Is My Home Dog-Ready?

If you rent, check whether your lease allows you to have a dog and whether there are size or breed restrictions. Also, ask neighbors about their experiences as dog owners in your neighborhood, says Kristen Winterhalter, a shelter outreach specialist at Are there pet-friendly restaurants close by? Are the streets good for walking? “This will help you imagine what life with a pup will be like,” she says.

Can I Afford This?

You’re generally looking at between $395 and $2,500 in fees for adoption, microchipping, and licensing the first year and nearly $2K each year after for things like wellness visits, food, and toys. And that’s not including training, grooming, or veterinary care, says Winterhalter.

How Lazy Am I?

“Ask the shelter about a dog’s energy level and how much activity the dog may need,” says Rena Lafaille, the administrative director of the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City. “Some breeds require lots of exercise to remain healthy, while others may be content with a few walks a day.”