When you make the decision that you are going to add a dog to your home you may be wondering whether you should adopt a dog or buy a dog. This article isn’t about saying which is right or wrong, but instead it’s about helping you make the decision about which is right for you and your family.
One of the first things that people should do before they even consider getting a dog is ask themselves the following questions.
3 Things To Consider Before You Get A Dog
#1. Do I have time for a dog?
Having a dog is going to take up a lot of your time. You can’t just get a dog and then expect it to take care of itself. It’s going to need love, attention, walks and play time. You are going to need to clean up after it (think dog hair and dirty paws!), change its bedding and take it to the vets when it is sick.
But in return your dog will show you unconditional love for the rest of its life.
#2. Can I afford a dog?
Apart from the time commitment there is a financial commitment to owning a dog. Things like pet insurance, food, bedding, vets bills, toys, treats, pet care (kennels or a pet sitter), bedding etc.
You should be confident you have enough in your monthly budget to cover these things with ease.
#3. What type of dog will suit my family?
Puppies are the cutest thing but they get big! Make sure you find out before you get a puppy how big the breed of dog will get. If you only have a small space in your home them a Great Dane might not be the best dog for you.
If you don’t have a lot of time to walk your dog each day, then a high-energy dog that needs a couple of hours walk a day is not going to work out.
If you have children, then think about what dog would suit being around children.
Pros and Cons Of Adopting A Dog
Pros of Adopting a Dog
There is no doubt that adopting a dog is one of the most of rewarding things that you can do, but what are the real pros of adopting a dog.
#1. You are literally saving a life.
When you take a dog from the rescue you are literally saving their life. Many rescues in Ireland do unfortunately put dogs down due to space issues. There are many rescues that work to stop this by taking the dogs out of the rescues, however they still need the support of the public to help them re-home them.
#2. You can choose a breed/age of dog that suits you
Depending on your lifestyle you may find a smaller/older dog suits you better. Or maybe you want a young dog that will grow up with your family.
When you adopt a rescue dog you can choose the dog that suits your family.
#3. Your dog will be spayed/neutered
Most rescues will spay/neuter your dog before you take them from the rescue to prevent them having puppies. This is a considerable saving for the new dog owner on vet’s bill.
#4. It’s possible they will be micro-chipped
Most rescues should micro-chip your dog before you get them. It is law now to have your dog chipped, so this will save money on getting it done yourself. Plus, you know from the moment your dog comes home with you that they are already chipped.
#5. The dog will possibly be toilet trained
Many dogs in the rescue are older and so will be toilet trained. You can spend a considerable amount of time with puppies training them, so with a rescue, you don’t have quite as much training.
Obviously, there are times when perhaps the dog has been an outdoor dog and needs to be retrained to now be an indoor dog.
#6. You can see how the dog behaves with other dogs
When you are adopting a dog, you will get to see them interacting with other dogs and usually, the rescue can tell you quite a bit about their nature, especially if they have been at the rescue centre for some time.
#7. Helping the rescue centre with your donation
When you adopt a rescue dog you give a donation to the rescue, which helps to fund the work that they do with other dogs. This is vital to the rescues who mostly depend on public money to carry out the work that they do.
Cons of Adopting a Dog
#1. You don’t know the dog’s history
When you adopt a dog you usually don’t know the history of the dog. Sometimes there are dogs in the rescue which have been surrendered due to a change in family circumstances, but most of the time they have been found dumped around the country. This could mean they have food or aggression issues.
With a good dog trainer or behaviourist, these issues can usually be resolved.
#2. Possible Health Issues with Older Dog
With any dog, there is a possibility that there are health issues that you don’t know about and often pet insurance companies will not insure older dogs. However, this is something you can discuss with the rescue beforehand and see if they have any health records from when the dog was initially checked out by the rescue.
There can, of course, be health issues with any age of the dog and some purebred dogs are prone to illness.
Pros and Cons of Buying A Dog
Pros of Buying a dog
#1. Get to meet the parents
If you are purchasing a dog from a registered breeder, then you will always be able to meet the parents of the dog. If this is not made available to you then I would strongly suggest you question why it’s not possible.
#2. Official papers for the dog
A registered breeder will be able to give you official papers for the dog showing their family history and confirming their exact breed.
#3. Vaccinated and micro-chipped
The law requires all breeders to vaccinate and micro-chip puppies before they sell them. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of any paperwork you can always call the vet to verify them.
#4. You know the exact breed
With a rescue dog, you might not know the exact breed that you are adopting. There are breeds that you might not see very often, if at all, in the rescue so purchasing that breed of dog might be your only option.
Cons of Buying a Dog
#1. Enabling the constant breeding of dogs
You could argue that if everyone stopped buying dogs there would be no reason for breeders to breed them and therefore the rescues wouldn’t be full of dogs needing a home.
A legitimate breeder will breed their dog responsibly, however, if you are purchasing a dog from a puppy farm you are feeding the industry in which unscrupulous people are making money from innocent animals without caring for their welfare.
#2. The cost can be high
Purchasing a dog from a breeder can be extremely high. Expect to pay hundreds for a dog. When you adopt a dog, you are giving back to the rescues that help them and that money is being put to good use.
#3. Time spent training your puppy
When you get a puppy from a breeder expect to commit months to training it to make sure it’s a well behaved and well-rounded dog. The benefit to this though is that you can train your puppy to behave how you want it to. Don’t want it to sit on your sofa? Then you can train your puppy not to from the start.