What to Know Before Adopting Your First Dog

Guest Blog Post by: Kaytie Elizabeth Pascale, Writer

Happy adopted dog
Happy adopted dog.

Thinking about adopting your first dog? Congratulations are in order—it’s an adventure and a relationship with an animal that will provide a companionship that’s unmatched. However, making the decision to adopt a dog is a huge life decision, and before you finalize it, there are numerous things to consider and understand before committing to this journey.


Before you make the decision to adopt your first dog, you need to determine a few of the basic costs, including the expenses of properly caring for a dog. One of the basic needs of any animal is food. Calculate the cost of food and research how much you’ll need to feed your dog as it gets older and bigger. Many people can overfeed their dog, which may lead to health problems in the future.

Vet bills and medical care are another expense you need to account for. You may want to look at the option and price out pet insurance, but make sure you budget for annual check-ups and vaccines, potential injuries and illness, and an increase in medical care as your dog ages and needs additional care.

In addition to the cost of basic needs, dogs need mental stimulation to keep them happy and prevent undesirable behavior. Be prepared to invest in toys that will keep them mentally stimulated and engaged during the day. You may also want to think about hiring a pet sitter to come to the house to play with them or take them on walks during the day if you work long hours. Another option to check out could be doggie day camp to give them the physical and mental stimulation and outlet they need, while also promoting social interaction.


There are many things to consider in terms of the time commitment needed to properly care for a dog. Your daily schedule will change, and some of the freedoms you are used to will be limited. It’s recommended to give dogs a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day. If you work full-time, that means waking up before work or making the commitment to take your dog out on a dedicated walk once you get home.

Additionally, if you work full-time you won’t be able to go out right after work for dinner or events. There will need to be time built in to let your dog out and ensure they are properly cared for. Weekend trips and vacations need additional planning as well. Figure out who will care for your dog when you go out of town or be prepared to pay additional fees to bring them with you. Other time commitments will be needed for training your dog, whether you adopt a puppy or an older dog, and socializing your pet.

Safety and Preparation

Once you have selected a dog, and are preparing to bring them home, take a look around your house to ensure your space is ready for the newest member of your family. Consider pet-proofing your home to prevent your dog from injury. Once you bring your dog home, make sure you have a safe space assigned for him to introduce him to the family. Take time to show your dog around your house and explore the yard on a leash. Start potty training right away and teaching your dog basic behaviors, like sit and stay. Have a vet pre-selected and get him checked as soon as you adopt to ensure no health issues are overlooked. 

Adopting a dog is a lifelong commitment to an animal and will have a huge impact on your life, not only with time and money, but emotionally, physically, and mentally. Make sure you have considered these factors prior to adoption to help make the transition as smooth as possible.