The Ultimate Guide to Adopting a Dog

There might come a time when you think it would be a good idea to get a dog and have them join your family. Many people love their dogs very much, and they can certainly make wonderful pets for adults and children alike. However, you shouldn’t just get a dog because you feel like it as there are many things you need to think about first. It would be awful if you decided to get a dog and brought one home without having anything ready and without being prepared – this could lead to a lot of unhappiness for you and your family and the dog itself. With that in mind, here are some things to consider before getting a dog so you know you’re fully prepared for what’s ahead. Read on to find out more.

The Cost

There are a lot of financial responsibilities that come with having a dog, and although you might think the cost ends with the initial cost of the dog (remember, even if you’re adopting from a shelter, you’ll still need to make some kind of donation or pay an adoption fee), there is a lot more to it than that, and those costs will be ongoing.

To start with, there is food, as well as treats (which can be particularly useful when it comes to training, for example). Then you need to think about toys, grooming, bedding, vet’s bills, vacations, and more. You’ll also need to include insurance in your budget, and although this will be an additional expense, it’s worth it; dog insurance lifetime cover can save a lot on your vet bills over time, especially if your dog develops an ongoing illness or has an accident. Make sure you can afford the monthly costs of having a dog before you commit to getting one.

Adjusting Your Lifestyle

You can’t just keep your life exactly the same as it is now if you decide to get a dog. Assuming you don’t have a dog already, you’re going to need to be aware that there will be adjustments to make, especially when it comes to making time to be with your dog. Dogs need a lot of attention and they don’t like to be left alone for too long, so if you’re out all day at work, could you change that to work from home? What about your other commitments? If you like to go out in the evenings, having a dog might not be a good idea.

You’ll also need to make sure you can take your dog for a walk at least once (and ideally twice) a day and play with them as much as possible. A dog is going to take up a lot of your time, so it’s crucial to know that you’ll be able to do what’s needed and potentially change your lifestyle to accommodate your new pet.

Long-Term Commitment

Owning a dog is a long-term commitment because, depending on the breed and your particular dog’s health, your pet might live as much as ten or even fifteen years, and sometimes more. Before you decide to get a dog, think about whether you can commit to taking care of it for the long term, and whether or not a dog would fit in with your future plans. Remember, a dog is a living creature, and neglecting it (even if you don’t do it on purpose) and not giving it the love and stability it needs isn’t fair on anyone, including your pet.

Some dogs are easier to take care of than others, and you’ll need to do a lot of research to work out which breed of dog will be best for you. If you want an ‘easier’ dog, look for one that requires less grooming, for example, or that has a less playful temperament. Even doing this, however, still means you’ll need to commit long term.

Activity Level

Different breeds have varying activity requirements. Evaluate if you can accommodate a high-energy dog that needs extensive exercise or if a more laid-back breed would be a better fit.


Dogs are social animals and need regular interaction with humans and other animals. Assess if your lifestyle allows for ample opportunities for socialization.


Prepare for unexpected veterinary bills. Consider obtaining pet insurance or setting aside an emergency fund to cover potential health issues.

Space Availability

Dogs require adequate indoor and outdoor space to move around comfortably. Determine if your home and yard can accommodate the size and activity level of the dog you’re considering.

Homeownership or Rental Restrictions

Check if there are any breed or size restrictions, pet-related fees, or additional security deposits in your rental agreement or community rules.

Neighborhood Considerations

Consider the noise tolerance level of your neighborhood and proximity to parks or green spaces suitable for dog exercise.


Research the average lifespan of the breed you’re interested in and consider if you can provide care and companionship for the duration of their life.

Training and Socialization

Dogs require consistent training and socialization to become well-behaved members of society. Evaluate if you’re willing to invest time and effort in their development.


Dogs need love, attention, and routine care. Assess if you’re ready to take on responsibilities such as feeding, grooming, veterinary visits, and regular exercise.


Bringing a dog into your life is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. By evaluating your lifestyle compatibility, financial readiness, space availability, commitment level, and future planning, you can determine if you are truly prepared to provide a loving and suitable home for a dog. Remember, responsible dog ownership ensures a fulfilling and joyful bond with your four-legged friend for years to come.

Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson is an expert in dog behavior with over a decade of experience, and she is also passionate about working with cats and birds. In addition to contributing pet content to, she is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. Brenda received her Bachelor of Science in Biological and Biomedical Sciences & Philosophy from Colorado College in 2014. She has taken classes in writing and remote animal behavior consulting, as well as courses on how to manage aggressive dogs and litter box issues. In 2016, she obtained her dog behavior consulting certification and joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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