Having a pet and seeing their silly, goofy behaviour is not just a fun experience, it also improves your health and happiness. Keeping a pet has been proven to relieve stress, lower cholesterol levels, reduce cardiovascular disease risk and boost your fitness - and may even help you live longer! The saying that dogs are man’s best friend is truly a wonderful saying, and adopting a dog will be the start of an amazing journey for both you and your new best friend!
Image Credits: Helena Lopes
Welcoming a new dog into your household is exciting, but also a long-term commitment. Before you begin on your new adventure, we’ve prepared a bunch of important considerations to think through!
1. Why do you want to adopt a dog?
While this seems like the most obvious question, it’s still important to sit down and think this through properly. We totally understand the feeling of love at first sight, and we know of many dog owners who got their dog after falling in love with them once they saw them - but if you haven’t properly thought through, we suggest that you spend some time doing some planning before deciding that you wish to adopt a dog!
Many shelters have often shared that the biggest No for choosing to adopt a dog is because “puppies are so cute!”; and when these puppies outgrow their cute stage, they are returned or abandoned. We totally get it, our hearts melt when we see how cuddly and perfect puppies can be - but we don’t think that should be the only reason for adopting a dog. (This is also why potential adopters for puppies tend to be screened more strictly to ensure that they are 100% ready for the long-term commitment.)
2. Have you discussed the addition of a new dog with the people living in your household?
One of the most important considerations is to ensure that you have the full support of everyone in your household. This comes down to long-term family planning because a dog is also a member of the family, and thinking ahead ensures that you can properly care for your new dog for his entire lifetime (typically between 12 to 15 years).
We know of cases where adopted dogs have been returned because after a few months, a member of the family decided that having the dog was too much trouble - this is often a deeply hurtful experience for the dog who has already formed bonds and connections with everyone in the family, only to be surrendered back to the shelter. If you are likely to migrate in the near future and intend to take your dog with you, do take some time to research on the process of moving overseas with a pet. And, if you’re intending to shift house - which includes downsizing - definitely take that into consideration when choosing your dog.
3. Time and Financial Capability
Owning a dog requires both time and money - upon adoption of a new dog, you will be responsible for providing both for your new dog. Dogs need daily exercise to keep them fit and healthy, as well as mental stimulation to keep them entertained. While you don’t need to be home 24/7 of the time, it’s advisable that the dog is not left alone at home for over 12 hours a day (even if you have a supply of drinking water and food ready for him). Ultimately, dogs are social creatures that need companionship. And during the times that your dog is left alone at home, there are definitely technology options that can help keep him mentally stimulated and ensure he gets regular food.
Based on your lifestyle, you should choose a dog whose energy level matches your available time - high-energy dogs tend to do better in a household where there’s at least one person around most of the time, and can go on regular and longer walks every day. If your work or lifestyle means that you don’t have that much time, then you are likely better off with an older or lower-energy dog. But don’t worry too much about that - generally shelter volunteers who connect you with a potential dog that they find suitable based on the time you can offer.
As for financial capability, keeping a dog requires regular financial upkeep. From his daily food, toys and vet costs for check-ups, regular vaccinations and when they fall sick - these are some of the basic expected spending; not to mention transport costs and treats costs because we’re sure you’d want to pamper your dog with excursions outdoors and some extra yummies!
We hope that this blog post has helped you to understand more about dog adoption, and things to consider before you bring home a new furry addition to your household! Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we’ll share more about where you can adopt a dog in Singapore, and the general adoption process!