Things To Consider Before You Adopt A Dog [Ultimate Guide] | PUPPYFAQS

Things to Consider Before You Adopt a Dog [Ultimate Guide]

things to consider before adopting a rescue dog

You have decided that you want to adopt a dog, what a beautiful thing to do. The best thing anyone can do when they are looking to invite a furry new member to the family is to consider rescuing a dog. 

There are so many positive aspects of adopting a dog, and I am sure that you have thought about all of these things already. 

Therefore, in this article, we are going to look at what to consider before you adopt a dog so that you can make an informed and sensible decision, and hopefully provide a loving forever home for a rescue dog to live out the rest of its life.

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In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • Are you truly ready for a dog?
  • Is adopting a rescue dog a good idea?
  • Have you owned a dog before?
  • The health history of a rescue dog can be a bit of a mystery
  • Are you prepared to deal with a rescue dog’s fears & phobias?
relaxed dog

Are You Truly Ready For A Dog?

When you invite a dog into your family, it is going to change your life forever. It is vital, to be honest about how prepared you are for this massive change. 

This is especially relevant when adopting a rescue dog because these dogs have already had a rough start in life, and you are their second chance. 

If you are not genuinely ready for a dog, then the chances are that the dog’s future isn’t going to look quite so rosy.

There are loads of amazing things to look forward to, because owning a dog is a beautiful and rewarding experience, but have you thought about all of the adjustments you will have to make in your life?

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Here are three things to think about:

  1. Is everyone in the household on board with the idea of adopting a dog? If there is just one member of the family who isn’t fully committed to being a dog owner, this can put a lot of strain on everyone else. You might want to consider taking some more time for that person to come round to the idea.
  2. Is there someone who is 100% committed to giving the dog everything it needs? There needs to be at least one person who is dedicated to providing the dog with daily exercise, training, and routine, and they need to be dedicated and enthusiastic, even if it means they are taking on the brunt of the responsibility. A dog needs consistency, and there should be at least one person who is willing to provide that, no matter what.
  3. Are you willing to sacrifice or workaround some things? Dog owners don’t have as many luxuries as people without dogs. For example, they can’t go into certain stores, cafes, or some friends’ houses when they have a dog with them. It can be tricky to go away on holidays because of the added expense or stress of putting the dog into kennels, or trying to find pet-friendly hotels and pet-friendly holiday activities.

There are, of course, many more things to consider, which we are going to look at in this article. But these are some initial considerations.

Sometimes it is difficult to know if you are truly ready, and often because of this, people tend to dive in and work it out as they go along. 

If you genuinely want to give a rescue dog a great future, you will take your time to make sure that you and your family are ready for the changes and the commitment. 

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Is Adopting A Rescue Dog A Good Idea?

In theory, adopting a rescue dog is a great idea. Everybody likes the sense of a happy ending. Saving a dog’s life can feel like an awesome thing to do, and it is. 

But if you want to be successful, it is crucial to be realistic. Sometimes rescuing a dog isn’t the happy ending story you hoped for. Instead, it can turn out to be a real test of the strength of your character and commitment.

Each rescue dog comes with its own set of issues. You never quite know what you’re going to get. Sometimes very little is known about the dog’s past. 

It can take some time to get to know the dog’s real personality because they need time to settle into their new life and start trusting you.

Rescue centers do their best to test temperament and iron out behavioral issues, but there is only so much they can do. 

So you are always going to be taking a bit of a gamble when adopting a rescue dog

Not every rescue dog has been abused or mistreated, but being rejected, neglected, taken away from what they know, can all cause trauma, which means all rescue dogs have the potential to be unpredictable.

Some knowledge or experience of owning dogs, understanding dog behavior, and knowing how to handle a dog in all situations is essential, so that even if your dog has the potential to be unpredictable, at least you have the potential to be able to deal with the issue.

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Have You Owned A Dog Before?

If you haven’t had the experience of owning a dog before, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t consider adopting a rescue dog. 

New dog owners that have decided to go down the rescue route are often some of the most conscientious dog owners out there because they want to do a good thing, and so they make sure they are well prepared.

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If you have already owned a dog before, this is where you need to be careful. 

Often dog owners that have either lost their previous dog or already have one dog and are looking to add a second dog to the family are not adequately prepared for the fact that this new dog is going to be quite a different experience to their previous experience.

Every dog has its personality, and you will only end up feeling confused, disappointed, or resentful that you don’t get what you bargained for when you adopt a second dog.

The best thing you can do if you are not a new dog owner is to lower your expectations. This way, you can only be prepared or pleasantly surprised.

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The Health Of A Rescue Dog Can Be A Bit Of A Mystery

Along with unpredictable personality and behavior, there is also often a big question mark hanging in the air when it comes to the health history of a rescue dog. 

Unfortunately, this can also mean that it may be difficult to predict how much a rescue dog is going to cost you in future vet bills.

The breed of a dog can often be uncertain in rescues, which means that specific breed characteristics may pop up in cross or mixed breeds that you weren’t expecting. This can be a good thing, but it can also pose a challenge. 

For example, if you are an older person and you have adopted a cross or mixed dog that has a substantial amount of a working breed in its genetics, that dog may need much more exercise and mental stimulation than an older person would bargain for in a companion dog.

The dog’s new dietary requirements may not have been met, particularly as a puppy, and therefore they may not have a great immune system. This can lead to a string of infections and illnesses, all of which you will be responsible for financing.

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When adopting a rescue dog, it is imperative to organize pet insurance and make sure that you have savings to cater for any future vet bills.

Are You Prepared To Deal With A Rescue Dog’s Fears & Phobias?

Have you considered that you could end up with a dog that is terrified of riding in a car? 

If you like to drive out to the beach with the family or take long road trips or go camping or caravanning, then this is an issue that you will have to approach first. 

The dog will need desensitizing and retraining. Do you have the time, patience, and knowledge to do this?

What if you adopt a dog that has a history of killing cats, and then in a year, your spouse wants to get a cat? You may not be able to do that. How will your spouse deal with the disappointment? 

Similarly, if it has been advised not to leave the dog unsupervised with children, and although you didn’t have children when you adopted the dog, what happens if, in the future, you decide you want to build a family? 

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There are so many things to consider when deciding to adopt a rescue dog, and it may feel like there is no way to know for sure as to whether you are making the right decision. 

But a great way of preparing your family is to have a taster experience. 

Why not foster a dog? 

Dog fosterers are in high demand so that you will be contributing to a good cause, and it will be the perfect opportunity to test the waters and get a better idea of what it is like, not only to be a dog owner but also to adopt a rescue dog.

Things to Consider Before You Adopt a Dog


I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs. I have always loved animals, especially puppies. So when my family got our first dog 15 years ago, it was love at first sight. We named her Sassy because she was so small, cute, and had a sassy personality! Once we got her home, I wanted to know everything about caring for her, so I researched online. Eventually, this led me to create the PUPPYFAQS website, where I write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies and the latest news in the world of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local shelter, which is run by volunteers who are passionate about helping homeless dogs find their forever homes. If I'm not working or volunteering for dogs, you can find me spending time with my family, friends, and my puppy. I have been writing professionally online since 2009. In addition to PUPPYFAQS, I also write for several other pet-related publications.

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