Thursday, October 8, 2015

10 Tips for Adopting a Shelter Pet

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.
Badge with dog, cat and hamster for Adopt a Shelter Pet Month

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.
Adoption announcement for Brutus a Boxer mix
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.
Adoption notice for a Beagle/Pug puppy
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.
Adoption notice for adult Golden Retriever mix

         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.
Tweet Me

Light brown paw prints
  I am pleased to be co-hosting another Thoughtless Thursday Blog Hop with my friends Ruckus the Eskie and Love is being owned by a Husky.  You are welcome to join us and remember, don't think...just link!

Thoughtless Thursday blog hop badge with white Eskie dog


  1. We didn't adopt Belle from a shelter, but we rescued her. Craig's list! The owner was just throwing her out because she wanted to move. She was sending her to the kill shelter. Anyway, we are so blessed to have her! She's the best dog. So if anyone reads this and hasn't looked, try Craig's list! You'd be surprised how many people are on there just throwing dogs and cats away like trash!! And so many of them are just sweet babies who need homes!

  2. These are awesome tips! When we got Zoe we were not ready at all and had no doggie supplies. My husband was very resistant to getting a dog and so I took him to the shelter to "just look at the dogs". I was dog experienced and knew exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a small to medium sized dog, short hair that was medium energy. We went to the shelter and Zoe was the last dog we looked at. She was the calmest one there. Just laying on her bed among the other barking dogs. It was love at first sight! We adopted her and immediately went to Petsmart to get stuff. LOL. When we got Phoenix I was a lot more prepared because I had a ton of extra dog stuff. We only had to buy a second crate when we got her.

  3. Yikes...I just read what the MilitaryPugWife is SO sad that people actually just throw animals out like trash. I cannot even think about it...makes me sick. You are right, it is a big decision. Some of my best dogs were adopted from our local shelter. My Big Guy came from there...he was just the BEST dog ever and I still miss him every day.

  4. I hope all people will follow your advice... specially #1... it's the worst to get adopted and to come back to the shelter, because something is wrong or it wasn't well planned...

  5. All our cats are from shelters...they have always been great, well, not sure about Bert, but he is a whole different animal! Mom's first dog was a shelter pet too and wonderful.

  6. These are all great because you want to make sure you are ready for the commitment of time, energy and money!! It would be nice to have someone at those adoption events kind of letting people know that it is serious and forever and wonderful but also making sure they know ALL the information possible before making the commitment.

  7. What great tips!! Arty and Jakey were shelter pets, and they are the most pawsome brothers ever!!

    PeeEss...Stop by to see how we are participating in Adopt a Shelter Pet, this month!

  8. Some excellent tips! The more knowledge and information, the higher success rate!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  9. Those off shelter adoption events are great, but I do hope the staff does everything to discourage impulse buying. I've never gotten a shelter pet, but three of them needed to be re-homed and I had put out the word that I had a home. One was found on the streets and never claimed.

  10. These are great tips Melissa!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  11. Those are really great and useful tips!

  12. Wonderful tips!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  13. All of your tips are "spot on" for a successful adoption. Unfortunately too many pets are returned after they are adopted because people weren't prepared. I hope everyone considering adoption gets a chance to read your post. Sharing.

  14. Those are some great tips. I do wish that shelters could look at individual cases a bit more instead of having rules set in stone. I think that sometimes the dogs or cats miss out on great opportunities because the rules that are supposed to help didn't in their case.

  15. Excellent tips! We hope all humans read them and take them to heart when they want to adopt a new pet.

  16. Hi Y'all!

    Excellent advise. It is sad that often dogs miss a chance for a happy home because shelters or rescues insist the adopter be within so many miles so they can do home visits. Shelters would be advised to work together to allow more dogs to be adopted out of their immediate area and still be sure they are going to a stable home.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  17. Terrific points, every one of them! All are important to consider.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  18. These are great suggestions! What an excellent post!

  19. What a great post with amazing recommendations!

  20. great tips, thanks for sharing them.


I'd love to hear from you! Bark back!