First things First: When adopting a dog


Adopting a dog is a decision that has to be made both with your heart but also with your head. And getting a grown-up dog can be a not-so-easy task.

 Although you might wind up with an extremely affectionate, well-behaved, easy to get-along-with and healthy pet, this scenario may not always be the case.

For those fortunate people who have had the blessing of having dogs since puppies, and raised them as their own children, adopting a grown-up can be daunting at the beginning, as this new dog will have a complete strange personality, often will not even look at you (let alone obey to your command!), and, as it happened to us at the beginning, it’s not even used to human touch and company. Our poor Cooper didn’t even wag his tail, something entirely new to me as I’ve always have had dogs since very young puppies and the connection I had with these extremely lovely and well behaved creatures was incredible, and tail wagging was a so common and a regular sign for me. Also in terms of obedience and training, it’s something amazing what you can do when your puppies think you’re their parent. So for my brave dog adopters, this is a wonderful challenge in store.



Most for-adoption dogs can be found in shelters or foster homes. You can get in contact to local shelters and start studying the case thoroughly. Don’t make rush decisions, take your time to visit and think it through. It can even take several visits and some weeks, or months for you to decide, it’s OK. This is a life we’re talking about. It is like having a child, however, this furry friend will last shorter (depending of course oh how old will it be when adopted, but would be an average of 10 to 12 years) and will depend absolutely on you for as long as she or he lives.

In our case, if you remember, we were planning to get a young puppy, and were determined about Vizslas, and then we saw the ad with Cooper on it, selling him because he was not “fit” for hunting. We decided he was worth a try, and although I had always had my dogs since puppies, I was willing to give this one a second chance and boy how am I thankful for having done it! One of the best experiences in my life. Hands down!

Now, depending on your patience, determination and invested time, you can achieve great results and have the friend that will fill your days with love and great moments, at the same time as obeying you. But it can be a tough task, so be prepared because you don’t know what you will be facing until you actually start living and sharing with your new furry friend. Don’t be scared though, love is always the answer. And the satisfaction of having saved a life and brought to your family and home a true friend is priceless. Remember, again, love is the answer.

Like I said, adopting a dog is a decision that has to be made both with your heart but also with your head. There are very important steps you need to follow when you have made up your mind in regards to it. These are the basic ones.

1. Make sure allergies won’t be a problem:

It might look like a minor thing, but it’s not. Everyone who will be involved with the dog (that includes your close family, relatives and even friends) needs to be on-board. Otherwise it’ll be a load that with time will be difficult to bear and can lead to so regrettable decisions.

2. Arrange for a place and plan your daily routines and make sure you have enough time and patience for your dog

Another very often over-looked aspect. Dogs, even small ones, need space, and not only physical. They need to exercise regularly so they don’t get cranky and acquire a good health that will allow you to enjoy them for many years, and need attention. You will need to cater for at minimum twice a day walks, cleaning, feeding, watching for health issues and yes, playing and pampering. Humans have made dog completely dependant on us, physically and mentally. You have to be patient, you have to be kind. They can be damaged and also can cause you and other people a lot of trouble if you don’t give them the time, discipline, exercise and love they need. Really. It’s important you realise this before committing to this challenge.

Getting out is a must. Even in you own a big house, the dog needs to go out because this is the way their species organise hierarchies and understand who’s in charge. If you have a medium to high energy dog, and you don’t walk her or him regularly, they will get frustrated and bad behaviours will come with this.


3. Cater for a basic dog training

It may not be always necessary, as there are may kinds of dog personalities and experiences that have made them who they are, but most likely, you’ll need to teach them some basic rules so make sure you know how to do it, unless you want to end up frustrated and with a dog that doesn’t respond to your command.

It’s not as difficult as it may seem, especially for Vizslas, which are extremely intelligent and trainable dogs, but it does have its points of attention you need to observe. Consistency and patience are the main ones. You and your dog will get good at developing new tricks, and the satisfaction you’ll obtain from seeing your friend progressing and obeying you will build a bond that will make you very happy and with an amazing sense of achievement.

