The following is a guest post from Kevin Sloan.
At an NYC puppy shelter a few weeks ago, my mind was just about made up when I met Chester – The cutest Lab puppy I’d ever seen. His large pouty eyes, silky fur-coat, and silly little paws on which he fumbled all over the hay-covered kennel, lured me in like a dog to a bone.
After talking to the owner of the shelter however, I learned there was more to adopting little Chester, or any pet for that matter, than my love at first bark. While an instant connection is important, she said, there are many other factors to consider before taking your future pet home.
Don’t let the dog eat your homework
Before visiting the local animal shelter, I should have done some background research. Here are some things to consider when comparing different dog breeds:
• Do you live in an apartment or a house with a small backyard? If so, don’t get a dog that requires a lot of space to run around and play.
• Can you handle hair…everywhere? Some dogs shed more than others; don’t get a golden retriever if you don’t want to clean up hair all the time.
• Do you have other pets or children? If so, make sure to get a breed that plays nice with both.
Finding a diamond in the ‘Ruff’
The only thing I did right that day was begin my search at the animal shelter, though the local pound is also a great place to look. Shelter owners say these dogs make great pets because they are so grateful for some much needed TLC.
If your local shelter doesn’t have the breed you want, many animal rescue agencies specialize in particular dog breeds; an easy Google search actually pointed me to specialized animal rescues shelters.
Protect your pooch
Cost is another thing the shelter owner recommended I consider. Some long-term expenses to contemplate are:
• Dog Food: Large bags might be cost-effective, but some breeds require specialized food, which might be more expensive. Side note: Protein should be a main ingredient. *
• Pet insurance: Some breeds are more likely than others to have health problems, as they grow older. Vet bills can be extremely expensive, so insurance is worthwhile depending on the breed and age of your potential dog.
*(There are a lot of differences between dog food brands, like nutritional value – visit FindTheBest to compare dog foods.)
Hopefully sharing my learning experience at the shelter will help you make informed decisions when they’re ready to adopt. Use FindTheBest to do some extra-credit homework (this time, “your dog ate it” is not an excuse), by comparing dog breeds to find out which type is best for you.