Don’t break his heart and tear him away from his new family just a few months after bringing him home. According to the American Humane Society, new pet owners are not keeping 10% of adopted cats and dogs six months later (it did not know if animals were returned to shelters, released into the wild, given away, or killed). Most reasons for returning a dog to a shelter are foreseeable but poorly considered. Be a dog’s forever owner by first examining dog-owning responsibilities, costs, and commitments. Dogs love us, trust us, and rely on us for a safe, stable home. They deserve a permanent, not convenient, place in our hearts.
You can print and review this questionnaire with your family when deciding to get a dog. Please answer these questions, asked from a dog’s viewpoint, after you have carefully, and honestly thought about your lifestyle, family, and budget.
Do you have 2-3 hours every day to:
- Walk me twice a day for 45 minutes-1 hour each time YES NO
- Brush my teeth YES NO
- File my nails (weekly if using a nail cutter) YES NO
- Feed and water me YES NO
- Play with me YES NO
In addition, can you do these things every week (~1-1/2 hours)?
- Give me a bath YES NO
- Cut my nails (if not filing them daily) YES NO
- Arrange for a doggy playdate so I can socialize with other dogs? YES NO
- Brush my fur YES NO
TOTAL WEEKLY TIME 15-23 HOURS
- Do you have $3,085[ to spend on my first puppy year in expenses?
(not including the cost of adopting me) YES NO
- Can you afford an average of $115-350 every month for my dog food, shots, flea and tick treatments, etc? YES NO
- Can you afford a pet deposit to your landlord if you rent (usually one month’s rent)? YES NO
- ANNUAL COSTS on average $1,400-$4,300 OKAY NOT SURE
- TOTAL LIFETIME CARE (average 14 years) $19,600-$60,200. OKAY NOT SURE
- Will you spay or neuter me? YES NO
- Will you pick up my poop when we go on walks? YES NO
- Will you take me to regular vet visits? YES NO
- Will you take me with you whenever you move? YES NO
Please think about all these things that take time and money. I want to go home with you but not if it means being returned. Practice by putting aside the walk time every day and go for a dog-free walk in your neighborhood, looking at different routes we might walk together. Remember that I need walks twice a day for 45 minutes-one hour, depending on how active I am. You could probably use the walks too! Budget for my monthly costs. This might mean less eating out, less yummy coffee drinks, etc. Read or listen to Cesar’s Way by Cesar Millan about dog psychology.
When you can answer yes to all these questions, you are ready to be a dog owner and I would love to come home with you. Even if I cannot go home with you today, the right dog will be here for you when you are ready. Signing below shows that you have seriously thought about each question. Thank you
I have read and honestly answered each question about dog care.
Murphy, Kara. “Avoiding Returning a Dog to the Animal Shelter.” Hills Pet Nutrition, https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/new-pet-parent/common-reasons-adopted-dogs-are-returned-to-shelters. Accessed 10 February 2019.