Adopting a New Puppy? Go Through This Checklist First
The elation you feel simply snuggling up to a cute puppy can be soul-nourishing, but adopting one that you can snuggle with every single day for the years to come is even better.
That said, puppies are a major responsibility; not only do you want to consider some of the less-than-glamourous details, but you also want to make sure you’re adopting a pet that’s a good fit for your home and family. To help you find your canine soulmate, we’ve put together a little guide of pre-adoption considerations.
This is probably the most obvious factor to consider, but it’s also the most important and deserves a lot of weight. Not only should you consider what type of breed you’re most drawn to, but you should also consider which breed types (whether a mutt or purebred) will be able to live comfortably in your world.
For example, if you live in the desert, then a dog with a burly coat fit for Alaska isn’t ideal. And if you can’t give your Great Dane puppy (or any other large breed) a good-sized backyard to roam, it’s probably not a good lifestyle fit.
Physical exertion is also important to keep in mind. For instance, if you plan on hiking or jogging with your dog a lot, then a Chihuahua’s definitely not your best choice. Trying to force a smaller dog to exercise can result in other injuries like muscle sprains and bone fractures. Conversely, keep in mind that energetic dogs require lots of exercise and space; if you can’t provide it, medical conditions like heart disease, obesity, and anxiety can arise.
Certain breeds — including Beagles, Dachshunds, Australian shepherds, and Rottweilers — are also prone to certain health issues that are important to bear in mind. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t adopt these breeds, but you should ask your vet about any conditions your breed is more inclined to and how to prevent them from occurring and keep watchful eye.
Though breed plays a large role in a dog’s personality type, they still have nuanced traits that set them apart just like humans. Many of these distinct traits are present from birth, whether they’re mischievous, hyperactive, timid, a wallflower, or goofy. Pick a puppy with a temperament that complements your own.
Their Grooming Requirements
At the onset it may seem a trivial concern but trust us on this one. The fluffier the puppy, the more it will shed later in life. If you’re not keen on a high maintenance grooming schedule (and lots of vacuuming), choose pups that don’t shed much. You can usually tell if a puppy will shed minimally if their coat is smooth, short, curly, or wiry. Dogs that do shed a lot have longer hair — think collies, Siberian huskies, golden retrievers, and Pomeranians.
Their Current Health
Because their immune systems are fragile, puppies are especially prone to contracting bacterial infections and other diseases. These can be passed on through their mother at birth, picked up in cramped or unclean birthing conditions, or when they come into contact with a sick animal. Even the cleanest kennels and environments can have infections that spread like wildfire.
Most breeders and shelters routinely test puppies for common diseases and will alert any prospective pet parents of issues. Make sure you read all the notes and ask a lot of questions before moving forward with the adoption so you’re aware of any medical issues. (Note: if your pup has a cold that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t adopt them, but it does mean you’ll need to be more diligent in the coming months when it comes to vet visits and care.)
Even after you take your puppy home, it’s important to schedule routine veterinary checkups to prevent illnesses from developing.
Puppies may not have the longest history but understanding where they’ve come from and what they’ve been through so far — especially if you’re rescuing — is super important. For example, dogs that were picked up on the street might not have some of the inherent “manners” that other pups do. This isn’t a problem, but it does require some additional patience and nurturing.
Adopting a puppy is a life-changing decision that should be well considered. Make a checklist of your requirements, that way when you go to the shelter you won’t get overwhelmed by all the adorable options. Somewhere out there is your canine match made in heaven, so get out there and find your pup.