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The Ultimate Guide To Dog Adoption

Last year, there were over 133,495 animals in Australian animal shelters nationwide. Adopting a dog is a big step so it’s important that you do research before you start your search. Want to find a dog for sale in NSW? Why not adopt a dog? If you’re looking for a loving family pet for your home, adopting a dog is a great alternative to buying a pup.  For all the details, let’s take a look at our ultimate guide to dog adoption!

Why Do You Want to Adopt a Dog?

Before you adopt a dog, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

What are your personal motivations for adopting a dog? Do you want a canine companion to take on daily strolls? Are you looking for a running partner? Or maybe you’d like a dog to play with your small children? Will your dog have a job like herding, protecting or therapy? When considering dog adoption, make sure you consider the expectations of your dog when selecting the right four legged friend. Please DO NOT select a dog purely on their looks.

The Benefits Of Dog Adoption

Reasons To Adopt a Dog

  • You save money: adoption fees are typically much more reasonable compared to pedigree costs.
  • You’ll be physically healthier: going for daily walks with your pup is mutually beneficial.
  • Many shelter dogs have already been desexed.
  • Some people feel that shelter dogs have more personality than a pedigree pooch.
  • You will be supporting your local animal shelter.

Things You Need To Decide Before Adopting a Dog

Dog Adoption: What You Must Consider

Before you go looking, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • Your lifestyle.
  • Your age.
  • Your activity level.
  • Your financial position.
  • Your personality.
  • Your family members/housemates.
  • Your existing pets.
  • Your temperament.
  • Your readiness.

Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before You Adopt A Dog


  • Is anyone in your house allergic to dogs?
    Allergies, illnesses and phobias are all things to consider before adopting a new pet.
  • Are you ready to commit to caring for a dog for its entire life?
    Dogs are not disposable – they are a lifelong commitment. You must be willing to commit to providing them with love, care and nutrition for the rest of their life.
  • Will you have enough time to walk a dog?
    The amount of exercise your dog will need depends on their age and breed however you must be able to commit to exercising them regularly.
  • What breed would best suit your lifestyle?
    Depending on your lifestyle, different breeds will suit different people.
  • Is your home big enough to comfortably house a dog?
    You should never expect your dog to live their lives confined to one small area like in a crate or single room.
  • Will your work/social obligations affect your ability to care for a dog?
    Dogs are social creatures that need love and affection. If your life is too busy as it is, you won’t have time to care for a dog.
  • Who will look after the dog when you’re on holiday?
    You need to make sure you have reliable people in your life that can take care of the dog when you’re out of town.
  • Would your other pets get on with a dog?
    Nervous or ill pets are things to consider before adopting a dog.
  • Can you handle a dog that has behaviour issues or are you looking for an easy-going pup?
    No dog is perfect. You have to be willing to work through barking, chewing, shedding and house-training accidents.

The Cost Of Keeping A Dog

Dog Adoption: How Much You’ll Need To Take Care of A Dog

Although adopting a dog through an animal shelter is cheaper than buying a pedigree pup, there are still some expenses you have to take into consideration before you bring a new dog home. According to a recent study from the Australian Companion Animal Council, the average cost of owning a dog per year is approximately $1,056 (which works out at just over $20 per week). These mandatory expenses include:

Upfront Costs

  • Dog adoption fee.
  • Flea and worming treatments, and heartworm prevention.
  • Microchipping.
  • Puppy vaccinations.
  • Bed and/or kennel.
  • Car restraint.
  • Collar, leash or harness.
  • Food and bowls.
  • Grooming.
  • Puppy training.
  • Toys and treats.

Ongoing Costs

  • Annual health check.
  • Flea and worming treatments.
  • Food.
  • Grooming.
  • Toys and treats.

How To Adopt A Dog


Although the adoption process will vary from shelter to shelter, the process will typically consist of the following steps:

  1. Find your local shelter sites online or in newspapers.
  2. Contact the shelter or organisation to schedule a time to meet.
  3. Fill out an adoption questionnaire.
  4. Have an interview with a shelter or rescue representative.
  5. Spend time with the dogs you like.
  6. Finalise the adoption with some more paperwork.
  7. Take your new friend home!

The Application Process

Filling out adoption applications can be long and arduous but it’s important to in mind that the shelter’s aim to make every adoption successful and to match the perfect dog to it’s perfect home. You may be asked to supply some references and the shelter might want to do a home visit before finalising the adoption. They may ask you about:

  • Your income.
  • Home ownership/landlord information.
  • Previous or current pet ownership.
  • Living conditions (apartment, house, other pets, children, etc.)
  • Where the animal will sleep.
  • How long are you away from home each day?
  • Who will take care of the animal when you’re away?
  • Who is your local vet?

Supplies Checklist: What You Need For Your New Dog

Dog Adoption: Supply List

Once you’ve decided to adopt your new companion, it’s important that your home is organised so that you dog can settle into his or her new pad as smoothly as possible. You will need the following:

  • Food and water bowls.
  • Food. (canned and/or dry)
  • Collar.
  • Leash.
  • ID tag with your phone number.
  • Hard plastic carrier or foldable metal crate.
  • Dog bed and bedding.
  • Doggy shampoo and conditioner.
  • Canine toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Brush and/or comb.
  • Super-absorbent paper towels.
  • Sponge and scrub brush.
  • Non-toxic cleanser.
  • First-aid supplies.
  • Enzymatic odour neutraliser.
  • Plastic poop baggies and/or pooper scooper.
  • Absorbent house-training pads.
  • Variety of toys.
  • Various treats.
  • Baby gate(s).

Coming Home With Your New Dog

Dog Adoption: What Comes Next?

Now that you and your new companion have started your life journey together, what’s next? After you’ve bought the necessary basic dog gear, next you’ll need to dog proof your house. In the beginning, your dog will slowly be adjusting to his or her new environment. Sounds, sights and smells will be unique (and might be a little scary). Be patient and ensure that your home is a peaceful, positive environment for your dog. At first, it may be necessary to separate your new pooch from your other pets. Gradually begin to work on bonding and training after you’ve brought your dog to the local veterinarian.

If you’re interested in adopting a greyhound please see here for more details