Zen and the Art of Dog

Questions To Ask When Adopting A Dog

So you’ve decided to adopt a dog!

That’s wonderful. You won’t find a more grateful creature than an abandoned pup brought home.

You aren’t just getting a dog- you are growing your family by one.

There are some important questions that you might consider asking the shelter staff or the foster parents before you take the puppy home. Every dog deserves a home but you want to try to pick a dog that best fits your lifestyle.

So here are five important questions to ask when adopting a dog.

Why was this dog abandoned?

Unfortunately the shelter won’t always know the answer to this. I’ve found that they usually don’t.

Denver was a transfer to Chicago from a shelter in Tennessee, so the shelter staff didn’t know anything about his past.

Benji was found wandering as a stray alongside a highway in Colorado when he was brought to the shelter in Denver.

We know Chloe’s sad story. It has a happy ending, though- now she spends her days snuggling on the couch with her bros.

Even though the shelter may not know the dog’s past it’s important to ask what they do know. Any information they have can give important clues to what the dog’s behavior and temperament might be like when you bring them home.

Can I take the dog for a walk?

The best advice I can give a prospective dog owner is this: it’s not really the breed of the dog that determines its happiness- it’s the quality of the relationship it has with you.

The best thing you can do is start building that relationship at the shelter. Spend as much time getting to know the dog as you can before bringing them home.

I would suggest even volunteering with the shelter and getting to know their routines for the dogs.

All of this will make the transition into home life much easier.

Is the dog a chewer?

One of the most common reasons a dog is returned is due to anxious destruction. This is a terrible situation where the dog is caught in a cycle of negativity where the more anxious they are the more destructive they become and the less attention from potential owners they get (which increases their anxiety).

If you aren’t able to spend much time with the dog my advice is to ask about this. If you are unwilling to go through the growing pains of anxious destruction it’s best to look at a different pup.

Does this dog need a special diet?

This is especially important if you are considering a senior dog that has dietary restrictions or bad teeth. Special dog food can get really expensive.

Along the same line, you should also ask:

Does this dog have any health problems?

Veterinary care is generally expensive than human health care (at least in the US) but it can still be very costly. It’s worth asking and considering this.

So those are the four most important questions to ask when adopting a dog!

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