What Questions Should I Ask When Adopting A Dog

What Questions Should I Ask When Adopting A Dog?

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Choosing to adopt a dog rather than buy one from a seller or breeder is by far the best option when it comes to getting a new furry friend. Adoption has so many benefits.

There are millions of dogs out there who need a new home. In fact, 3 million dogs in the US are given to shelters each year for rehoming.

Maybe that’s due to a poor upbringing, mistreatment, their previous owner passed away or maybe somebody couldn’t cope. This is where you come in to give them all the love they deserve.

The thing is, adoption can be a scary time.

You don’t know everything or indeed, anything, about your potential new pup.

Therefore, it’s essential that you ask questions – not just to the shelter or home you’re getting your dog from, but also to yourself.

These questions can range from health, energy, behavior, or training to the basics of finances. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some questions you should be asking when adopting a dog.

Why Do I Need To Ask Questions Anyway?

Asking questions is a fundamental part of life and that is certainly no exception when it comes to adopting a pet.

Remember, you’ll be solely responsible for the upbringing, safety, and health of your potential new house friend.

Think of it this way.

When you go to purchase a car, you generally should be asking questions to yourself such as “can I afford this?”, “how much is car insurance?” and “is this the one for me?”

And you should ask more general questions to the dealer, such as the car’s history, previous accidents, common vehicle faults, and who to call if you need assistance.

The reason you do this is that you don’t want to hand over a lot of money to be lumbered with something that doesn’t work, nor do you want to be stranded on the highway in a dangerous position.

In other words, you’re asking for safety reasons, financial reasons, and to be aware of problems that might affect the car’s longevity.

The same applies to pets. You’ll need to know their history and your own circumstances.

If the dog has a previous history living in an abusive household, they might be scared of loud noises or shouting – which is important to know in the future.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself

We’ll begin assessing the questions you should ask with the ones you should ask yourself. It’s crucial that you consider these before you even head to a place to look at potential new furry friends.

Do I Want A Rescue Dog Or A Shelter Dog?

These terms are often conflated or confused, so it’s important that you know the difference between the two before you head out there.

Animal shelters will take in pets that have been given up by people and animals that they have found on the street.

Shelters have a huge number of animals that have to be put down due to ill health or age.

If you attend a shelter, you can normally see every animal on offer for rehoming, but they might not know the full history of the animal.

Whereas, a rescue center will normally have fostered their animals first and will have a lot more information on the animal. They normally take in animals of a specific breed too.

What Type Of Breed Should I Go For?

The breed of dog you’re looking for will certainly play a large factor in your decision-making.

For example, there’s no point in going for a massive dog like a Great Dane when you live in a one-bedroom apartment.

Moreover, if you live with other animals like cats – maybe it’s worth looking at dog breeds that are generally friendly with other animals.

Do I Have The Financial Capabilities To Adopt A Dog?

Much like adopting a child, adopting a dog is not a cheap affair.

Adopting a new canine companion can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5000 a year and maybe even more than that.

You have to consider things like vaccinations, food, toys, beds, leashes, veterinary bills, and dog poop bags.

For some people, the cost is absolutely worth it – but for others, it can cause financial headaches and stress. As much as it might hurt, you may need to choose against getting a dog if your money doesn’t stretch to this.

Have I Got The Time For My Dog?

Don’t feel bad if the answer here is no, it is always best, to be honest about your circumstances before giving a dog false hope.

Many of us stay at home a lot of the time. Maybe you work at home or retired etc.

But a lot of us need to attend the workplace for most of the day and for most of the week.

If you live alone, this can mean that your new furry friend is at home all alone for most of the time, and for a newly-adopted dog – this can play havoc with them psychologically.

If your dog has come from a history of neglect, you can’t leave them at home alone. It’s not fair on them and you might not see it from your side, but they do.

Remember too, dogs need regular walks, toilet breaks, and playtime. Can you adhere to this schedule?

Is My Place Suitable?

Of course, you’ll need to self-assess your property and its occupants before you commit to getting a new tenant! Consider the size of your place – is it big enough for another?

Do you have other pets? Will the dog get along with them and vice versa?

It’s all well and good saying you can afford a dog, but if your place isn’t suitable – you might want to hold off on getting a dog right now.

Can Someone Help Me Out?

If you do work a lot of the time or think you can cope most of the time, but maybe not all of it – ask yourself if you could request a helper.

Maybe you live with your partner or a friend. Maybe you live alone but have friends or a family member that can step in if needed. If not, could you afford to hire someone?

It’s always a key question to ask before you dive in and commit.

Questions To Ask The Shelter/Center

Questions To Ask The Shelter/Center

You’ll of course need to ask questions to the shelter or the rescue center too. Consider asking the following:

What’s The Dog’s Profile?

Starting with the basics is of course the most important thing.

What is the dog’s height, weight, breed? What does the pup eat? How big will they grow?

What’s their favorite food and favorite toy?

What’s Their Story?

Any adoption will require you to know the whole backstory of your potential pup.

Their history will shape their behavior including things like aggression, barking, relationship to humans and animals, toilet accidents, and why they go to certain places in the house or yard.

You’ll also want to know the dog’s medical history, behavioral history whether or not they have had their shots or been neutered, etc.

This might shape your relationship with them – and will certainly change the cost!

What Are The Shelter/Center’s Policies?

Every shelter or rescue center will have its own policies such as follow-up and check-up visits or allowing you to play and get to know the dog before you commit to adoption.

It’s always worth asking first before you cement yourself to a new friend.


It’s doubtless that adopting a dog is an amazing thing to do. But you should always consider asking yourself and the shelter or center the right questions before you commit to looking after a new friend.

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