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Tips for Adopting a Shelter Dog


So you have been thinking about adding man’s best friend to the family by adopting a shelter dog. While there are many benefits to owning a pet, there are also a lot of duties and responsibilities involved with taking care of and providing for your dog. With the right planning and consideration, adopting a shelter dog can be a fun and exciting experience as you add a new member to the family. Here are some tips for adopting from your local shelter:

Create a monthly budget for the pet

Despite being considerably cheaper than buying a purebred, adopting a dog often requires money up front for the vaccination and administration costs involved with the shelter. In addition, pets do have a monthly cost involved with food, shots, medicine, toys, treats, and other pet accessories. Create a realistic budget that includes products that you have to buy and are likely to buy like dog beds or kennels. Especially if you are going to be adopting a breed of dog that is prone to certain diseases or conditions, consider budgeting to keep your pet safe and healthy.

Buy supplies ahead of time

When you are ready to adopt a dog and know which kind you want, buy all of the supplies that you will need up front. You will need supplies like leashes for walking, treats for training, daily food, and puppy pads for potty training. If you buy all of these supplies before you bring the dog home for the first time it will be a much easier transition from no pet to full-time pet. This will end up being a bigger adjustment than you might initially expect

Give yourself time

When you are in a dog shelter and looking at all the cute little puppies that are begging for attention and love, it can be tempting to walk out that day with a new pet. Since adopting a dog is a big responsibility, give yourself plenty of time to think it through and make sure that it is something you actually want and are ready to do. If you still want to adopt a dog after a few visits, then you know that you are ready.

Research breeds and shelters

It is important to know all of the details of what you are getting into with both the breed of the dog and the benefits of the shelter you are adopting from. When you are looking at various breeds of dogs, write them down and research them so that you know if the dog matches your personality. Some shelters offer unique tests that match you with certain types of dogs that will be the best fit for your lifestyle.

Many shelters will provide shots and other additions like collars, leashes, and even the first month of food. Research various shelters in your area to find the best match to take care of your new rescue dog.

When you are considering adopting a shelter dog, the most important factor and tip that you should consider is if you really want the responsibility. Taking care of a pet can be very rewarding as you are responsible for the health and happiness of another sentient being.

Rob Toledo is an all-things-dog advocate, recommends considering dog insurance, and urges you to adopt your next furry companion from a local shelter. He one day hopes to have a yard big enough for at least 10 dogs.

Photo by Cierra Voelkl on Unsplash


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).


  1. Thanks a lot for giving such wonderful tips !!! There are hundreds of dogs available in shelters and it is important to take care of these dogs first. Requesting that all the dog lover’s to please consider dog adoption instead of buying a new dog !! Please give a home to a homeless animal !!!

  2. I was going to buy a dog at the pet store and now going with my husband tomorrow to the pet shelter to rescue a dog. I do think a lot of people don’t know enough about the dogs they buy or assume the responsiblity. It also saddens me to see there are dogs that are 2 years + for sale.

  3. If you are thinking of getting a new dog please read this and then visit your local shelter 🙂 So many dogs need good homes right now – but you have to think about it responsibly first!

  4. Great tips and info….another suggestion in adopting..mixed breed dogs in many instances are healthier, have less health issues……sometimes Nature takes care of problems….sometimes breeders overbreed. An older dog will usually be housebroken……and has other training as well…meaning less issues to work on….more play time for u and ur new buddy!

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!