Adult vs. Puppy: Which Age Is Right for Your Next Adoption?

Adopting a dog is a wonderful way to save a life and expand your family. There are millions of incredible canines in shelters throughout the country eagerly awaiting a loving home. You could find your four-legged best friend in a heartbeat just by strolling through your local dog shelter tomorrow.

But owning a pet is a major responsibility, one that far too few people think through. This is partially why so many dogs of all ages wind up in need of a new home to begin with. While it’s hard to resist the heartmelting gaze of a puppy, adult dogs are also amazing and oftentimes a better fit for many soon-to-be paw parents. Before you seal the deal on any adoption, it is helpful to assess your current lifestyle, preferences and vision of pet ownership.

Cost of Ownership

Puppies require more supplies and veterinary care during their first year of life than an adult dog. While some puppies are microchipped and spayed or neutered beforehand, many are too small for these procedures. This means you will have to pay for their full first-year puppy shots as well as their spaying and neutering. You will also have to pay for all of their supplies and additional care costs, which may include puppy daycare.

Puppies may also cost more to adopt. Their adoption fee is set higher to dissuade people from impulsively taking on a cute responsibility they can’t properly care for. Pet ownership can cost between $1,000 to $4,00 annually. To save money, it could be better to opt for an older dog of a low-maintenance breed.

Planning for Care

The first thing you’ll want to do before you adopt is to make sure your budget is able to accommodate them. Lowering your monthly expenses will help free up space and give you peace of mind. In addition to cutting unnecessary costs, you should also think about debt and potential repayment options. One thing you can do is refinance existing student loan debt into a new one. You can see your payment options online with a refinance calculator to decide if this is a worthwhile choice for you.

With finances sorted, you will have to consider practical lifestyle changes as well. For example, will you need to send your pup to daycare or hire a dog walker while you’re at work? Can you account for the cost of extra gas if you plan on driving home on your lunch break to let them out? Who will watch your pet when you’re away? Additional expenses will come from trainers and groomers, which may or may not be regular services you require. You’ll also have to invest in pet insurance to make sure your pet’s health is always protected.

Reasons to Adopt an Adult Dog

Puppies are adorable, and it’s rewarding to watch one grow under your care. But they require round-the-clock attention that is too demanding for some people. Puppies that are left alone too much can also develop behavioral issues that are difficult to out-train when they’re older. Some reasons you may decide to adopt an older pet are:

  • You work out of the house all day and don’t want to pay for additional care.
  • You do not want to deal with inevitable accidents, chewed belongings and puppy puberty.
  • You prefer a pet that is already mature, socialized and goes with the flow.
  • You prefer a low-energy breed that can relax with you after a long day.
  • You would rather spend time playing with your pet than training it.

It is easier to find older dogs that are already comfortable around people, pets and know some simple commands. Puppies are blank slates, so you have to teach them everything you want them to know. You also can’t be entirely sure what their personality will be until they’re older, whereas it’s easier to find a shelter dog with a temperament that’s similar to yours.

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