Thinking About Adopting A Dog? Read This

Photographed by Molly Cranna.
It's not exactly a secret that a puppy (or even a grown-up dog) is a ton of work. It's also not a secret that a dog is also drooling, tail-wagging, furry bundle of unconditional love. And the best way to ensure that you and your furry friend are BFFs from day one is to do some pre-adoption prep.

So before you head off to the shelter, it's time to have a serious discussion with the people you live with, a serious look at your bank account...and maybe a PetSmart pit stop.

But you don't need to have everything ready. Choosing a vet, for example, can wait until your new pet heads home, advises Joseph Teixeira, senior manager of client relations and communication at the ASPCA Adoption Center. "If you’re a first-time dog owner, you may not know what you are looking for in a vet," Teixeira says. "Some shelters may be able to recommend veterinarians in the area that they work with or ones that offer special first-time discounts to recently adopted pets." Another thing that can wait for a few days? Your new pal's name. (Who knew?)

Here, the other things you should know, do, and think about before getting a dog.