We’ve been pushing Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts this month. While adopting a dog is a wonderful thing, we also want to make sure that you and your family are ready for the commitment it requires. The article below was originally posted in the Client Handout of the October 25, 2013 issue of Today’s Veterinary News, and provides some great information on what to consider when adopting a dog.
BTW: You can find a list of regional and state-wide rescues in our Adoption Resources page. And, the City of Gillette / Campbell County Animal Shelter has a list of adoptable pets on Petfinder.
Did you adopt your dog from a shelter? If so, we want to hear your story. Send a picture and some information to Fur Kids Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org, post it on our Facebook page or Tweet it to us.
Today's Veterinary News Client Handout, October 25
It’s Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month: What to consider when adopting a dog
October is “Adopt-a-shelter-dog month,” an effort undertaken by the American Humane Society, the ASPCA and local shelters to promote the benefits of dog adoption through informational campaigns and discounted services to new dog owners. If you are thinking of adopting a dog, there are several things you need to consider before bringing your new pet home. Here are some things to think about when looking for a shelter dog:
Ask about the shelter’s adoption criteria: Most shelters will evaluate a dog’s behavior when it arrives, though you should always double check. Shelters will almost certainly house dogs who have behavioral or socialization problems and you need to make sure the shelter is not offering these dogs for adoption, at least not without proper warning. An overview of the dog’s behavior will also help you determine what kind of training the dog will need.
Consider your lifestyle: If you have a busy schedule that requires you to be out of the house for long stretches of time, you may not be able to make the commitment to train a puppy. At the same time, if you are looking for an active dog to take with you on runs, you may not want to adopt an older dog. Some dogs won’t be great with kids, or cats, or other dogs. Have an idea of what you’re looking for in a dog before you go to the shelter. Talking with the shelter staff should help you identify the dog most compatible with your lifestyle.
Make sure you consider cost as well. Shelters often offer services for a reduced price, but the costs of owning a dog will go far beyond those initial services. Licensing fees, food, leashes, future medication, and regular veterinary care are some of the costs that will come with owning a dog.
Research the breed: Some breeds of dog may fit your lifestyle better than others. Poodles and Schih Tzus will need to be groomed constantly. Short-haired dogs like Greyhounds will require sweaters or coats in cold environments. Some breeds will experience huge growth spurts between when they are puppies and when they are adults. Many breeds have unique requirements, and it is important that you understand these before deciding to adopt a dog.
Take advantage of opportunities to interact with the dogs: Many shelters will allow you to take a prospective adoptee for a walk or spend time with him in a visiting room. Use these opportunities to consider a dog’s behavior alongside the expectations you have for a pet. Spending time with a dog should allow you to get a feel for its energy-level and sociability. If you have children, spending time with the dog outside of his kennel will be a good way to judge how well the dog interacts with them.
Taking one of the shelter dogs for a walk is a good way to determine the level of training the dog has received. If he jumps and pulls at the leash, he may require additional attention and training, which is a commitment you will have to consider. You can also use a walk to see how the dog interacts with people and other dogs.
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian: Oftentimes shelters will offer to vaccinate and spay or neuter the dog you adopt. These services, while necessary, are not a substitute for regular veterinary care. Your veterinarian will be able to help you establish a preventative care plan for your new pet, addressing things like heartworm and parvo prevention. Developing a relationship with your veterinarian early will help with any future health issues your new dog might run into.
Created in November 2011, the Fur Kids Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides education and aid to promote the well-being of animals in Campbell County.
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