Adopting a Pandemic Pup? Read This

If you’re considering adopting a pandemic puppy to keep you company during quarantine life, you are not alone – there is a boom in pet adoptions during the pandemic. I adopted my own pup during pandemic life and we’ve quickly become best quarantine buds. After all, what better way to social distance than with a furry friend to explore the outdoors with? And who doesn’t want to have a cuddly WFH companion and Netflix buddy for quarantine and chill sessions?

If you want to adopt a dog, it’s important to know the basics of how to take care of a puppy. Although pandemic pups can be the perfect addition to your home, puppies are a handful and a lifelong commitment, so here are tips on how to prepare for a happy new family member:

Do your homework

Research dog breeds and available dogs in your area. Consider your lifestyle now and also for the next 10-plus years, as your pooch will outlast the pandemic. Are you an active person who wants a four-legged running partner? Do you want a small pup to accompany you on outings around the city or a bigger, furrier companion? Are you allergic to fur or do you want a dog with easy coat upkeep? Also, consider other people (and pets) in your life and if you need a dog who is great with kids, other dogs, cats, etc. Even though we may be living more isolated lifestyles right now, when pandemic life ends, you will want your pup to be able to interact with your regular social circle. 

Don’t forget to consider your prospective dog’s age. If you opt for a puppy, do you know how to take care of a puppy and all the training that will be involved? You will most likely need to housebreak your puppy, keep up with required vaccines, socialize your pup, puppy-proof your home and do some puppy training together. If you’re not ready for the time commitments of a puppy, consider adopting an older dog and you’ll be able to skip the housebreaking and your dog may already have basic obedience training as well. 

Choosing a dog breed

Make a list of your top five dog breeds or mixes and then you can search Petfinder for available dogs up for adoption in your area. You can also check with breed-specific rescue groups for available pups in your area if you are interested in a particular breed. 

If you prefer to get your puppy from a breeder, make sure the breeder is reputable and conscientious. The American Kennel Club has a Breeders of Merit (BOM) program  which means the breeders are dedicated to preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies. Learn more about the Breeder of Merit program or find available puppies from Breeders of Merit

Get your budget together

Puppies can be expensive, for adoption fees, vet costs, and supplies. In my experience as a dog owner, I recommend you have enough savings to pay for at least $1,000 in unexpected vet bills or pet costs if needed. Also, look into pet health insurance options or set aside an emergency savings account for your pet. After I adopted my dog Kita from a rescue, she unfortunately had some health issues that required several expensive vet trips, and she was diagnosed with a chronic condition that requires medication for the rest of her life. This is not to discourage anyone from adopting, but to say be prepared with a pet savings account or health insurance for your pooch in case of unexpected vet costs. 

Plan to spend anywhere from $395 to $2455 for the first year of your pet’s life, and from $326 to $1967 for each year after that, according to Petfinder. This includes an annual vet trip for vaccines as well as food and supply costs. 

Picking out your pup

Once you find your perfect pandemic pup, it is time to get your puppy supplies together. Some necessary items for your puppy include:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Food (ask what your puppy was eating so you can keep the same food and change gradually if you want to switch foods later on)
  • Collar
  • ID tag with your phone number
  • Dog bed
  • Dog brush and grooming supplies
  • Absorbent house-training pads
  • Puppy shampoo
  • Super absorbent paper towels
  • Poop bags
  • Crate or dog carrier
  • Dog toys
  • Treats
  • Pet first aid supplies
  • Baby gate

Happy dog days!

Once you have your new pup, enjoy your time together in quarantine life and beyond. Find a good vet you trust, and they will be a great resource for you and your puppy. And if any dog care questions pop up, reach out to your rescue or breeder. There is also a huge community of dog lovers online that are always willing to offer support or advice. Happy #doglife to you and your pup!

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About Marnie Kunz

Marnie Kunz is a RRCA-certified running coach and creator of the Runstreet running community. Marnie has a background in journalism and digital marketing. She enjoys traveling, tacos, pizza, reading, and finding street art on her runs. When not wandering the world, Marnie is based in Brooklyn, NY.

2 thoughts on “Adopting a Pandemic Pup? Read This

  1. i dont think my dogs have ever come under or anywhere close to 326/yr for their care. my vet bills for my 2 gals since end of may have been over 6k or more. also on the akc website, there is an adoption site, where you can look for specific breeds that you are interested in. they list breed specific rescues, etc. many of the akc breeders will donate their dogs that do not make show grade to rescues- they may have a flaw like height, coloring, snow nose, crooked teeth, etc. some breeders may even offer older dogs that they have finished and are no longer showing or breeding. all have to be spayed/neutered.

    1. Good point Sandy! (And I can second that, as a new dog owner myself!) We’ve updated to reflect the full range of costs that Petfinder cited in their article—thanks for the heads up!

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