Everything You Need To Know About Adopting A Dog

Rescued cuddles are the best cuddles 💕

Are you interested in adopting a dog?

While you might be daydreaming of long walks, cozy couch snuggles and hours of playtime, there are tons of other important things you need to know when it comes to adopting.

And since you probably have so many questions about EVERYTHING surrounding adopting a rescue dog, this guide will give you tons of information and answers to your most burning dog adoption questions — so you can find the best dog for you!

What is a rescue dog?

In short, a rescue dog is a dog you adopt from a rescue group or shelter. Unlike buying a dog from a dog store or breeder — which costs way more money and contributes to dog overpopulation — you’re adopting a dog in need (and often saving a life in the process).

Sometimes you’re rescuing a dog who’s lived a tough life, but you can also find puppies, purebreds and dogs who may have just been surrendered because their family couldn’t keep them for whatever reason.

What’s the difference between adopting and fostering a dog?

The main difference between adopting and fostering a dog is that adopting means you’re committing to the dog forever, while fostering means you’re either doing a trial run, or you’re just giving an adoptable pup a temporary home while he waits to go to his forever home.

How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

Adopting a dog can cost you anywhere from $0 to $750. (Though it’s rare to hit the high end of that range.)

The cost of adopting a dog depends on many different factors, like the city/state, the breed of the dog, the age of the dog, and the policies of the individual rescue group.

How do I find the right dog for me?

When looking for the right dog for you and your family, it’s best to head to the shelter or rescue with a solid idea of what you absolutely need in a dog — and also anything you definitely can’t deal with.

This helps you and the rescue staff really narrow down the available pups so that you can find the perfect one to match your lifestyle.

Can you adopt a purebred from a shelter?

Contrary to popular belief, you can TOTALLY adopt a purebred from a shelter! Puppies are also available!

Since rescues come from all different backgrounds — and shelters often take in pregnant mamas or purebreds rescued from a backyard breeder — there are tons of opportunities to find the breed you’re looking for.

In fact, if you do a bit of research, you can probably even find a rescue dedicated to the breed you’re looking for! These are a few breed-specific ones:

Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue

New Jersey Schnauzer Rescue Network

Carolina Poodle Rescue

Yorkie 911 Rescue

Husky House

What questions should I ask when adopting a dog?

When heading to the rescue, it’s best to know the right questions to ask when adopting a dog.

These questions will help you learn about your favorite dog’s background — so learning about how the rescue ended up with the pup, their approximate age and so on.

Others questions should be medical related — so you can find out if the dog is fixed, if he has any underlying medical issues or if he needs a special diet.

And others questions should be behavioral — to find out how the dog is around kids and other pets, or if he has issues like separation anxiety.

Going in with smart questions will help you know exactly what extra care a dog might need, so you can be sure a dog is right for you before you bring him home.

Do rescue dogs need special training?

While one benefit of adopting a dog means yours might come already trained — SCORE! — you might also be wondering if a rescue needs any special training!

It very much depends on your individual dog’s background — but in most cases, nope! While you do want to let your dog decompress when he first gets home, once he’s adjusted, you can housebreak him (if needed) or go ahead and train him like you would any other dog or puppy!

What’s it like when a rescue dog first gets home?

Before you even pick him up, you’ll want to prepare your home for your new rescue dog.

This means having everything he’ll need ready to go — like food, a bed, blankets, collars and leashes.

You’ll also want to remember that your dog will need plenty of time to decompress when he first gets home.

This is just to give him tons of space and time to adjust to his new surroundings, rather than immediately trying to play and cuddle with him. It’s a totally normal process and will work wonders to make sure he isn’t too overwhelmed with all the newness!

What if I want to return an adopted dog?

Make sure you know the shelter’s return policy before adopting your dog, and remember that you’re committing to the pup you choose for life.

And while there are unfortunate situations where returning a rescue dog is a possibility, remember that the vast majority of issues you’ll face as a new dog owner are fixable with the help of a vet or trainer.

While adopting a dog is one of the best things in life, it can definitely be a little overwhelming at first! Just take each step one at a time — and get ready for some of the best cuddles you could ever imagine!