4. Make sure you can afford having this responsibility.

And this is where I’m going to be very extensive. Your canine friend will require regular medical checks, vaccinations (this will vary importantly depending on the place you live, so check with your vet), food and dog’s care products expenses, and even special spend for holiday events or, if you don’t have enough time to, someone who takes your dog out for a walk. Please, please, please, I will never get tired to beg this, if you are not sure about what will you do with your dog when you go on holidays, don’t get one. Please. Here in Barcelona we have very sad seeings during spring and summer time because owners “decide” just to get rid of their pets and throw them to streets as they’re not willing to pay for a pet hotel or pet care while they are away; also because Christmas is the time of the year when people get pets the most, and they “realise” after 3 to 4 months they cannot take care of their friends anymore. I’m not even going to comment on these actions, everyone has a conscience, but I beg you to please be mature and generous enough to avoid getting a pet if you don’t have the capability of dealing with this matter properly. We’re talking here about a life. And every life counts.

Make your calculations on how much you will need to spend on your dog. Here’s a basic list but depending on your lifestyle you might need to add something else. Make these calculations on a year’s basis and also a monthly basis so you can plan your budget.

VET CARE: Get your first visit to your pet for a first evaluation and bring your dog up-to-date vaccination-wise.

Also you’ll need to plan for 3 to 4 visits to your dog’s veterinary per year. Just regular checks, this is assuming your pup doesn’t have any harsh illness. These calculations would need to include the actual visits, vaccinations, and any medicine you may need to give to your puppy. The first year, usually, is the most expensive one, as you may need to bring your dog up-to-date in regards to vaccination and heal any ailment it may have from the past that hasn’t been tended to at the shelter, foster home or previous owner’s time.

In our case, in Barcelona, Vet’s visits cost 30 euro, and so far we have had to apply to Cooper 3 vaccinations he hadn’t received and was already due. So far we have spent the following in bringing Cooper up-to-date:

  • Rabies and triple vaccination: 46 Euro
  • Anti-parasite collar: 40 Euro, needs to be changed every 3 months
  • Anti-parasite vaccination (lasts 3 months): 10 Euro
  • 3 visits to the vet, 30 euro each one ( and there will be 3 more this year due to the anti-parasite injections):
  • Anti-Leishmaniosis disease injection: 12 Euro, lasts 3 months, need to have along with the anti-parasite injection

So far then we’re projecting to spend this year 504 euros in Cooper, and next year it’ll be 470, as the triple vaccination won’t be needed but the rabies one will (in some places you need to give this one once a year, in others one every other year)

FOOD: Make this calculation based on your dog’s weight, your dog’s food consumption and the food you will give to it. Happy dog’s don’t care about brands, but most frequently a good product is what will give your dog the best combination of nutrients they need. We started with the brand our dear Cooper was having at his former home, but we’re planning to change to Royal Canin Medium Adult, as it has a good combination of ingredients and protein percentage and so far it’s been the most recommended by our expert friends and dog carers. We’ll let you know when we change, but at the moment, you care for the spend, right? So here’s how to calculate it:

Yearly spend: [Daily consumption in grams ] x [365] x [Food’s Price per bag] x 1/ [Food’s bag weight in grams]

In our case, daily consumption is 600 g because Cooper’s only 21 kg dog and is a medium active dog.

So, in our example, Cooper requires:

[600g/day] *[365 days/year] *[40 Euros/Bag] * [1Bag/20.000g]= 438 Euros/year, which means almot 37 Euros per month.

PERSONAL CARE: Taking care of your dog requires some basic gear you’ll need to have at hand if you want to enjoy a true and clean friend you can always pat, hug and even kiss. Make sure you have your children and family members checked for allergies before getting your dog. Please.

These are the personal care equipment you need for your dog. I’m calculating again on a yearly and monthly base:

Dental care: dog dental toothbrush is not expensive. You’d need to brush his or her teeth from once a day to once every two days. You’ll also need a brush that can be renewed every 3 months. This will cost you 15 euros every time you purchase the toothpaste and brush, every 3 months, so yearly it’ll be 60 euros and spread over the year, 5 euros per month. Also there are some dental sticks that might be great for cleaning and as treats. Just make sure you don’t give your dog the poorest quality one. Anything with more than 20& protein and less than 15% fat will do the trick. These may cost you some good 200 euro per year, about 16 per month.

