Dog Adoption: What You Need to Know

After much thought, you may have finally decided that now is the perfect time to adopt a dog. Congrats! But before you bring home the newest member of your family, there are things to consider and steps to take to ensure that the decision to bring an animal into your home is the right one for both yourself and the dog.

More than 2,700 dogs were adopted from the Jacksonville Humane Society in 2020, a sign that people were looking for companions during a tough year. Before you adopt, make sure you’ve lined up an experienced veterinary provider to help you with all the questions, vaccines, and other important information you need to keep your new dog healthy and happy.

Here is more information on adoption and what you need to know:

A Beautiful Sad Looking Dog Is Asking Someone To Adopt Him

How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

There is no set amount for how much it costs to adopt. Some dogs have higher adoption fees to prevent people from immediately reselling a “popular” breed for profit. The weight and age of the dog involved may lead to a variation in adoption fees. There also may be other fees depending on where you adopt.

For example, in Jacksonville, the city requires adopters 62 and under within Duval County to pay a city licensing fee of $20 for any pet that has received its rabies vaccination. This fee helps fund low-cost and free spaying/neutering for the community.

What’s the benefit of adopting vs. buying a dog?

Many potential pet owners struggle with the question of why adopt a dog instead of buying one?

If you choose to adopt from a shelter or the humane society, you are essentially helping to save a pet’s life. In addition, it helps clear space for other dogs who may need help. Adoption gives you a chance to see the dog and get an idea of its personality. Plus, many rescue dogs have already been microchipped and most are trained in some form. On the flip side, you have no idea of the dog’s previous background and whether it suffered abuse or neglect that may raise itself once in your home.

Buying a dog from a reputable breeder allows you to choose the specific type of dog you want and have it at an early age. Plus, you’ll have a better idea of family history and temperament. One negative is that the costs will be higher when buying a dog.

What to Ask When Adopting a Dog

There are several questions you should ask when considering adoption. You may not know exactly what to look for when adopting a dog, but some of these questions can serve as guidelines as you make your decision:

  • How long has the dog been in the shelter? Why is it here?
  • Was this a stray dog? What condition was it in when found?
  • Has this dog been adopted before?
  • Does the dog get along with children? Pets? Other people?
  • Does the dog require any special care or medical treatment?

What’s the best age to adopt a puppy?

Everyone loves seeing a cute, tiny puppy begin its journey in the world. Potential pet owners often wonder when can puppies be adopted? Out of their natural environment, puppies who are brought home too young can sometimes develop bad habits.

There are several key elements in the development of a puppy:

  • The primary socialization period occurs from three-to-five weeks of age. This is when the pup learns how to be around other dogs from its litter mates and receives feedback on bite inhibition from its mom and siblings. Remove the pup too soon and it may exhibit behavior problems later.
  • The secondary socialization period is between six-to-14 weeks. This is when the puppy should be exposed to people, places, animals, and environments without the fear of being overstimulated. This is also when the puppy develops a strong relationship with its humans.

Some states have laws on the books that prevent breeders from selling puppies too early. In Florida, the law states a puppy must be at least 8 weeks old before it can be adopted.

After you do adopt a dog, you’ll want to make sure you connect with an experienced, friendly veterinary provider who can make sure your new pet is healthy and keep your new family member on a proper schedule of immunizations, treatments and checkups.