100 Questions to Ask When Adopting a Dog

Embarking on the journey of adopting a dog is heartwarming and life-changing. However, it’s crucial that your decision is both thoughtful and informed. Asking the right questions before adopting can lead to a happier, healthier life for both you and your new furry friend.

Through these questions, you’ll uncover the past and present of your potential pet, ensuring that you’re prepared for the future together. Let’s navigate the exciting process of bringing a four-legged companion into your home by asking questions that reveal the heart and soul of your future dog.

Dog’s Background and History

  1. What is the dog’s age and breed?
  2. Can you provide any details about the dog’s previous owners or living situations?
  3. How did the dog come to be in the shelter or rescue?
  4. Has the dog lived in a home environment before?
  5. Does the dog have a history of being transferred between multiple shelters or owners?
  6. Can you tell me about the dog’s life before coming to the shelter?
  7. Is there any known history of abuse or neglect?
  8. How long has the dog been up for adoption?
  9. Have there been any interested adopters, and if so, why didn’t it work out?
  10. Are there any records of the dog’s interactions with previous owners or handlers?
  11. Has the dog ever been lost or run away?
  12. Does the dog have any known favorite toys or activities from its past?
  13. Are there any behavioral notes from previous shelters?
  14. How does the dog respond to being in a kennel or shelter environment?
  15. Has the dog ever been returned after an adoption, and for what reason?
  16. Does the dog have any known triggers or fears stemming from its background?
  17. What names has the dog responded to in the past?
  18. Are there any records of how the dog interacts with other animals or children?
  19. Has the dog been involved in any incidents or altercations with people or other animals?
  20. Can the shelter provide any journals or notes from previous foster caregivers?

Health and Vaccination Status

  1. Is the dog currently up to date on vaccinations?
  2. Does the dog have any known health issues or special needs?
  3. Can you provide detailed veterinary records since the dog has been in your care?
  4. Has the dog been spayed or neutered?
  5. What flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives has the dog been given?
  6. Does the dog have any allergies or dietary restrictions?
  7. Has the dog undergone a recent health examination?
  8. How does the dog handle visits to the veterinarian?
  9. Are there any signs of congenital conditions like hip dysplasia or eye problems?
  10. Can you provide any history of surgeries or major medical treatments?
  11. Is the dog microchipped, and can the chip be transferred to the new owner?
  12. Are there any recommended future medical procedures or vaccinations?
  13. Has the dog shown any symptoms of illness while at the shelter?
  14. How often has the dog been groomed or received dental care?
  15. What kind of diet has the dog been on, and what brand of food?
  16. Does the dog have a history of injuries or physical therapy requirements?
  17. Has the dog been tested for common diseases like heartworm, Lyme disease, or parvovirus?
  18. What is the dog’s exercise tolerance and physical activity level?
  19. Does the dog require any ongoing medications or treatments?
  20. Are there any breed-specific health concerns to be aware of?

Behavior and Temperament

  1. How does the dog typically behave around new people?
  2. Can you describe the dog’s energy level?
  3. How does the dog react to other dogs or pets?
  4. Are there any signs of separation anxiety or other stress-related behaviors?
  5. Has the dog been evaluated by a professional dog trainer or behaviorist?
  6. What kind of training has the dog received, and has it responded well?
  7. Does the dog have any habits or quirks that a new owner should be aware of?
  8. How does the dog behave during walks or outdoor activities?
  9. Is the dog housebroken or crate-trained?
  10. Has the dog ever shown any aggressive tendencies toward people or other animals?
  11. How does the dog respond to corrections or commands?
  12. Are there any specific stimuli to which the dog seems to react negatively or positively?
  13. Does the dog have a history of barking or howling excessively?
  14. How does the dog act when left alone for extended periods?
  15. What toys or games does the dog enjoy?
  16. Has the dog lived with or been tested with children?
  17. Can the dog handle busy environments, or does it prefer calmer settings?
  18. How does the dog manage stressful situations, like thunderstorms or fireworks?
  19. What is the dog’s typical daily routine here at the shelter/rescue?
  20. Are there any recommendations for ongoing training or socialization?

