12 Things You Need to Know About Adopting a Dog

February 28, 2024

Written By: Earth Buddy Team

Tan coated dog with blue eyes at an adoption shelter. Finding the right pet can be hard, so learn more in this article.

Adopting a dog can be an exciting experience, but before you skip over to the animal shelters, there are a few things you need to know. Before picking out a new dog to add to the family, read through this list to see if all of your bases are covered.

1.Beware of the Pet Stores Scam When Adopting a Dog

Brown mixed breed dog on leash at shelter. Making sure your other dogs in your house get along with new dogs is key.

There’s a common misconception that those dogs you see while you’re quite literally window shopping were rescued. In very rare cases, there’s a chance they may have been, but there’s a higher probability that they were purchased from a puppy mill to then be sold at outrageous prices for profit.

Puppy mills prioritize profit over well-being, often leading to a lack of veterinary care for the mother dog and her puppies, poor genetics resulting in disease later in life (if not already), and behavioral problems.

By choosing to adopt a pet from a shelter rather than the pet shop, you’ll be giving a dog in need a second chance at life and supporting the fight against breeding and selling dogs for profit, along with irresponsible and neglectful breeding and care practices.

2.Find Adoptable Animals with Rescue Groups

To find dogs who have actually been rescued or surrendered, you can visit your local animal shelters, including the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) adoption center closest to you. They can be a helpful guide as you search for the best match for your family.

Plus, many shelters and adoption centers provide valuable services such as vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and sometimes even microchipping, all included in the adoption fee. This not only ensures the health and safety of the dog but also saves you time and money.

3.There’s an Adoption Process with Reputable Rescues

If you’re adopting a dog through a reputable organization, they’re going to ask you to complete an adoption process. Usually, this involves an application, ensuring you’re permitted to have dogs if you’re renting your home or apartment, potentially meeting other pets, and making sure you’re the best match.

The goal of the adoption process is to make sure that you, the space you live in, and any pets you already have are all ready for the addition of a new furry family member. It’s all about making sure that both you and the dog will be happy and comfortable with each other, setting the stage for a loving home and lifelong relationship.

4.Understand Pets Enter Shelters For Various Reasons

Dogs, and other animals, are found in animal shelters for a number of reasons. Sometimes, their owners can’t take care of them anymore, maybe because they’re moving to a place that doesn’t allow pets, or perhaps the cost of pet care is too much for them.

Other times, dogs are rescued from places where they weren’t treated well or from situations where they were lost and couldn’t find their way back home. There are also cases where the owners simply change their minds about having a pet. Asking why the dog you’re interested in is there could help you better care for them in the future.

5.Ask the Rescue Group About Medical Needs Before You Adopt a Pet

Black & Brown chihuahua with one eye laying on a couch next to Earth Buddy mushrooms for dogs to help anxiety & stress.

This point is really important. When you’re thinking about adopting a dog, it’s crucial to ask about any health issues or medical needs the dog might have. Some dogs in shelters might have conditions that need extra attention, like specific diets, regular medication, or even frequent visits to the vet.


This special care can demand a lot of your time, energy, and money. You need to be honest with yourself about whether you’re ready and able to meet these needs. For example, if a dog has a chronic condition like diabetes or arthritis, you’ll need to be prepared for ongoing treatment and care. It’s not just about being able to afford it, but also having the time and commitment to give the dog the best quality of life possible.

Remember, adopting a dog is a big responsibility, especially if they have medical issues, so it’s important to consider this carefully before making a decision.



6.Learn About Different Breeds Before Deciding on a New Furry Friend

Tan Corgi licking a human's face. Finding the right pet to adopt may require an adoption survey to assess the best dog.

Before you even walk into the local shelters, it’s important to make a list of breeds that match your lifestyle. Many dog lovers, especially those who are first-time pet parents, make the decision to adopt a dog based on their appearance, which can result in your lifestyle not cooperating with theirs.

You don’t want to adopt a high-energy Australian Shepherd dog if you’re looking for a more relaxed breed. Or if you’re looking for a high-energy dog who is ready to climb to the top of the mountain and all around, you’re probably not going to search out a Basset Hound.

You should also look into any potential medical concerns the dog breed you’re considering may have now or in the future. For example, brachycephalic dog breeds (with their super short snouts), like the French Bulldog, has a hard time breathing when they exercise and they don’t do well in hot weather.

The Frenchie is also not often able to give birth on her own, so if you’re considering a litter of pups someday, knowing information like this could save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, in vet bills.

7.Deciding Between a Puppy an an Adult Dog For Your Family

Yellow labradoodle puppy laying in grass. When adopting a puppy, it may be helpful to use calming supplements for dogs.

