Adopting a dog from an animal rescue centre or shelter is never a decision to be taken lightly but as long as you are certain you can then offering a second chance to a needy dog definitely has that "feel good" factor. A dog becomes a valued member of the family and they need lots of loving care and attention much like the kids or a partner would.
Below are a few helpful tips on dog adoption which might help you make a more informed decision because you want to make the right choice the first time around.
It's really important to establish that no-one in the family suffers from any sort of allergies to animals and in particular dogs. It's estimated that six times more people suffer from cat allergies than people who are allergic to dogs which is a good fact to bear in mind. With this said, it is still best to check that nobody is allergic by visiting a friend who owns a dog or better still have them visit you in your home. Should anyone be allergic, it's not the end of the world because there are certain breeds which don't shed as much as others and which are known to be hypo-allergenic.
However, it's important to understand that it is not the dog hairs which are the problem, but rather the dander which is the skin cells all dogs naturally shed as well as their saliva that triggers an allergic reaction. A hairless dog breed like the Chinese Crested would be an option but they will still shed dander. The reason many people choose this breed is because they are much easier to bathe on a regular basis which in turn means there's less dander around the house due to the fact it's washed away during bath time.
Other breeds namely, Poodles and certain cross breeds are low shedders too which means there's less chance of anyone suffering from an allergic reaction to a new pet. But it cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of checking nobody in the household is allergic to dogs before adopting one from a rescue centre in order to avoid any disappointment all round.
Researching the characters and personalities of certain breeds is essential although the nature of a dog really does depend on how they were first socialised and treated when they were puppies. After having done a little research, it's always a very good idea to discuss things with an expert from the dog rescue centre. They would be able to assess not only the environment you are offering your new pet, but they will also be able to take a look at your family's lifestyle and then recommend the right dog for you whether it's a pedigree or cross-breed.
If you have young children or any toddlers in the home, there are certain breeds which are known to be brilliant around kids. These include Golden Retrievers and Labradors but there are plenty of others too - including some wonderful mongrels that boast very kind natures. With this said, you should never leave a very young child or toddler alone with any dog, they should always be supervised until the youngster learns how to behave around dogs.
You may be thinking about adopting a dog because you want your children to learn about responsibilities and there's no better way than doing this than by having them help take care of a new pet. However, a child should never have the sole responsibility because it's a very big ask of them. It's far better to let them help you take care of your new dog which includes playing games with them, making sure they have fresh clean water and giving them lots of time and affection.
Looking after a dog properly costs quite a bit of money. There's the dog food to pay for, pet insurance to organise, vaccinations that need to be kept up to date and regular check-ups with the vet too. On top of this you need to buy loads of things for them namely a collar, lead, dog tag, food and water bowls, a cage for the car and a comfy dog bed. Your new pet will need to be routinely wormed, they might need to be treated for fleas which all adds up. You need to be sure you can afford to look after a dog so they lead a happy, healthy life before you even think about adopting one.
Before you bring a new dog into the home, your children need to be taught the importance of looking after a dog properly. This means they have to realise it's not all about having a good time with their new pet because having a dog in the home means there will be certain new chores which have to be done. This includes cleaning out food and water bowls, going for nice walks, playing nicely in the garden and around the home and so much more. Your children have to realise that getting a dog might be exciting at first but the novelty must not wear off because their new canine friend will be a valued member of the family.
The best way to share the responsibility when it comes to looking after a new dog is to create a schedule so that everyone is involved and which ensures your new family member gets to spend time with everyone. This helps your canine friend form a nice, strong bond with everyone in the home.
When you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue centre, you have to expect a home inspection. This is normal because the people who run the shelters need to know the dogs are going to good and loving homes. You need to get everything ready which includes making sure the garden is secure and that your new pet can't escape. You also need to make sure there is nothing around the house which could be harmful to your new dog. Certain plants are toxic to dogs and there are many other things commonly found in the home that you may not realise could be very dangerous if a dog ingests them. If you have any questions you should discuss this with the person who comes to do your home inspection.
Giving a home to a rescue dog is great but you have to be prepared to make a few changes around the home. A dog needs lots of love and attention. They need to be looked after correctly and if this is the first time you are going to own a dog, then you should do some research so you know what it all involves. Giving a dog a second chance is wonderful, but it's a long-term commitment. However, owning a dog is all about having fun together which the whole family can enjoy. The rewards are brilliant because a dog will offer the family their loyalty, their unconditional love and lots and lots of fun!
If you are looking to start your search to rescue a dog, then please view our pet adoption section on our Pets4Homes website which lists thousands of dogs from rescue centres all over the UK.