Common Adoption Questions

What breed of dog will best fit in with your family and lifestyle?

Things to Consider Before You Adopt a Dog

“Select” is defined in the dictionary by such phrases as “a preferred choice” or “carefully chosen”. Selecting the family dog should be a well-researched and carefully soul-searched activity. Are you and your family willing to make a 10 – 15 year commitment to this sentient being in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, for as long as all shall live? Let’s pose some of the questions family members should discuss before obtaining a dog.

How Old Are the Members of My Family?

If the youngsters in your household are under seven years old, they are usually not developmentally suited for puppies 5 months old and under or toy-sized (under 15 pounds) dogs of any age. Puppies have ultra sharp “milk teeth” and toenails and often teethe on and scratch children, resulting in unintentional injury to the child. The puppy becomes something to be feared rather than loved.

Toy dogs are fine-boned, touch-sensitive creatures that do not weather rough or clumsy handling well. They break relatively easily and are quicker to bite than their larger boned, mellower relatives.

Unless your children are unusually sensitive, low-key, respectful individuals, a medium-to-large sized dog over 5 months old is usually the safer choice. Regardless of size, all interactions between small children and dogs should be monitored by a responsible adult. When there is no one to watch over them, they should be separated.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, are there frail elderly or physically challenged individuals in the household? If so, strong vigorous adolescent dogs are not a wise idea. No aging hips or wrists are safe from these yahoos. People who were one-breed fans throughout their lives may one day find that their favorite breed demands more than they can physically handle. The new dog must fit the current physical capabilities of his keepers with an eye toward what the next 10-15 years will bring.

Who Will Be the Dog’s Primary Caretaker?

A decade or so back, this was an easy question to answer– Mom. She stayed home and cooked, cleaned and raised the family dog. Most families these days do not have that option. All adults have to go to work and the kids head off to school. This leaves the family dog to be sandwiched in between lessons and sports and household chores and so on. One parent should be designated Primary Caretaker to make sure the dog does not get lost in the shuffle.

Some parents bow to the pressure their children put on them to get a dog. The kids promise with tears in their eyes that they will religiously take care of this soon-to-be best friend. The truth of the matter is, during the 10 – 15 year lifespan of the average dog, your children will be growing in and out of various life stages and the family dog’s importance in their lives will wax and wain like the Moon. You cannot saddle a child with total responsibility for the family dog and threaten to get rid of it if the child is not providing that care. It is not fair to child or dog.

Choosing the family dog should include input from all family members with the cooler-headed, more experienced family members’ opinions carrying a bit more weight. The family dog should not be a gift from one family member to all the others. The selection experience is one the entire family can share. Doing some research and polling each family member about what is important to them in a dog will help pin down what you will be looking for. Books like Daniel Tortora’s THE RIGHT DOG FOR YOU or The ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs can be tremendously helpful and can warn you away from unsuitable choices for your family’s circumstances.

How Much Can I Spend?

The price to obtain a dog runs the gamut from free-to-a-good-home to several thousand dollars. It does not always hold true that you get what you pay for. The price you pay in a pet shop is usually 2 to 3 times higher than what you pay a reputable breeder for a puppy of similar (or usually better) quality.

Too many folks spend all their available cash on a pet shop purchase and then have no money left for initial veterinary care, a training crate or obedience classes–all necessary expenses. Remember, the purchase price of a dog is a very small part of what the dog will actually cost. Save money for food (especially if it is a large or giant breed), grooming (fancy coated breeds such as Poodles, Cockers, and Shih Tzus need to be clipped every 4 to 6 weeks), chew toys (the vigorous chewers like a Bull Terrier or Mastiff can work their way through a $8.00 rawhide bone in a single sitting), outerwear (short-coated breeds like Greyhounds, Chihuahuas, and Whippets must have sweaters and coats in the winter or in lavishly air conditioned interiors), and miscellaneous supplies (bowls, beds, brushes, shampoos, flea products, odor neutralizers for accidents, baby gates, leashes, collars, heartworm preventative etc.).

