Tips for Adopting a Shelter Pet
One of the most rewarding and exciting things you can do as a family is adopting a pet! Before you venture out online or in-person to select a pet to love, please review our pre-adoption checklist.
Consider the cost involved. Beyond the adoption fee (which covers intake examination, food, updated vaccinations, and other veterinary care) remember that you will have to budget for food, bedding, treats, toys and yearly vet exams and vaccinations—which average about $1,000-$1,200 per year for dogs and $1,000 for cats.
Make sure the pet fits your lifestyle. Some dog breeds require lots of physical activity and others not so much. Cats are far more independent but require litter box training and maintenance. In addition, be prepared that some dog breeds shed or require professional grooming.
Ask about the animal’s history. Be sure to get the back-story about the animal you’re interested in. Trauma and abuse can create special needs and may create a longer adjustment period for your pet.
Observe their socialization level. Watch how the dog or cat reacts to people and other animals. If they are overly tentative or timid be sure that you’ll offer the kind of home environment that will allow them to thrive. If you see a very social and outgoing animal your adjustment period shouldn’t take as long.
Consider an adult dog or cat. Seniors often get overlooked in favor of a cute and playful puppy—but puppies require a lot more work. Maybe an older dog or cat would suit you better because they require less training and effort. Be sure to ask about their health to ensure that you understand what needs and medications they may require as older pets.
Be prepared for your new family member. Be sure you have all the supplies on hand to welcome your new pet. Leashes, collars, beds, food, treats, and toys are important to have in supply. Many adoption facilities will have these things for sale to make the transition easy.
Observe behavior. Watch how much training your prospective pet may or may not have. A well-trained pet makes life so much easier and class together is excellent for bonding. Many pet rescues will provide free or reduced rate classes for newly adopted animals and their owners.
Be patient. Many rescue animals have been through a lot. Be sure to be very patient with them as they acclimate to their new surroundings. Create a routine they can depend on and offer consistent love and discipline they can trust!