10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Adopt A New Dog

A woman and a dog hug in a sunny field for a picture-perfect moment.

Okay, so you've decided that you seriously want to adopt a dog — not just to say you want a dog, but you want to legitimately go out to your local shelter and find one to take home with you. Maybe it's because you just moved out to live on your own, maybe it's because you've always wanted a dog, or maybe it's because you feel ready to expand your fur family. Whatever the reason, congratulations! But remember: as exciting and as fun as it is to bring a new dog into your home, it's also a huge responsibility and commitment. In fact, it's such a big deal that some people really aren't as ready for it as they think they are. So are you ready to adopt a dog? Before you sign any papers, ask yourself a few questions to make sure you're totally prepared.

Dogs may seem like a cute, cuddly ball of fun (and they are!), but they are way more than just that. They can be strong and smart and fend for themselves, but at the end of the day, these animals rely on their owners for basic and necessary care. They need you to get them into a routine, to feed them, give them water, bathe them, care for them when they're sick, play with them when they're restless, and try to understand their actions when they're doing something strange. That's a lot, especially when considering all you have to do for yourself in your daily life.

So before you go through all of the work, make sure you're really ready. Here are a few things to think about:


Is Your Home Dog Friendly?


Another question for this could be: are you ready to have your house turned upside down? This is especially relevant if you're adopting a puppy full of endless energy. Dogs, especially puppies and large dogs, can be quite destructive. They can rip your furniture, chew on things you love, track muddy paw prints through the house, and just generally leave a total mess. Are you ready for that?

Another thing to be sure of is that your home is safe enough for a dog. You have to make sure there is a spot for them that they can call their own, that there is nothing around they can eat and choke on, and that it's generally just safe enough for them to walk around on their own.


Do You Have The Supplies A Dog Needs?


Before you adopt a dog, you need to make sure you have everything that will make that dog comfortable. This means the basics: the right food, bowls for food and water, a doggie bed so they can get comfortable, a leash for walking, treats, dog toys so they can play, etc. Make sure you're all stocked before bringing a pet into your home.


What Kind Of Lifestyle Do You Live?


Before you decide what kind of dog you want, you have to think about your lifestyle. Are you home very often, with a lot of time to dedicate to the dog, and enough time to walk them and play with them every day? If so, you're more open to what kinds of breeds you can look at. But if you work long hours, won't have a ton of time to dedicate to playing with them, and know they'll be alone a lot, you might want to consider more low-maintenance breeds. Don't just pick any dog without knowing more about their personality and what they'll need.


Do You Have Enough Money Set Aside For The Dog?


Dogs are expensive! You need to make sure you'll always have money for their food, of course, but also that you'll be able to cover any situations that may pop up. If they need to go to the vet, that's not very cheap. Make sure you have money for their shots, any medication they might need, and toys for them.


Do You Travel Very Often?


This is another important lifestyle consideration. If you have a job that requires you to travel often, or you just do it for fun, you have to make sure that you have proper care lined up before you adopt that dog. Find someone who will watch and care for the dog whenever you're away, or look into the options of boarding the dog if needed. You have to have backup plans for that if you know it's going to happen often.


Have You Ever Owned A Dog Or Pet Before?


Of course, you don't have to be a veteran pet owner to adopt a dog. But if you've never owned a pet before, you may not really know what to expect. It's really important to consider everything that goes into owning a dog before you adopt one. You might even want to consider fostering a dog as sort of a trial period to see how it goes.


Are You Prepared For Basic Training?


You should definitely know the basics when it comes to training a dog, especially if you're planning to adopt a puppy. If you aren't prepared to train the dog yourself, which is fine, then you should have a backup plan in place for how you're going to get the dog trained. This ensures better communication between you both, which is essential.


Are You Ready To Be Responsible For Someone Besides Yourself?


If you don't already have a pet or child, then you probably don't really know what it's like to have responsibility over another living being besides just yourself. Think about it: are you ready to sometimes have to put another's needs before your own? Are you ready to be inconvenienced because you have to take care of the dog? These are big questions to think about.


What Do You Think Your Life Will Be Like In 5 Or 10 Years?


Dogs can live for more than 15 years, so it's important to think about what you think your future will be like. For example, if you plan on moving in a year, know it will be a lot more complicated when an animal is involved. You should also think about if you plan on having kids, making a major career change, or if someone is going to move in with you. These are things that can seriously impact a dog's life and are worth thinking about.


Do You Already Own A Pet?


If you already have a pet, whether it's another dog or a cat or something else, you have to take them into consideration as well. You may be disrupting their lives by bringing in a new, strange pet — that's going to put strain on both animals. Is your current pet going to be friendly enough? Will they adapt? Are you going to pick a dog breed that is friendly with other animals? It's definitely something to put some thought into.