And then, there is the veterinary emergency! Very few dogs live their entire lives without at least one accident. Your puppy eats a battery or pair of pantyhose, your fine-boned toy breaks a leg, your big boy has bad hips, your dog gets hit by a car or beaten/bitten by the neighborhood bully. These surprises can cost $500 or more. Unlike our children, most of our dogs are not covered by health insurance.

But “How much can I spend?” is not only a question of money. How much time and energy can you spend on a new dog? Various breeds and ages of dog make different demands on our precious spare time. In general, the Sporting, Hounds, Herding, and Terrier breeds will demand more time in training and daily exercise than will the Guardian or Companion breeds. A puppy or adolescent will need more exercise, training, and supervision than will an adult dog. And the first year with any new dog regardless of age or breed type will put more demands on the owner than any other time, for this is when you are setting up house rules and routines which will last for the lifetime of your dog.

America has become a nation of disposable pet owners. Doesn’t your family dog deserve better? Choose wisely, for when the bond breaks, everybody concerned suffers. Make selecting your new family dog a life-affirming act.

Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T., Companion Animal Programs Adviser. National Outreach


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Can I afford a new pet?

While their companionship is priceless, there are tangible costs that come along with bringing home a new dog. Ultimately, it depends on factors like the type of dog you get, where you live, where you shop, and what kind of squeaky toys you decide to spring for. But in terms of the necessities, you can expect the cost of a dog to start at a minimum of $395 in the first year, and continue to cost at least $326 each year following.

Keep in mind that the cost of a puppy could be higher than that of an adult dog, and those numbers don’t include unknowns like emergency veterinary care or variable costs like boarding, professional grooming or training.

How Much Do Dogs Cost: The Extras

Beyond the basics, some additional puppy costs may pop up. Some are fun splurges, others are necessary medical care, but either way, if you can stash away some cash, it may help with the extras and the unexpected, like those listed below.

Emergency Veterinary Care

How much does a puppy cost to care for? It will assuredly vary. If you’re opening your heart to a senior dog or a pup with special needs, you may want to budget for a few extra visits with your veterinarian. Even otherwise healthy dogs may still develop health issues or need treatment for unexpected illnesses that could run you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,000+. Pet insurance is one way to defray the veterinary cost of a dog. Plans are paid for monthly, and there are a number of reasonable options to consider. You can also set aside a small amount each month, if your budget allows, and save it for a rainy day.

Professional Grooming

Serious grooming could cost up to $1,200 a year for a long and luxurious coated companion, but a basic wash, nail trim and teeth-cleaning will run you considerably less. And some shorter-coated dogs don’t need cuts at all, and are just fine to get by with regular brushings at home.


If your new pet needs help with socialization or behavior, you may need to look into training. $250 a year should cover several beginner classes, but the range of costs will vary, depending on where you go and how many classes you take. Many pet specialty retailers offer low-cost training, too. Additionally, some shelters will provide training classes free or at a reduced cost, and private trainers may also offer a discount for adopted dogs.

Boarding and Travel Fees

Enjoy hitting the road and want to take your pet? Many places welcome your furry travel companion, but there might be premiums or deposits depending on your itinerary. If you will be leaving your dog at home, it could cost $15–50 per day for pet sitting or boarding.

Toys, Treats, Collars and Other Accessories

Costs for pet accessories can sneak up on you, with prices that vary depending on tastes and budget. In general, a sensible nylon collar and leash set for a new puppy is about $10. Training harnesses average $25. Additionally, toys and treats are more reasonable for small dogs (in some cases, under $10 for a box), but giant breeds can run you a bit more (around $10 a piece for each treat). Bedding costs can vary as well, depending on the size of your dog and the materials used.

