October is Adopt a Shelter Pet month. There are many reasons to adopt a shelter dog or cat. If you are looking to add a new family member here are ten tips to make your adoption a success.
1. Don’t rush into a decision.
Pet adoptions are held at many locations including pet stores. It is very easy to act on impulse because the dog or cat is right in front of you and looking adorable. Resist the temptation unless you are specifically going there with plans to adopt.
2. Spend some alone time with the pet.
It is important that you spend time with your potential pet away from the crowds. If you are adopting an older animal, this becomes even more crucial. Ask to take the dog for a walk so you can spend some one-on-one time. Take your potential new cat to a quiet spot and get to know each other.
3. Plan a meet and greet with your other pets.
If your new adopted pet will be joining existing pets in your home, plan a meet and greet in advance. Much like bringing home a new sister or brother, not every pet is on board with a new family member. It is best to see how they will react to one another before you bring the new “baby” home.
4. Find out as much history as possible.
Many pets are surrendered by people that can no longer take care of them. Others are surrendered for different reasons. Whatever the case, you should try to find out the reason it was turned over to the shelter. You’ll want to know if it was constantly digging out and running away. It is important to know if it doesn’t like children, other animals or isn’t housebroken. Many animals are found as strays or rescued from a high kill shelter and there might not be any history available. Either way, it is important to ask questions.
5. Make sure you are ready for the commitment.
It is surprising the number of pets that are returned to shelters each day. I cannot imagine how devastating this is for the animal. Please don’t adopt a puppy only to return it when it gets big. Know that your pet will get sick at some point. If you can’t afford to take them to the vet, don’t adopt one. Dogs and cats get old and require special care just as a human does. Please don’t abandon your pet because it is old and needs help to do the things it used to do on its own. Pets are a commitment for their lifetime which can average from 12 to 20 years. They depend on you.
6. Adopting a pet costs money.
Do not expect to adopt a pet for free. Unless there are certain events where fees are waived, adopting pets cost money. The shelters are not “getting rich” from these fees. Your pet has been given shots, possibly spayed/neutered and cared for by volunteers. It is rare that the adoption fee comes close to the money that has been spent on your new pet.
7. Prepare your home.
Once you have decided on the perfect pet, make sure that your home is dog/cat proofed. Get down on their level and look around for potential hazards. Animals need to be able to explore their new surroundings safely.
8. Buy the things that your pet will need in advance.
Your new dog/cat will need proper food, bowls, bedding, collars, leashes, shampoo, treats, etc. Don’t make the mistake of adopting the dog and then realize that you don’t have anything to feed them.
9. Make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Most of the pets adopted from shelters have been vetted and given the okay for adoption. You will still want to make a visit to your own vet for your peace of mind.
10. Have patience
This might be the last but most important tip. Depending on the age and past history of your new best friend, they have probably had a tough time in life. Give them a chance to adjust and don’t expect perfect behavior from them. It won’t take long before you are asking yourself if you rescued your pet or the other way around.
*These adoption flyers were designed using the free
Pose-A-Pet™ app. You can read more about it here.
10 Tips for Adopting A Shelter Pet on Barking from the Bayou. http://t.co/cCGcJ4RGFV #shelterdogs #OptToAdopt— M. K.Clinton (@mk_clinton) October 8, 2015
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