Aside from fall and all things spooky, October is also “Adopt a Shelter Dog” month. So if you’ve been thinking about getting a new dog, consider adopting instead of purchasing one from a breeder.
Before heading to your local shelter and adopting the first pup you fall in love with, here are a few things to consider:
The long-term costs. Getting a dog is a long-term commitment as you’re essentially adding a new member to your family. In addition to having the time and space to accommodate a pet, make sure you can afford to take care of them for the remainder of their lifetime.
Take a look at your budget and see if you can set aside enough money for dog food, supplies like dog beds and clothing, vet expenses, boarding and much more.
The shelter staff’s advice and warnings. It’s not advisable to choose your new canine companion based on first impressions alone. You’ll want to ask the shelter staff for information about any particular dogs you’re interested in adopting. After all, these people know the shelter dogs better than you do, and they want all of their pups to go home to good families. If they say the candidate that you have in mind won’t be a good fit for your lifestyle and that you should consider adopting a different one, listen to them.
With their advice, you’ll be more likely to find a perfect match.
The adjustment period. It will take time for your new dog to feel comfortable around you. You'll need to spend the first few weeks or so helping your furry friend adjust to your home, lifestyle and family.
It may take a shelter dog six to eight weeks to get used to their new environment and that they may experience separation anxiety at first. So take it slow and don’t rush them through the adjustment period.
Your current pets. Dogs are territorial by nature; if you already have pets at home, you’ll want to adopt a dog who has a history of doing well with other animals. This is something you can ask the staff about while you’re looking for a fur baby to adopt. That said, even if you choose a pup who's already been properly socialized, it’s still important to give your current pets and the new dog enough time to get used to each other.
The dog’s past. Many people surrender their pups to shelters because of circumstances beyond their control. That said, pets who were abandoned or abused by their previous owners also end up rescued and brought to shelters by kind-hearted individuals. Given this, it’s important to acknowledge that a shelter dog’s current behavioral issues may be a result of their negative past experiences. Be patient and focus on creating a safe and loving environment for them so that they can slowly heal from their trauma.
Your family. If you have kids or are planning to have them in the future, make sure to adopt a shelter dog who will get along with them. This is because some shelter dogs may be too excitable or impatient and may not get along well with small children. Other dogs may have disabilities that require extra attention and care, which can be difficult to stay on top of if you’re already taking care of kids or elderly loved ones.
Adopting a dog from an animal shelter is not as easy as it may seem at first. But with preparation and patience, it can be an extremely rewarding experience. Indeed, there’s nothing like developing a deep bond with your canine friend, especially after giving them a second chance at life.
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