Dog Cost Budgeting Tips

Getting a best friend doesn’t have to break your budget. When it comes to pet care costs, there are a lot of ways to save, including these ideas below:

Consider an Adult Dog

How much does a puppy cost versus a grown dog? It definitely depends, but in many instances, adult dogs need less training and have already undergone necessary veterinary procedures, bringing your costs down considerably. If your heart is set on a puppy, however, you can still bring down costs by choosing adoption. Speaking of …

See What Your Adoption Group Covers

Ask what’s included in your dog’s adoption fee. Most dogs are spayed or neutered prior to adoption (a procedure that may cost up to $300), and given exams, initial vaccinations and de-worming (costs that can range from $425–$800). Permanent identification may also be covered, so ask if your pet will be microchipped—some new owners will still need to register the device at a cost of around $35, but some shelters will cover this for you, and you’ll simply need to mail in the form.

Try DIY Grooming

Get some grooming tools and dog shampoo (about $20 and $10 respectively) and get to work at home. Just make sure you have the lowdown on your dog’s coat, so you can work with it properly.

Team up for Training

There are a number of apps available to help train your dog, along with videos and online training tips. Do some research and tackle the challenge together as a team.

Search for Second-Hand Supplies

Local swap sites and yard sales offer a lot of possibilities for your pet’s needs. Many owners are looking to unload gently used equipment once their dog has been trained, and new crates alone can cost up to $250, depending on the size of your dog and the type of crate you select.

Put Some Savings in the Bowl

Pet food will likely be your biggest expense. Look online for special offers, see if you can find deals on pet supplies for new pet parents, and follow your favorite pet food brand in social media to be notified of offers. Costs will vary depending on the type, quality and amount needed, and veterinary diets for specific conditions tend to be more expensive.

Consider Pet Health Insurance

Defray any unexpected health costs with some advance planning. The sooner you sign up, the sooner you’re covered.


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What veterinarian should I use?

We don’t generally recommend any vet over another. There are a host of wonderful vets in our community, and just like every service, they come in every shape and size. This makes choice of vet care a very personal choice. Staff at the Humane Society will be glad to tell you what makes their vet, vets they have used in the past, and their friend’s vets special.


We do not have a vet on staff nor do we host any kind of veterinary services at the Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area.

Am I ready to make a lifetime commitment to a new pet?

Are you stable and able to care for an animal? Do you foresee moving in the near future? Are you starting a relationship or looking into starting a family? These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself when you’re thinking about the commitment you should make to have a pet.

While there is pet-friendly housing everywhere, many landlords still may have less-than-friendly policies especially if you’re looking to adopt a breed of dog with some social stigma attached to them (think Pit-Bull type dogs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, etc.) and moving is often one of the biggest reasons in our area for relinquishment of animals.

If you are going through a major life change, consider carefully if it is time to make a new commitment- have you asked your significant other what they thought? Do you really want more responsibility right now, or do you just miss having someone to come home to? Pets are wonderful, but they are not a replacement for human’s in your life, and shelter staff nation round often sees returns when people didn’t consider this.

Finally, we implore you to think of the new financial burden you might be undertaking. Check out the “Can I afford a new pet?” section above.

Is my home pet proofed?


A pet makes a great household companion for children and adults alike. While there are many benefits to having a pet in the home, there are also potential problems that pets and their owners face.

Playful and curious animals, for example, can cause damage to fragile, expensive, and prized possessions. In addition, they also face a wide range of hazards that can threaten their health or lives.

While there are common pet-related hazards that are present in every room in the house, each room also has its unique risks.

It is important for pet owners to understand and recognize all of the potential dangers and take steps to mitigate them, both for the safety of their possessions and their pets’ good health.

All Rooms

Certain threats can be found in every room of the house. For example, because dogs like to chew, electrical wires present a potential electrocution hazard. Keep stray wires out of the reach of animals whenever possible, and unplug and cover them when the appliance is not in use.

In addition, cats may use chairs and other furniture around the house as scratching pads. Rather than resort to declawing, use humane and effective means to redirect a cat’s scratching urges away from furniture.

Get a cat scratching post and a designated rug with a rough texture that cats can use for scratching instead. The scratching post or rug should be in an area where the family tends to spend time, such as the living room, or near wherever the cat tends to sleep.

