious and balanced food, a collar and leash, some chew toys, cleaning supplies, and a crate. When you go to the pet store, you can also get an ID tag with your dog s name and your phone number. 4. Remember that potty accidents are likely as your dog adjusts to his new home, even if he s housetrained. It s best to have cleaning supplies on hand that remove urine and debris and also neutralize odors. If your dog smells his urine in the carpet, further accidents are almost certain! 5. If possible, arrange your schedule so that you have a few days off with your new dog. This will give you a jumpstart in helping your dog learn the house rules from the very beginning. Keep in mind that your dog may not be socialized and may have bad habits. Close supervision can reduce damage to your household and will help you recognize problem areas to work on. Adopting A Dog Made Simple 9

10 Top 9 Tips for New Dog Owners: Bringing Your Pup Home 6. Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior early on. This can include using treats, petting, praising, or giving your dog a favorite toy. If you use treats, look for all natural treats without additives or preservatives. Make sure to reward good behavior within a few seconds of the act, or your dog may not associate the right act with the reward. Also be consistent with commands by designating short one word phrases that everyone in the family will use, like sit, come, and down. 7. If you confine your dog to one room, try to choose a room that is familyoriented or high traffic. The goal is to socialize your dog and help him acclimate to your household, not seclude him for long periods in a lonely area of the house. 8. You may decide to use crate training to house train your dog. Often a dog will not urinate in his den (crate), so crating teaches your dog to hold his urges until he s in a bathroom approved area. Be aware that you should never leave your dog in a crate for more than 4 hours. A crate isn t meant to be a form of punishment, but rather a safe, comfy den with fun toys inside. 9. Socialization time is crucial for developing appreciate social skills. Learning how to behave with other animals and other people will help them be a well-adjusted adult. Even before their vaccines are completed, make sure to introduce your puppy to other healthy dogs, puppies, cats, kids, etc. Do this in a safe environment such as your home or yard or other areas where there is no stray dog traffic. Busy places such as dog parks and sidewalks are too risky until vaccination is completed. Make sure to play it safe. Your veterinarian can help you if you have questions regarding vaccines and socialization strategies. Adopting A Dog Made Simple 10

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