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[2023] Dog Adoption Checklist in Malaysia

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Table of content

Adopting is almost always a better alternative to buying a pet dog. Though the exact numbers are not documented, an estimate of 40% of shelter animals worldwide are euthanized due to overpopulation problems. By opting to adopt a dog from the various shelters in Malaysia, you’re not only saving a life but also giving it a fresh start.

While the process of adoption may seem stressful, you can break it down into simple steps. We have compiled a Malaysian dog adoption checklist for you to make sure you've got everything checked before bringing your new companion home. 

1. Find a suitable adoption site

Not all dog adoption centres or animal shelters are built the same. Therefore, picking the right adoption site is essential to ensure the adoption process goes by smoothly. Firstly, talk to the staff in charge about the types of dogs they offer. Consider the living environments of the dogs, where the dogs are from, and if the dogs are handled ethically. 

Next, discuss the adoption fees and relevant terms and conditions. Some adoption centres in Malaysia even go to the extent of checking the premises of potential adopters before approving their adoption requests. So make sure you're clear of all the prerequisites for adopting from the chosen centre and prepare them accordingly.  

Here are some websites of non-profit Malaysian animal shelters with adorable dogs that are up for adoption:  

Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each dog adoption shelter and choose one that best suits your needs.

2. Discuss with your family member

Adding a new member into your family household comes with a substantial amount of commitment. Keeping that in mind, it's crucial to discuss the responsibility of having a dog with your family members beforehand.

Run through the expected costs and long-term expenses that come with adopting a dog, and reflect on your readiness for a new pup as a family unit. 

3. Prepare the Essential items for your dog

Before welcoming your new furry friend home, you'll need to make sure your space is ready for them. A dog bed is arguably one of the most important dog accessories as it gives them a sense of comfort. The best type of bed for your dog to sleep on depends on its size, sleeping style, and of course, preferences. 

Here’s a list of other highly recommended essentials for your newly adopted dog:  

  • Leash and dog collars
  • Grooming equipment and supplies
  • Dog carrier or crate   
  • Dog gates 
  • First-aid supplies

Other than that, you can also get dog toys to promote your dog's natural chewing behaviour and playful nature. Choosing interactive toys such as Frisbees or balls creates an opportunity for you to play together and bond with your dog. Moreover, it's best to have toys that your dog can play with indoors and outdoors. This will allow your dog to familiarize itself better with its new surroundings while having fun.

4. Consider your home environment

The most vital consideration when adopting a dog is if your home is dog-proof. Keep away hazards such as electrical cords, sharp items, or poisonous chemicals like cleaning products or medications. Additionally, if you have any indoor plants, make sure they're pet-friendly and not harmful to your dog. 

It's common for high-rise buildings in Malaysia to have a 'no pets rule.' Therefore, if you live in a condo or apartment, make sure it’s a pet-friendly environment. Talk to the local council and condo management to determine if there are any breed restrictions too. Sorting out these questions helps to avoid any unnecessary issues after adopting.

5. Visit the dog you’re interested in

Meeting the dog at its shelter before the adoption is a great way to get to ice-break and better know each other. Spend a few hours with the dog before adopting it, so the dog has time to get acquainted with you and your family members. 

It's also recommended for you to take note of its food and eating habits at the dog shelter. This will give you an idea of the best food for your adopted dog and how often you should feed it at home. 

Furthermore, when visiting the dog, it's also encouraged for you to look out for red flags in the dog, such as:

  • Non-stop barking or growling: could mean that the dog has a hard time adjusting to new people and environments  
  • Too calm and non-responsive: could be a sign of the dog feeling under the weather 
  • Lunges on other dogs or people: indicates the aggressive nature of the dog
  • Hides from you in its kennel: shows that the dog is fearful or afraid of people 

This will help you understand the potential struggles you may have to deal with upon adopting the dog and, consequently, re-evaluate your adoption decision. 

On top of that, assess if the dog shelter or owner is reluctant to show you the dog's medical history. If this is the case, you should question their hesitation before making the final decision to adopt.

6. Give your dog enough space 

Your adopted dog will need time to accustom itself to you and your home. Allow it to get comfortable at its own pace, and do not forcefully train your dog. Say your adopted dog doesn't want to go down the stairs, do not force it. Instead, let it learn by itself, and over time, you'll see your adopted dog going up and down the stairs. 
During the first few months in its new home, your dog may go out and about to explore its surroundings. So it's definitely a good idea to microchip your dog as well. This will give an extra layer of assurance by reducing the chances of your dog going missing. Apart from that, you could get put on a simple identification tag on its collar too.

7. Make an appointment with a veterinarian

Dogs in pet shelters often live in a packed condition with hundreds of other animals. This increases the risk of the dog contracting an infectious disease or developing sickness without being noticed. That said, it's undoubtedly a wise decision for you to make an appointment with a vet clinic as soon as possible to rule out any possibilities of illness. 

In some cases, the adoption fees of a dog will be used to vaccinate it before handing it over to the adopted. But this may not apply for all adopted dogs as the adoption policies in each dog shelter differ. 

If you’re unsure about which vaccinations, checkups and deworming procedures are suitable for your new furkid, the Oyen Pet Wellness Plan is a convenient, simple, and hassle-free solution for Selangor and KL pet owners. This health and wellness plan ensures your new companion gets all the necessary vaccines, checkups, and infection prevention measures it requires to stay in the pink of health! 

In addition to that, getting your pet insured ensures it gets timely and effective treatment when necessary without you having to fret and worry about sky-high vet bills. 


Adopting a dog is the start of a beautiful and memorable journey. We hope this adoption checklist helps you through the process of adopting a dog (and makes it less stressful). 

Good luck with adopting your dog friend!