Congratulations on your decision of adopting a dog. Adoption is an admirable and compassionate action, and your new best friend will be forever grateful.

Maybe you already decided to adopt a dog, but should you adopt a puppy? Or an adult? There are many things to consider before making this decision. Both have pros and cons. In the end, this decision will be based on your lifestyle and preferences. I know that even if you’ve made a decision, you may end up falling in love with a dog of any age when you visit the shelter, but here are some guidelines to help you.

Pros and Cons of Adopting a Puppy

Puppies are incredibly cute. It is lovely to watch them discover their new home running, playing and biting just about everything. The single most important thing to consider before adopting a puppy is that they will need training.

A puppy is very much like a kid; you need to teach them good habits, potty-train them and provide them lots of attention. Ideally, puppies should not stay alone at home for long periods. Keep in mind that they need to eat several times a day (every 2-3 hours) and they need to “go to the bathroom” approximately one hour after they eat. So if you want to adopt a puppy, you’ll need to devote him/her lots of time.

A significant advantage of adopting a puppy is that since you will be educating him/her, you can make sure that your dog will not have “bad habits” as an adult.

Young dogs also need more veterinary care than adult dogs. Your need puppy will need to receive several vaccines, deworming and a spay/neuter surgery. You should budget for these expenses. Remember that skipping the vaccinations of a puppy is never a good idea. Without proper immunity, young dogs are very susceptible to potentially fatal infections.

Pros and Cons of Adopting an Adult Dog

Now let’s consider the adoption of an adult dog. Most adult dogs know how to communicate that they need to “go to the bathroom” or they can learn quickly. They don’t need to eat as frequently as puppies, so they can wait several hours before they need to go outside.

Additionally, in most shelters, dogs are spayed or neutered before adoption, which decreases the investment in veterinary care. Since adult dogs already have some degree of immunity, most of them will only need a booster vaccine upon adoption and then annual shots.

One disadvantage of adopting an adult dog is that he or she may have behavioral issues, especially if he/she suffered from any abuse in the past. If you’d like to adopt an adult dog, ask for a behavior profile at the animal shelter, they should be able to provide information regarding the dog’s temperament. That way you’ll be able to choose a dog that is well-suited with your lifestyle and character.

Keep in mind that adult dogs are more likely to die in shelters because most people prefer to adopt puppies. If you can adopt an adult, you’ll probably be saving his or her life.