If you’re considering adding a dog to your family, there are a lot of questions you need to consider. New pet owners need to make sure that they’re equipped to take care of a dog both in terms of finances and free time, but they also need to be careful about the type of dog they choose. Making sure that their size, personality, and activity level is appropriate for your family is crucial. But it’s also important to decide between adopting vs. buying a dog. There’s no simple answer, but let these pros and cons help guide you to a sensible decision.
Advantages of adopting a dog
The most important benefit of adopting a dog is also its most well advertised. When you adopt a dog, you’re saving a life. While no-kill shelters are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world, there’s only so much space and so many resources, and adopting a dog provides them with a happy and healthy home while clearing up more space for a dog that would otherwise be living on the streets. Moreover, your adoption fees will go towards helping keep the shelter in operation so they can keep doing their good work.
But the advantages of adopting aren’t all about charity. Going to a shelter will allow you to meet the dogs so you can see how they’ll respond to you and how they interact with other animals.
Most shelters spay or neuter the pets, and many provide the dogs with microchips, which saves you time and money. And because many shelter dogs are older, they also have a higher likelihood of being potty trained.
If you decide you want to adopt a specific dog breed, Petfinder.com can help.
Disadvantages of adopting
Every dog deserves to be loved, but it’s irresponsible for a family to take in a pet if they aren’t equipped to provide the dog with the care and attention they deserve. Since many dogs taken in by shelters have an unknown history, it can be hard to really understand their behavior or background.
Aggression, anxiety, or food issues could crop up in a dog that has a background of abuse. It’s also important to consider the sort of undiagnosed health conditions that might crop up with older dogs and those who have been living on the streets. Although these issues can be resolved with a trusted veterinarian, however, it is a factor that needs to be considered. While a shelter can provide you with some background and a behaviorist can help overcome difficulties, these are still issues to consider when picking a dog from a shelter.
Advantages of buying from a responsible breeder
If you’re looking for a specific dog breed, going directly to a breeder is the way to go. And while connecting with a legitimate breeder could once be a time-intensive task, online resources like Uptown Puppies have made the process far simpler. The American Kennel Club also has launched the AKC PuppyVisor program, which can help match your lifestyle and interests with the right breed.
Although a dog’s breed won’t tell you everything about their temperament, it can help you predict the personality of your dog better than with a shelter pet. Also, any legitimate breeder will be able to provide you with the proper paperwork to back up their claims.
You’ll also be secure in the knowledge that your new best friend has been vaccinated and microchipped. While it can be hard to track down the history of most shelter dogs, many breeders will allow you to meet the parents of your new pet.
Disadvantages of buying a dog
Shelter supporters argue that there’s an ethical component to buying a dog and that buying a purebred dog encourages selective breeding in the midst of an animal overpopulation problem. That said, breeding is unlikely to end anytime soon.
That’s why it’s critical to find a breeder who is scrupulous and cares about the welfare of their puppies. Just keep in mind that you’ll pay far more for a purebred puppy than you would by adopting a mutt from a shelter. You’ll also have to make sure to set aside the time for training your new puppy or at least hire a trainer who can provide them with the discipline they need.
Making the right choice
Ultimately the decision to buy or adopt a dog is a personal one, but you should feel proud regardless of the choice you make. A new pet can add a new sense of warmth to your home, but it also provides them with the love and compassion that they so richly deserve.
Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty, and fashion. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.