Before You Adopt

Before You Adopt

Adopting a dog is an incredibly rewarding, but life-changing, experience. Make sure you know the answers to these questions before you bring your new companion home:

  • Lifestyle Changes ­– Are you expecting to make any major lifestyle changes, such as expanding your family or starting a new job, and will you be able to continue caring for your dog?
  • Home ­– Is your current living situation stable? Are you moving any time soon, and if so, will your new home allow pets? Does your landlord or home/renters insurance prohibit any breeds?
  • Time ­– Are you willing to care for your dog his or her entire life (i.e., the next 10-15 years)? Do you have time to feed, exercise and interact with your pet every day? How will he or she get bathroom breaks if you are at work?
  • Money Matters ­– Can you afford to feed, groom and care for your dog’s medical needs?
  • Safety ­– Have you “pet-proofed” your home? Did you remove cords, house plants, small objects and any other dangers within your dog’s reach?

Should I Get a Puppy, Adult or Senior Dog?

Puppies are a HUGE responsibility. What goes along with the happy pitter patter of tiny paws is barking, chewing and accidents. Puppies also need fed three to four times a day, bathroom breaks every two to four hours, training and adequate socialization. These adorable balls of fluff require constant attention and patience!

Adult and senior dogs are typically more mature companions who have better bladder control, less energy and just as much love and devotion as a bouncy puppy. That said, they may have age-related issues and need moderate training to correct behavioral problems resulting from their previous environment. Ask yourself these questions to help you decide.

How Much Does a Dog Cost to Care for?

The annual cost of pet ownership varies depending on your location (e.g., a small town versus big city), the size of your dog and other lifestyle factors – but generally you can expect to spend approximately $2,000 to $4,000 per year. You have probably considered the basics, such as food, annual vet visits, licensing and identification tags, grooming and training. But have you factored in a crate, collars, leashes, toys, boarding and/or pet sitting and dog walking services when you are at work? You may even experience an unexpected emergency vet visit. Little things add up, too. Sometimes it’s difficult to pass by that squeaky blue ball or cute bandana that says, “One Tuff Mutt!”

Keep in mind that the cost of care for an unsterilized animal is always higher than one that has been spayed or neutered. Unsterilized animals are more prone to aggression, straying, medical problems (such as testicular cancer), accidental injuries and unwanted litters.

What to Do Next

Adopting a dog is a meeting of the heart and mind. It is a lifetime commitment to an animal that will be your loving companion and best friend.

  • Do Your Homework: Arm yourself with as much information as possible. We’ve compiled a helpful Resource List to get you started.
  • Keeping Your Pup Safe: Always use a leash, be wary of strangers, ensure you have the proper collar, tag and microchip, and always teach recall.
  • Preventing Your Dog From Going Missing: Be sure to review the simple but important basics to help prevent your dog from going missing.
  • Review a Beginner’s Guide to Adoption: If you’re new to adopting or want a refresh on navigating this incredible experience, please make sure to read A Beginner’s Guide to Adoption for more information.
  • Become a Foster: If you are not sure if you are ready to take a permanent step, foster one of our dogs. This temporary, in-between step may help you decide if you are ready to make a commitment.
  • Adopt a Pup: Confident that this is the right decision for you? Check out our adorable adoptable dogs.
  • Consider microchipping your pet: and HomeAgain are offering Stray From The Heart adopters a discounted registration fee of $10.99 for the first year. This includes LIFETIME microchip registration and the ability to update contact information at no cost.  Please ensure that, while finalizing the adoption, your pet adopters enroll every microchipped pet. This is critical to getting lost pets back home to their families. Each time you have an adopter register a microchip for their pet at the time of adoption using your PetFinder Shelter ID either: go online to and provide your PetFinder Shelter ID (NY245) to sign in and then select For Parents tab OR by calling 1-866-802-5650 toll free, give the HomeAgain representative your PetFinder Shelter ID (NY245)

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