Daily Care and Maintenance

  1. What is the dog’s current feeding schedule and portion size?
  2. Can you suggest an exercise routine that would suit the dog’s needs and energy levels?
  3. What type of grooming does the dog require, and how often?
  4. Are there any specific brands or types of food the dog is used to, or would you recommend?
  5. How often does the dog need to go outside for bathroom breaks?
  6. What kind of bedding or sleeping arrangements does the dog prefer?
  7. How is the dog traveling in a car or using public transportation?
  8. Does the dog have special needs for comfort or anxiety, such as a thunder shirt?
  9. What kind of collars, leashes, or harnesses work best for the dog during walks?
  10. Are there any specific cleaning and care products that are safe or recommended for the dog?
  11. What is the best way to introduce the dog to a new home environment?
  12. Has the dog displayed any destructive behavior, such as chewing or digging?
  13. How often does the dog need to be bathed, and are there any shampoo preferences?
  14. What has been the dog’s typical socialization routine at the shelter?
  15. Does the dog require any supplements or vitamins?
  16. How does the dog behave during grooming sessions, like nail trimming or ear cleaning?
  17. Can the dog perform any special tasks or commands for daily routines?
  18. Are there any household items or foods the dog should avoid?
  19. Does the dog enjoy any particular types of enrichment activities or games?
  20. How adaptable is the dog to new or changing environments?

Adoption Process and Fees

  1. What is the overall process for adopting a dog from your shelter or rescue?
  2. Can you outline all the fees involved in the adoption?
  3. Are there any adoption specials or events that might affect the adoption fee?
  4. What does the adoption fee include (e.g., vaccinations, microchip, spay/neuter)?
  5. Is there a trial period available to ensure it’s a good fit for the dog and the adopter?
  6. What are the return policies if the adoption doesn’t work out?
  7. Will the shelter provide any post-adoption support or resources?
  8. Are there any qualifications or requirements I need to meet to adopt a dog?
  9. Can I spend some time with the dog before deciding to adopt?
  10. Is there a waiting list for adopting a dog, or is it a first-come, first-served process?
  11. Does the shelter offer any counseling or advice on integrating the dog into its new home?
  12. What are the policies regarding transferring the dog’s microchip information?
  13. Will there be follow-up checks or communications after the adoption?
  14. Are there any resources for training or healthcare provided by the shelter post-adoption?
  15. How does the shelter handle references or background checks for potential adopters?
  16. Is there a contract I will need to sign, and if so, can I review it beforehand?
  17. Can the shelter assist with matching the right dog to my lifestyle and household?
  18. Does the adoption fee cover the cost of the initial veterinary visit?
  19. Are there any breed-specific laws or regulations I should know before adopting?
  20. What documents or identification will I need to provide to adopt a dog?

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the dog adoption process usually take?

The adoption process can vary from a few days to several weeks, depending on the policies of the shelter or rescue, your availability, and specific requirements that may need to be fulfilled, such as home visits or background checks.

How do you prepare for a dog adoption interview?

When preparing for a dog adoption interview, it is important that you’ve information about the dog you are interested in. Knowing the dog’s breed, age, and character will help you decide if the dog is a good fit for you and your home.

Be prepared to answer questions about your home environment and lifestyle. The interviewer will want to be sure that the dog will be safe and happy in your home.

What should I bring with me when I go to adopt a dog?

Bring a government-issued ID, payment for adoption fees, and possibly references or proof of residence. It’s also a good idea to bring a leash, collar, and a carrier or crate for safe transportation home.

How can I make sure my home is ready for a new dog?

Dog-proof” your home by removing potentially dangerous items like toxic plants or loose wires. Set up a comfortable living space with bedding, toys, and bowls for food and water.

Final Thoughts

Adopting a dog is a rewarding commitment that requires careful consideration. The questions outlined here serve as a guide to help you dive deep into understanding your future pup’s background, health, behavior, care needs, and adoption details.

Remember, it’s not just about finding a dog; it’s about creating a bond that enriches your lives for years to come. Now that you’re equipped with these key inquiries, you’re more than ready to take the next step and bring home your new best friend.

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Robby is a multimedia editor at Enlightio with a journalism and communications background. When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.