Many dog lovers find themselves captivated by the adorable, playful puppies at animal rescues, drawn in by their irresistible puppy eyes and playful antics. Yet, a considerable number of pet parents like the idea of bringing home an adult dog.

The appeal of adult dogs lies in their well-established personalities, making it easier for adopters to find a dog whose character fits seamlessly with their own lifestyle. Adult dogs are often already versed in basic commands and house training, significantly reducing the need for constant supervision and training that comes with bringing home a young puppy.

Adult dogs have also reached their full size and have a predictable level of activity, allowing future owners to better anticipate their exercise needs to see if they have a manageable energy level, crate size (if they will be crate trained), and if they have enough space for the dog to be happy.


8.Think About Your Cats and Other Pets Before You Adopt a Pet

White & black border collie sitting for one of Earth Buddy’s blueberry cbd dog treats for anxiety & stress in a new home

You’ve probably watched cartoons or movies where the cats and dogs are fighting each other or the dog is chasing the cat. The dog chasing the cat is designed to show dogs with high prey drive; the instinct to chase. And it’s not just limited to cats in most cases. They want to chase literally anything and everything smaller than they are that moves. And sometimes even larger things, like the cars going down the street.

Some dog breeds have incredibly high prey drives, whereas others don’t give a care in the world to cats and other animals. If you have kitties at home, or any other small animals like hamsters, ferrets, etc., you’re likely looking for a dog with low prey drive.

Dog breeds with high prey drive include Greyhounds, Terriers, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Spaniels. Breeds with low prey drive include the Maltese, Bichon Frise, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, and Old English Sheepdog.

9.Learn About Positive Reinforcement Training

Punishment is not an acceptable method of training. If you aren’t sure how to train your dog, do some digging into positive reinforcement training. This means rewarding your dog for good behavior, like giving them treats, praise, or playtime when they follow a command or act in a way you like. If you’re not sure how to start with this kind of training, there’s plenty of information available.

You can look online, read books, or even take a class with your dog. Positive reinforcement not only helps your dog learn faster but also strengthens the bond between you and your pet. It’s all about families encouraging good behavior rather than punishing the bad.

10.Stash Dangerous Foods Away

If you don’t already have a dog, there’s a chance you may have some toxic foods lying around the house. Or, perhaps even if you do have a furry friend at home, maybe you didn’t know they were dangerous. Here’s a list of what is among the most toxic:

  • Macadamia nuts: Can cause vomiting, tremors, depression, and/or hyperthermia
  • Grapes and raisins: May result in kidney failure
  • Nuts: Sometimes leads to pancreatitis, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
  • Onions: Can result in anemia
  • Xylitol: If you grab peanut butter to put in your dog’s toy, make sure it’s free of xylitol, a dangerous artificial sweetener

11.Choosing the Appropriate Toys for Mental Stimulation

Not all toys are created equal. Small dogs or those on the calmer side aren’t likely to destroy most toys, but if you have a super-chewer, you’ll need to look at a different group of chew toys.

For these “super-chewers,” it’s wise to invest in toys designed to withstand their enthusiastic gnawing. Heavy-duty toys, often made from durable materials like tough rubber or reinforced nylon, are specifically crafted to endure the jaws of the most vigorous chewers. Kongs, for example, are among the most recommended toys for aggressive chompers.

Choosing the right toy not only ensures your dog stays engaged and happy but also contributes to their safety, preventing them from ingesting broken pieces of less durable toys.

12.Grab the Necessary Supplies

Aside from the toys, there are some necessary supplies for daily life that you should purchase before bringing your new pooch home. Here’s a checklist:

Black & White Senior Boxer dog taking an Earth Buddy Pumpkin CBD treat for dogs. CBD for senior dogs arthritis is safe.

  • High-quality dog food: If you aren’t a fan of your new pet’s current diet from the animal shelter, gradually switch them to a diet appropriate for their age, size, and any specific health requirements they might have.
  • Water bowls: You’ll want a few study water bowls around the house. Try to grab bowls with heavy bottoms so they don’t spill over, especially if your new dog has a rowdy personality.
  • Baby gate: To block the stairs or any other areas they shouldn’t be in.
  • Crate: Crates can sometimes be calming for dogs, especially those who prefer to sleep in a den-like environment.
  • Leash: Grab a few leashes to keep at home, in your vehicle, and anywhere you may be with your new pup, especially if you plan on visiting dog parks and other fun places.
  • Treats: Look for the best calming chews, the best CBD for dogs, and treats for dogs to promote emotional well-being

Making a Health and Wellness Plan After Adopting a Dog to Maintain Overall Health

Once you’ve found the perfect dog for your household, you can start crafting a health and wellness plan to keep them on track. For example, it’s a good idea to have some calming supplements for dogs just in case they need them. Supplements like CBD for dogs could come in handy in unexpected situations.

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