Toys left on the floors around the home not only risk being damaged by one’s pet, but they also present a choking hazard and should be kept in a toy box when not being played with.

It will also be necessary to secure lamps in every room to prevent pets from knocking them over, and candles must never be left lit and unattended anywhere in a home with pets. One of the most important ways to pet-proof a home is to eliminate all clutter.

This will greatly reduce the potential damage to precious or expensive belongings or the threat of harm to one’s pet. Also, never leave precious belongings like rings, earrings, or other jewelry out and unattended, as pets risk internal injury by chewing or swallowing them.


When it comes to kitchens, the presence of food provides an added incentive for pets to get into trouble. The goal for pet-proofing a kitchen is to not only keep animals away from food but also to keep them safe from hazardous chemicals, sharp utensils, or objects that are easy to swallow or break.

To keep pets out of the kitchen, people can use a door or gate to hinder their access to the room. Items that can be knocked over and shattered should be kept in cabinets, and knives should be stored in drawers when they are not in use.

In homes with animals that can jump, keep counters cleared of food items that are potentially harmful, and never leave hot items or burners unattended. Store kitchen cleaning supplies in cabinets and use child-proof latches to prevent pets from prying them open.

Garbage cans are also a serious concern in kitchens, as they typically contain or smell of food. If pets knock over and get into them, they will have access to foods that can choke or poison them.

Keep garbage bins closed and either secure them with child-proof latches or use bins that are pedal-operated.


Pets such as dogs and cats love to sit on beds, but this means dirt or fur may be left on pillows, sheets, and bedspreads. Keeping the doors to bedrooms closed to deny access to pets is often not practical or effective.

Instead, pet owners can place a pet-proof cover over the bed and pillows. When pets are allowed in the bedroom, always check closets and even drawers before closing them, as pets may have found their way inside and could become trapped.

Keep shoes in boxes in the closet and keep the closet closed when not in use, as pets may chew on them or choke on the shoelaces.

Bedrooms are also often filled with odds and ends that may be sharp, poisonous, or easily swallowed. Items such as paper clips, hair ties, bobby pins, needles, and coins should never be left lying about.

Living Room

Caution is key to keeping pets safe in the living room. Batteries are typically used to power television remote controls and other items, but they are extremely dangerous if swallowed and should never be left sitting around.

Lit fireplaces are another concern, as animals often enjoy the warmth that they project. Unfortunately, sparks or simple curiosity can cause a fire or burn injuries.

Placing a screen in front of the fireplace can help prevent pets from getting close enough to be hurt.


A variety of dangers await pets that stray into bathrooms. These dangers range from drowning risks to accidental consumption of medicines. Never leave water sitting in bathtubs or bathroom sinks, as pets may jump or fall in.

Toilets are another threat to pets, particularly dogs that often drink from them. Keep their lids closed when not in use to prevent drowning or poisoning from chemicals commonly used in toilet bowls.

Keep medicine cabinets closed and secured to prevent pets from pulling down and getting into medicine bottles. Cabinets should be kept securely closed to prevent pets from getting inside as well.

If possible, keep the bathroom door shut at all times, and always check to make sure no pets will be trapped inside before closing the door.

Laundry Room

Laundry rooms are a dangerous place for pets, as a wide range of chemicals are often stored there. Keep laundry detergent, bleach, fabric softeners, and other chemicals on shelves that are too high for dogs to reach.

In homes with cats, store these items in secured cabinets. Pets may also accidentally fall into unattended washing machines or take a nap in an open dryer. Before starting an appliance, one should always look inside.

Whenever possible, pets should be kept out of the laundry room altogether.


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How Can I Help My Pet Feel Welcome and at Home?

All Pets

  • Quality food
  • Food and Water Bowls
  • A comfy place to sleep
  • Toys
  • Collar
  • Grooming Supplies


  • Sturdy leash and collar (we do not recommend retractable leashes)
  • Waste disposal bags


  • Litter box
  • Litter
  • Litter box-liners
  • Pooper scooper