Has spending months alone behind closed doors made you ache for companionship? If so, maybe you’ve considered adopting a dog during quarantine.
Canines in shelters across America need the help of loving people like you, but a pet is a years-long commitment. Should you adopt a dog during quarantine? Quite possibly, but please consider the following first.
Quarantine, loneliness, and illness
Older adults have long understood the value of pets for easing social isolation. Pets make it a snap to talk to others. While many shy away from approaching strangers in public, canine companions make you more approachable — you have an instant conversation-starter.
You might be one of the many fighting mental health conditions, and the quarantines probably haven’t helped your symptoms. Here, too, a canine companion can rescue you. A recent meta-analysis of 17 studies suggests that dogs can help with a range of disorders, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you are struggling health-wise through the quarantines, adopting a dog can help. However, a pet is a living creature with feelings and emotions, so before you head to the shelter, please make sure you are prepared for the responsibility of ownership.
Factors to consider before adopting a dog during quarantine
Adopting a dog has clear advantages, but please weigh the following factors before you head to the shelter. You don’t want to find yourself making a heartbreaking trip back if you discover that you can’t keep up with your furry friend’s needs.
If you own your home and aren’t facing any imminent foreclosure risks, then you meet the first qualification for dog ownership. All puppies need a stable place to live.
However, if you rent, you face an additional hurdle. You’ll need first to get your landlord’s written permission to adopt a dog. Please, never adopt if your lease prohibits pets, even if you see others on the property or get a verbal okay. If it comes down to a court battle, the written word will prevail over oral, and you could face eviction or surrendering your companion.
If you lost your job or saw your hours reduced during the pandemic, please delay adoption until your financial situation stabilizes. It costs approximately $500 to cover initial medical fees, adoption fees, and supplies. Then, you need to budget for ongoing costs like food, annual veterinary checkups, and any medications. Chihuahuas might cost less to feed than St. Bernards, but any breed can develop health woes.
Please consider investing in pet health insurance. While it may seem like fluff, especially if you are one of the millions of uninsured Americans yourself, it can spare you heartbreak. You don’t want to have to put your beloved pet down because you can’t afford a needed surgery.
3. Available time
When it comes to pets, dogs take up considerably more time than hamsters and goldfish. They demand more attention than most cats, and unless you have an attached doggie door with a run, you need to take them out to do their business multiple times a day. Dogs are also creatures of routine, and you’ll want to establish a steady routine for food, taking your dog out for housebreaking and exercise.
Dogs benefit from anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity daily. Some breeds are lazier than others but keeping any pet cooped up without release can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing.
4. Other family members
If you live solo, you can disregard this advice. However, if you have a partner or roommates, make sure they are on board with adoption to avoid conflicts. Also, make sure they don’t have allergies.
Pets need your help
If you can afford to get a pet, please adopt one from a shelter. The economic realities of COVID-19 have forced many to surrender their beloved animals, and many only have days before they are euthanized. They desperately need your help before it’s too late.
Consider adopting a dog during quarantine
Jane Marsh is an environmental writer who is passionate about pet care and health. To read more of her work, follow her site Environment.co.