Adopting a Dog: Important Considerations

Note: You may adopt from the Humane Society of Somerset County even if you are not a Somerset County resident.

You May Be The Perfect Dog Owner If You...

  • Believe caring for a pet for 15 years does not seem like a lifetime
  • Look forward to big, wet kisses when you come home each day
  • Like sharing your house with someone who sheds, tracks dirt occasionally, and possibly drools
  • Don't mind sharing your house with someone who will never clean up after themselves
  • Want to take care of someone every day
  • Love a playmate who likes to chase balls and drag off shoes
  • Don't mind a playmate who likes to slobber on balls and shoes
  • Would like to spend your extra money on pet food, toys, veterinary care, chew bones, and more chew bones
  • Want someone to adore you even on a bad hair day
  • Believe that spaying and neutering pets will help solve the pet overpopulation problem
  • Can't imagine leaving your devoted pet behind when you move
  • Want to keep an ID tag on your pets, so they can get back to you no matter what
  • Enjoy unconditional love and constant companionship

If you think you've got all this, visit your local animal shelter to find the perfect dog or puppy!

Going On Two: Adopting a Grown Dog

Many of the dogs in shelters are between six-months and two-years old.

Why are they so old?

  • Their owners thought they were cute when they were young, but didn't want a grown dog
  • They grew up and spent most of their time in the backyard

Why would I want an older dog?

  • They are smart, and they love people
  • They are young enough to learn quickly, and old enough to pay attention to their lessons
  • They only need three things: Attention, affection, and training
If you provide all dogs with affection, attention and training, they will soon become super dogs, the kind your friends wish they could own.

Puppy-proofing Your House

If anything is in reach, your puppy will sniff, chew, and probably play with it. So to protect your puppy in her new environment, and to safeguard your belongings, puppy-proof your house.


  • Use childproof latches to keep curious muzzles from prying open cabinets
  • Keep medications, cleaners, chemicals, and laundry supplies on high shelves
  • Keep foods out of reach (even if the food isn't harmful, the wrapper could be. And some foods, like chocolate, can be fatal to dogs)
  • Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet
  • Keep toilet lids closed to prevent drowning or drinking harmful cleaning chemicals

Living/Family Room.

  • Place dangling wires from lamps, VCRs, stereos, TVs, and phones up and out of chewing reach
  • Keep kids' toys put away
  • Move plants out of reach (some houseplants are poisonous to animals)
  • Check all those places where your vacuum cleaner doesn't fit, but your puppy does, for dangerous items, like coins and pens
  • Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially needles and thread
  • Make sure all heating/air vents have a cover


  • Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors
  • Clean up all antifreeze from the floor and driveway one lick of most antifreezes can be lethal to any animal
  • Keep all sharp objects and tools out of reach


  • Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors (drawstrings and buttons can cause major illness if swallowed)
  • Keep any medications, lotions, or cosmetics off accessible surfaces (like the bedside table which can be reached by jumping on the bed)
  • Move wires out of reach of chewing

And look out for paws, noses, and tails when you shut doors behind you or scoot chairs.

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