Things to Know Before Getting a Dog - Rescue Dogs 101

Things to Know Before Getting a Dog

So you have decided you want to adopt a puppy or dog. Now what? Adopting and owning a dog can be a wonderful experience and will definitely change your life. But there is so much to know before getting a puppy!

Please ask yourself the below questions BEFORE adopting a dog.

If you are ready to adopt a dog and looking for questions to ask the shelter or rescue, then head over to our 53 Questions to Ask post.

What to do before adopting a dog or puppy

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission which helps keep my blog up and running but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

7 Important Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Dog

1. Can I afford to adopt a dog?

Dogs can be expensive, with vet care, food, etc. Even if you find a dog for “free”, you will have to pay for food, vet care and so much more…

  • Adoption fee: $100-$400
  • Spay or Neuter (most rescues and shelters take care of this for you before adoption) $300-$450
  • Dog food: depending on the size of your dog, can be $20 – $80/month
  • Collar, leash, ID tag, toys, bones, dog bed, crate $100-$300
  • Annual checkup and vaccinations at the veterinarian: $150+/year
  • Monthly heartworm medication: depends on the size of dog $35/6 months
  • Monthly flea and tick prevention: depends on the size of dog $65/6 months
  • Grooming: baths, nail trim, etc. if you don’t plan on doing it yourself, can be $20+/month
  • Training Classes: $125 or more for a 6 week class

Note: I order all our dog food and supplies online at Their prices are equal and sometimes even cheaper than Amazon. Plus Chewy has awesome customer service and 1-2 day free shipping. Shop All Dog Food Deals on Chewy!

2. How much time do I realistically have to spend with a dog?

  • Young puppies need to be let outside every few hours, will you be home to do this?
  • Even adult dogs need to go outside every 8 hours or so. If you work long hours, who will let your dog outside? Dog walkers are a great option but can be expensive.
  • No more last minute weekend plans, you’ll need to plan and find a dog sitter or dog boarding.

3. Do I rent or own my home?

If you are renting your home, does your landlord allow dogs? Will you need to move to a home within the next 10-15 years that does not allow dogs? Being a foster home, this is one of the most common excuses I hear for surrendering a dog! I am begging you, PLEASE consider this before adopting a dog!

Dog Adoption Questions

Adopt Your Perfect Dog!

Asking all the right questions can be the difference between adopting a dog with unknown health or behavior issues and adopting your perfect and healthy dog. This adoption interview PDF makes it easy to remember to ask those questions! 

53 questions you MUST ask before adopting a dog...


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4. What energy level dog fits my lifestyle?

Different breeds have different temperaments and exercise needs. Do a little research before falling in love with that adorable looking face. There are so many things to consider, such as energy level, shedding, expected lifespan, trainability, etc.

Do you want a dog that will just lay on the couch and watch TV with you? Or are you active and like to run or hike?

Do you have a yard for the dog to run in? Can you commit to walking your dog every day before and after work? Even if you do have a yard, most dogs need a daily walk.

are you ready to adopt a dog?

5. Do I really want a puppy?

Adopting a Puppy vs. Young Dog vs. Senior Dog. Puppies require a lot of work when it comes to potty training and obedience. They need to be let outside a lot! They chew and mouth. If you don’t want your things chewed up or don’t have the time or money to train a puppy, highly consider adopting an adult dog.

Young adult dogs (1-6 years old), are usually already potty and sometimes obedience trained. This is a great option if you still want a lot of energy in your dog and willing to exercise and train as needed.

There are a lot of senior dogs that need homes too! Senior dogs have so many benefits, they are usually already potty and obedience trained and requires less exercise.

6. Do I expect my dog to be perfect?

Just like people, dogs aren’t perfect. We all have our faults, and so do dogs. They may have potty accidents, chew your shoes, get sick and have behavior issues! Are you willing to train your dog? And if necessary, work with a professional trainer or behaviorist?

If your dog gets bored, he will be mischievous! Plan to keep him busy! Also plan on your dog shedding… unless you find a non-shedding breed, anticipate a house full of hair.

7. Do I have time to train my puppy?

Training your dog is NOT an option. I think a lot of people that get a dog have an idea of how they want that dog to behave. TV shows and movies put this picture perfect dog in our head, that runs around off-leash, comes when called, and never gets into mischief!

But the fact is those TV dogs have been through many, many hours of training to behave that way. Dogs aren’t born to understand people, it’s our job to train our dog to understand us.

So please don’t expect to adopt a dog, walk through your front door and be perfect. We as dog owners have the responsibility to train our dogs to understand right from wrong, what SIT, DOWN and COME mean.



P.S. I would love to hear if you decided on adopting a dog or not. Comment below to tell our Rescue Dogs 101 community all about it!

P.S.S. Download our FREE adoption questionnaire to make sure you ask all the right questions before adopting your new dog!

About the Author Debi@RescueDogs101

Debi McKee is the mom of Ginger and Bear (and three human kids too), lifetime dog lover and a volunteer for a rescue as foster home. She is the creator of Rescue Dogs 101, were she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. Sign up for the free resource library! It is jam-packed with valuable resources that you will use throughout your journey.... all for FREE!

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