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Questions to Consider Before Adopting a Dog

Image of a dog with tongue hanging out standing in woods. MEHS logo and website typed on photo.
Photo Credit: JB Photography

Written by Jaci Rothe

If you are interested in adopting a dog, you have come to the right place! At Metro East Humane Society, we have a variety of furry, friendly Fidos ready to find their forever homes. However, adopting a dog is a very big decision. To prevent rushing into something you are not prepared for and having to return the dog to the shelter, we ask that you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is everyone in your family onboard? If you are adopting a family dog, ensure that all of your family members are ready to take on the commitment. Owning a dog is a lot of responsibility and work, so you need to make sure everyone understands that and is ready to do their fair share in caring for him or her. Talk with the entire family to decide what kind of dog is most appropriate for your lifestyle—young, old, big, or small. If you have young children, you need to find a dog that is children-friendly.

  2. Are you allowed to have a dog where you live? This is an important question especially if you rent or belong to a homeowner’s association. If you rent an apartment and have a roommate(s), you need to check that he or she is okay with a dog living there. You also need to ensure that you have enough room for the dog to live happily. Even if you own your own home, verify that it is pet-proof. For example, if your house is near a busy road, invest in a fence to keep the dog safe.

  3. Are you financially stable enough to care for the dog? A dog not only requires your time and love, but it also requires food and medical care. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), yearly medical expenses for a dog are estimated to be around $200 - $250. And, food costs are estimated to be around $320 each year. You also have to consider the initial costs of the dog, including the adoption fee, pet deposit, collar/leash, crate, bed, etc. However, we must say that adopting a dog is significantly cheaper than buying one from a breeder. Purchasing a puppy can cost anywhere from $500 to more than $1,000, and typically doesn’t include anything else. However, adoption fees typically range from $25 to $300. When you adopt a puppy or dog from MEHS, he or she is already vaccinated, dewormed, spayed/neutered, heartworm and Parvo tested, microchipped and registered. You also receive a collar, leash, ID tag, toys, treats, and a bag of food!

  4. Is your schedule feasible to own and care for a dog? When you first bring a dog home, you should plan for an adjustment period for the dog and yourself. While every dog is different, it can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks for your shelter dog to fully adjust to his or her new home and life. During this period, your time and love are critical for the dog to begin to feel safe and comfortable. Once your dog has grown to love you and its new home, he or she still requires your attention and care. Studies have found that dogs that do not receive enough interaction have a greater risk of developing behavioral problems, anxiety, and obesity. Make sure that you have time to walk, play, and truly engage with your dog each day.

  5. If you already have a pet, is that animal going to do well with your new dog? Most pets (even some of the most stubborn cats) enjoy companionship. However, you want to ensure that your current pet will not harm your new dog. The same goes with the new dog. You want to ensure he or she will not be a threat to your current pet. A good rule of thumb is to have the animals interact before you finalize the adoption.

If you have asked yourself these questions and still feel ready to add a new member to your family, great! You can view our adoptable dogs here: Or, you can come into the shelter and view our adoptable dogs during our open hours: Monday-Saturday 11:30 am to 5pm, Sunday 11:30am to 3pm. Our staff is extremely knowledgeable about each and every dog, and can help you find the best fit for your family.

If you are unsure about adopting a dog, fostering may be an ideal option for you. Learn more about our foster program here:


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