August 1 is the Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs! Walking into shelters and seeing animals in need of a forever home can be extremely moving. Many of us find ourselves wanting to leave with every dog and cat in the place. While it’s admirable to want to adopt, it’s essential to consider certain factors before adding a furry family member. This addition could be with you for at least 10 years, so you need to ensure it’s a good fit for everyone involved, both human and animal.

Consider the kids

Many dogs are relinquished to shelters every year because they don’t do well with children. If you have kids, or if you plan to begin a family in the coming years, it’s important to do your research and ask the shelter about the animal’s history with children.

Consider the other animals

Will your new pet get along with your existing animals? When you bring home a new dog or cat (or rabbit or hamster or backyard chicken), you are essentially giving your existing pet a new sibling. There will no doubt be growing pains, but it is important to be sure the animals can get along before committing. Bring your current pet to the shelter with you to meet your potential adoptee.

Consider the age

Puppies are cute and cuddly. They also tend to go to the bathroom wherever and whenever the urge hits them, and they often like to chew on just about anything that can be chewed. Are you ready to housetrain a puppy? Are you prepared to risk your favorite pair of shoes?

Conversely, if you have young children and/or other pets at home and opt to adopt an older animal, will the playfulness of the little ones irritate your new senior pal? Will you be able to financially handle the potential medical needs of a senior pet?

Consider the commitment

Does the shelter animal you’ve fallen in love with have special needs? Will he need regular grooming or an excessive amount of exercise? Does he require medications? When you adopt an animal, you’re making a commitment that should last for the lifetime of that pet. If his needs are more than you can physically, financially, or emotionally handle, you should consider adopting an animal that would be better suited for you.

We believe that every pet is family. If you have any questions about what to consider when adopting shelter pets, contact us.