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Things To Know Before Adopting Your First Dog

Welcoming a furry friend into your life is an incredible, life-changing decision. Dogs love us unconditionally and are loyalists of friends. However, there are a few things to know before adopting your first dog. Understanding canine body language and the importance of vet visits is vital. Before adopting a pet, you should also know where you’ll get your furry friend. Below, we’ll dive deeper into these tips to help you prepare.

Understand Canine Body Language

Unfortunately, dogs can’t verbally communicate with us. As a result, it’s hard for some of us to understand what our pup needs.

Dogs communicate with us through their barks and their ear and tail positions. Many of us have heard a dog make low, gruff-like barks. Typically, this means that your pup’s excited—they may see another dog or person. On the other hand, growling paired with bared teeth is a warning of aggression. This behavior typically means they want you or someone else to give them space.

Why It Matters

Like people, animals need to feel understood, and our dogs have limits. If they don’t want cuddles or pets, it’s best to leave them alone. Listening to your pup helps you build a healthy relationship.

Find a Vet

Researching local vets is the most important thing to know before adopting your first dog. Your pet’s first appointment should occur soon after you adopt them. After this, your dog should visit the vet at least once a year for an annual check-up. These visits ensure they remain up-to-date on all vaccines, preventing diseases such as parvo, Bordetella, and canine distemper.

Animals can develop various conditions throughout life, such as diabetes, heart disease, skin problems, and ear infections. Chronic conditions such as diabetes require the owner regularly give their pet insulin injections. At the vet, you can discuss tips for keeping your diabetic pet comfortable by learning what foods to feed them and how to inject insulin. Vets can help you with any pre-existing issues that your adopted pup experiences.

Decide Where To Adopt

Where you get your pet is a big deal and can impact other factors, such as canine health. Aim to adopt from a reputable shelter, rescue, or breeder, depending on your preferences. If you want a specific breed of dog, search for a specialized breeder or rescue. However, if breed doesn’t matter, you can always search for local shelters.

Remember that finding the perfect dog goes beyond looks—personality is crucial. Many shelters write descriptions for all the animals in their care. Read through these listings or call to learn more about the pet to decide if the pup you have in mind is a good match for your lifestyle.

Adoption Tip

When adopting from a breeder, there may not be a lot of information on the dog’s personality, as breeders typically sell young puppies. Instead, research the behaviors of the specific breed before you leap into pet parenthood!


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