Dog Adoption 101: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Dog Adoption guide cover

If you’ve decided to adopt a dog instead of buying one, firstly, congratulations, and secondly, you are doing a noble cause that others must do as well to minimize the number of stray dogs on the streets and have a world where all the pups get to live in a loving household. Also, whenever a dog is bought from a store, a shelter dog loses its chance to find a decent home. Thankfully, more people are becoming aware of this, and you happen to be one of them. Perhaps you had to convince your partner how getting a dog is amazing and you will take good care of it. Now, finally, if you are ready to be a dog parent but are unaware of how to adopt a dog, here is a comprehensive guide on how to bring a dog into your family from a shelter.

How to Adopt a Dog?

Here’s a thorough explanation of the processes and other requirements that involve the adoption of a dog. Although you might be wondering it is an easy process and you won’t have to worry about much, there are some things you might be unfamiliar with, and this guide will help you. If you are already a dog owner, you might be aware of how to take care of a dog. Before bringing the new member, you should make sure you know how to introduce them to your current dog. Other than showering them with love and affection these are the ways on how to go on about adopting a dog. [1]Petakids

  • Before you visit the Shelter: Unless you find a dog on the streets and take it in, your best bet to adopt a dog is to visit a
    shelter; however, you must know what qualities are you looking for in a dog before adopting them. Just like humans, dogs have personalities, and each dog is unique. Although you may be aware of the behaviors of a particular breed, it is not certain that your adopted Fido will act similarly. What if in excitement you didn’t talk about Fido with the shelter and later you got to know that Fido loves chewing through plastic chairs? That’s exactly why one must have a thorough discussion about the dog before getting it. Additionally, you mustn’t set high standards for them because these are rescue dogs that lived a rough life and need all the love they can get. Finally, you must know if you want a puppy, a senior dog, or a healthy adult, and will your lifestyle cater to their needs? Lastly, you should also keep this in mind whether you have kids or elderly people in your family. Although it brings a noble feeling when you decide to go out and adopt a shelter dog, when you reach the shelter, sometimes, you may be overwhelmed after seeing lots of dogs who are desperately seeking your attention towards them as if they are asking you to take all of them with you at home, and it may hurt you as you feel helpless to adopt all of them.

    Dog shelter adoption

    A pack of dogs in a shelter

  • Some Technicalities: In the past, adopting process was fairly straightforward, you’d simply visit a rescue shelter, pick a dog, and within an hour, be on your merry way with your new dog; however, this process had cons as it didn’t give the dog owner a chance to understand the dog’s personality and caused stress later down the road. Now, things are different to minimize the stress and hurting to both the dogs and the families because in the obsolete method dogs used to be taken in without any thought, while the families used to be loving the environment was strictly against the dogs’ characteristics and they’d end up in a bad situation and had to be returned to the shelter yet again. So in order to get rid of such pain, now you must fill in an application form for obvious reasons. Then you must have your household checked if it is suitable for the dog if they have a supply of fresh water and how the living conditions for the dog would be and based on those you’d be allowed to adopt one. Finally, you must pay adoption fees and have the pet sterilized. This last one might be having you scratching your head because on one hand you have shelters advertising how badly they want you to adopt a dog and on the other they want you to pay a fee, this is because the adoption process requires them to sterilize the dog and you are paying for this process. Because nobody wants unnecessary litter, as we must take care of existing dogs first and if shelters run out of room, they have no choice but to put down the dog.

    Dog digging adoption

    Dog digging a hole in the backyard

  • Financial Situation: Without a doubt, you have all the love in the world you are willing to give to your dog, and of course, that is the reason why you have visited the shelter in the first place. However, you must be aware of your financial situation as well, all of your love would mean nothing if you are unable to feed the dog. Although you should plan a separate budget for a dog each month, sometimes, this budget may fluctuate owing to some emergent situations like any serious health issue with your dog. Similar to us, they require bathing with recommended products, high-quality food, toys that they can play with, grooming, and so on. Therefore, one must ensure that they are capable of providing all of these things to the dog, otherwise, it wouldn’t matter if you adopted a dog because it will only continue to have a life full of struggles.

    Dog finances adoption

    A pomeranian posing with bags of money

  • Dog Tags and Microchipping your dog: At the end of the day, these little fluffy bundles of joys are animals, and they love to run around whenever there is a chance, and more often than not, they are likely to be roaming around and wander off. These things happen, and you never know when or if your dog will get lost, and unlike humans, they can’t even call for help or tell someone about you. To avoid all the misery and distress, it is essential that you must get collars with the name of your dog and at least two contact numbers printed on them in the case of an emergency so that someone might be able to notify you. Another great way to make sure you won’t lose the track of your loving companion is to get them microchipped, it is a simple process in which a vet can add a microchip to your dog, and this way, if they happen to get lost, they can be scanned to determine which family they belong to. Don’t worry, the chip is just slightly larger than a grain of rice, but this saves all the trouble on having to go through to find your dog.

    Microchip scanning adoption

    A dog being scanned for a microchip

  • Boundaries and Training: Now, you have your loving dog at your place, and your natural response would be to simply cuddle up with them and just attack them with your kisses. Although it is amazing to do that, prior to that, you must set boundaries and train them properly. It is essential that you must reward their good behavior, so they get motivated and positive attributes to get reinforced in them, and they continue to act that way. Also, discipline them (not attacking or locking them in a crate) when they perform bad behavior. In addition to training them, you must also set certain boundaries and teach them that you are in charge as dogs don’t know they are being adopted, and your family wouldn’t mean anything to them unless you treat them the way they understand. Once both of these aspects are well incorporated, your new dog will adapt nicely to the new environment, and if you have already owned a dog, you should try to introduce your new pooch to the old one gradually, and if possible, it should be done under professional supervision, so you can have both dogs living nicely under one roof.

    Dog training adoption

    A dog during a training session

  • Grooming and Cleaning: Just like us, dogs require cleaning as well, and you will be surprised to know that most people simply ignore these needs and wonder why their good boy/girl is getting sick. Among all of these, dental health takes priority, and it is important for their overall health because remember we brush our teeth first thing in the morning and dogs require it as well, and not to mention, they chew on various items, so they require it even more. Introduce brushing slowly and gradually to them with positive reinforcement by simply giving them a treat. After brushing, nails are the second thing that you have to watch out for. Although it is true that their nails are there to serve a purpose, in a household, their nails can get broken, get stuck to something which causes them pain or could simply get so big that they have trouble walking. You can either do it yourself regularly or visit a vet once a month and let professionals take care of it. Lastly, the bathing and brushing; although it is true that dogs do not require regular baths, in case they happen to have any sort of skin condition, it becomes important to bathe them. As for brushing, it can be done daily, not only does it allow you to see any pesky ticks hiding in the fur of your dog but also to bond with them, plus they get to look fabulous.

    Bathing a dog

    A golden retriever getting a bath

Ultimately, it comes down to communication and understanding your dogs’ needs to get them a fulfilling life. As for the adoption, it is a simple process, but one must be certain that they are aware of what they are getting into as owning a dog is a lot of responsibility, and they are basically your fur child and need a similar amount of attention.


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