Baths: depending on the breed, how often they go out, exercise and place they live, dogs may need to be showered once every month or every other month. In our case, Vizslas are very special dogs. They don’t smell so strong, trend to be self-cleaning (spend a good part of time licking themselves like cats), and since their coat is very thin, short-haired, these pups can be bathed from two to 4 times per year. You may reduce importantly showering frequency if every week you pass on them one of my special and natural cleaning towels, which I explain how to make here in another post here.

You would need to make up to 2 sets of these cleaning towels every month, whose cost would be no more than 30 euros per year in materials, which is 2.5 monthly. Now, on a yearly basis, you’ll need to spend up to 30 euros in dog shampoo, 2,5 euros per month.

Don’t forget to Apply every night a natural Vaseline, who’s annual cost in materials will be less than 20 euro, less than 2 euro per month (Here’s how to make the natural moisturiser for your dog). Also, bags for excrements are not usually taken in consideration due to their relatively low cost, but for us, it’s 5 euro per month, which is 60 annually.

LEISURE TIME AND PAMPERING: if you want to spoil a little bit your dog, that’s not too bad, as long as you keep in mind she or he’s a dog and not a human. Dressing them up (unless an extreme weather requires it), painting their nails or even their coat, ribbons and other stuff like that it’s not really necessary and expert trainers recommend to avoid it. But if you still want to do this to your dog, please bear in mind you need to be sure it will never mean the dog can stop being a pet to become a spoiled child. This should be avoided, because it leads into un-wanted behaviours, always. Please avoid it or it will make everyone suffer. Thanks.

However, if you have a balanced dog that respects your authority and follows your rules, you can always give them treats and pamper them with a nice dog bed, toys (a chewing one, a go-fetch one and a grab-and-pull will do) and even fancy collars or anything you think you’ll make you both happy without destroying boundaries. So far we have spent only 18 euro in toys for Cooper, although the leash and collar cost another 20. But these are one-off, unless you lost them somewhere.

HOLIDAYS: if you don’t have any relatives or friends you can trust with your pet, you’ll need to pay for some pet hotel. This is usually from 12 to 20 euro per day, so depending on how long you usually take as a getaway, you’ll pay for it. Here in Spain people commonly take 3 weeks in summertime, so let’s say, 420 euro for your dog as a maximum spend due to your vacation time.

DOG WALKERS: if you don’t have the time to take your dog twice a day, this can be solved with a dog walker. They can take your dog out for up to 50 euro per month, 600 euro annually if you consider the most expensive scenario.

TRAINING: so far we’ve spent 180 euro in Cooper’s training and education. Of course a formal, paid training is optional, what’s not optional is that you teach your doggie some rules. You can either search for help or do it yourself. In this site I explain basic rules you need to have in consideration, but remember that a professional will always know best, especially if you have tried these recommendations and they haven’t worked out. Every dog is different, and even though breeds have common traits you could count on, temperament and past experiences of your dog can make things get complicated.

TAX AND OTHER FEES: depending on the country you live, even the region, you may need to cater for this expense. Ask your council before acquiring the dog. These are not usually too expensive but tend to have specific rules as to when to pay them and how, and if you don’t do so you’ll end up with a fine. Make your research with enough notice so you can budget for this too.

DOCUMENTATION: Check with your council and your vet what kind of documentation your pet needs.

In Barcelona, for instance, it’s mandatory for owners to always have with them the dog’s ID (a small card that states the pet’s characteristics and owner’s details), the green booklet (that contains all up-to-date vaccination details), which contain the pet’s complete name, date of birth, owner’s details, microchip data and vaccination updates.

Also when you register your doggie in Cataluña Spain, apart from the dog’s ID you receive a yellow tag with a QR code that, in the event the dog gets missing (hopefully this never happens!), the person who finds it can scan the code at the Cataluña’s vet Association and get in contact with the owner.

Local Police have the right (and boy they use it) to ask for the dog’s documentation and if you fail to have it with you, you’re in for a fine. Don’t take any risks. Also be especially aware that dangerous breeds require a specific and individual permit, and have to wear muzzle all the time when not at home.

Fines up to 4000 euros can be applied to an owner without a dangerous dog’s documentation and license, if the animal is in shared places with children, and without muzzle. Careful then.

Make sure you always have at least a good copy of the documentation with you when going for a walk or outside at all, and especially if you’re going on a trip outside your country, you’ll need to add to this the dog’s passport.

Thanks for reading, love your dog and take care!

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