Dog Adoption Guide

The decision to adopt a dog requires a great deal of thought about time commitment, resources and affection by the potential adopters. Before making a decision about adopting a dog, you should think carefully about whether or not you are really ready to adopt and which breed will best suit your lifestyle.

Things to Consider

Dogs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, temperaments and personalities, so it is important to take the time to identify the traits and characteristics that will best fit your lifestyle. A good starting place is to research the various dog breeds to get a better understanding of which dog could be a good match. The first instinct of many is to adopt a puppy. Puppies are cute and playful, but are you ready to for their endless energy and dedicating your time to training a new puppy? If so, you may be ready for a puppy. Many people have a misconception that mature dogs have bad habits, but many dogs end up in the shelter due to a change in the living situation of the owner. Many mature dogs already know basic commands, are house broken and sometimes crate trained.

Dog Breeds

For more information on dog breeds go to:

Size and Space

Think about the size of your home and yard and whether or not it can accommodate a large dog or be better suited for a smaller dog. If you rent, does your landlord permit pets, and if so are there any size or breed restrictions? Is the yard fenced? If not, consider how frequently you would need to walk your pet to use the bathroom and get exercise.


If there are children in the home or if your potential new pet will be in contact with children, this should be taken into consideration. Some dogs are not well-suited to being in a home with children. Other things to consider are larger dogs could accidentally injure a child while roughhousing or a child could accidentally injure a small dog by stepping on it. Regardless of the animal’s temperament and past history with children, young children should never be left unsupervised with any dogs.

Other Pets

Are there other pets in the household? If so, how would the current pets react to a new dog in their home? It is important to know the history of the pet you are about to adopt. Did they live with cats before? Dogs?

Activity Level

It’s important to recognize different dog breeds have different activity levels and daily requirements for exercise. Before adopting, you should be realistic and assess how much time you have available to go on walks or do other activities with your new pet. Many breeds require room to run so, if you enjoy hiking or jogging, an athletic or high-energy dog would be best for you.

Coat Care

There are a variety of coat types and lengths in the various dog breeds. Be familiar with the type of coat your potential dog has. Short-haired dogs shed just as much as long-haired dogs; however, they usually require less grooming. Dogs with thick and/or long coats have the tendency to develop mats which would require regular trips to a dog groomer. Also, does anyone in the household suffer from allergies to animals? Some breeds, such as poodles, are known to produce less dander which is what people are allergic to.


Before adopting, it is important that you and the family meet the dog and spend some time with it. When interacting with the dog, be sure to pay attention to the various aspects of his/her personality. Is the dog playful? Does it enjoy playing and fetching? Is it overly shy or overly outgoing? Does it enjoy being petted? It is important to recognize that animals entering a shelter arrive with little background information. This is why it is essential to spend time with a dog to learn its temperament before adopting.

Financial Considerations

Do you have the financial resources to care for the dog, whether it be basic care or if the animal becomes ill? Owning a dog requires more than providing him/her with food, water and shelter. You need to think about whether or not you would be able to pay veterinary bills if your dog has a medical emergency or requires long-term medical treatment.


Do you and your family travel regularly? If so, how will you provide care for your dog when you are out of town? Whether you plan on boarding your pet or traveling with them, consider how your new pet would cope with either of these situations.