October is National "Adopt a Shelter Dog month," so if you are in the market for a new furry friend, it's the perfect time to head over to a shelter and adopt a dog in need. Going to a shelter in hopes of finding a perfect dog for you can be a little overwhelming, but we have compiled a checklist of tips to ensure you get a furry friend that is the right fit for you.
What to Expect Before Even Stepping Foot Inside a Shelter
You might be expecting to do a lot of standard "new dog" work when bringing a new furry friend into your life. However, most good shelters should already have done most of this work for you. A dog up for adoption should already be spayed or neutered. They should already be fully vaccinated and de-wormed as well. If there were any major underlying health concerns at all, beyond the basic necessities, the shelter should have taken care of this before putting the animal up for adoption. Shelters do not want to see these animals back in a shelter, so they try their best to make sure that once adopted, the pet is with you for the rest of it's life.
However, it is important to remember that you are adopting from a shelter, and most animals that end up in a shelter are there for previous issues. Yes, a dog can still be an amazing perfect pet, but often times abusive previous owners or growing up unsocialized can lead to behavioral issues you have to be prepared to acknowledge.
Ask the Right Questions
An unfamiliar dog can be intimidating to bring into your home, but if you ask the right questions, you should be in for smooth sailing. To start, make sure to get a complete background on the dog you are looking into adopting. You also want to get the age and breed along with where the dog came from right off the bat. Other good things to know are- previous living situation, medical history, how the dog has behaved since being in the shelter, any on going medical issues, as well as what potential follow ups might be necessary. Finally, as much as we hope everything goes well and the dog is a perfect fit in your home, make sure to ask the shelter what their return policy is, just in case!
How To Choose
If you find yourself with multiple furry friends that grab your attention at the shelter, here are a few ways you can narrow down your decision. First, pay close attention to the breed of dog and whether or not that breed matches your lifestyle. Also, you can't ignore the connection you have with the dogs, which is usually the telling sign. If you have any animals at home, it is important to look at how the dog is interacting with other dogs in the shelter. This most likely will indicate how it will get along with the animals you already have. Before making that final decision, you should make sure every person in your household has met the dog. Dogs can respond differently to different people and it's important to find out how a dog will react before bringing it home!
There are so many animals in shelters that are waiting to accompany a happy home. Shelters are constantly receiving new animals, so don't give up if you don't find exactly what you're looking for right off the bat. If you do end up adopting or already have a cat or dog at home, don't forget to give them their daily Flea Away to keep them happy and healthy all year long!