Are you thinking of adding a furry friend to your family? Bringing home a new pup can be an incredibly exciting experience. However, before you head to the puppy store or start contacting breeders, you should consider all the benefits of adopting a shelter dog.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs end up in shelters across the United States each year. If that’s not heartbreaking enough, every year 670,000 dogs are euthanized at overcrowded shelters simply because they don’t have a safe place to call home.
Dogs end up in shelters for a variety of reasons. Some shelter dogs are lost pets (link to how to find your lost dog) that have been taken in from the streets, or animals that have been rescued from situations of neglect or abuse. However, the majority of shelter dogs are just pets that have been given up by their owner due to human-related problems like a move or divorce.
There are millions of lovable shelter dogs out there looking for forever homes, and these pups can be a great addition to your household. Plus, it goes without saying that adopting a shelter dog is far more rewarding than purchasing a puppy from the store. You’ll feel great about the fact that you saved a life and gained a four-legged best friend in the process.
When it comes to finding an adoptable dog, there are many different options. From city and county shelters to non-profit shelters and animal rescue organizations, you’re bound to find the perfect pup for your family.
Here are all the benefits of adopting a shelter dog.
You Can Find Almost Any Breed
Do you have your heart set on bringing home a specific breed of dog? Well, it turns out that you don’t have to go to a breeder or puppy mill to get that Goldendoodle of your dreams. Shelter dogs come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, breeds, and mixes. There’s an extensive network of breed-specific rescues that make it easy to find specific types of adoptable dogs. Plus, you can check out the Shelter Pet Project to search for nearby pets that match your criteria.
You’re Saving at Least One Life
By adopting a shelter dog, you’re giving a pup that was down on his luck a second chance to have a fantastic life. But that’s not all. When you take your new four-legged friend home, you’re opening up space in the shelter that can be given to another animal. Plus, the adoption fees you pay for your pup help to fund the shelter and carry out their mission to help stray animals.
You’ll Get a Great Dog
Animal shelters are filled with lots of friendly, happy, healthy dogs that are waiting to find a forever family. Just because a dog is in a shelter doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with it. Oftentimes, these dogs are willingly surrendered to shelters due to unfortunate human-related circumstances such as a move, divorce, financial loss, unplanned litters, or the pet owner simply deciding that they can no longer handle the responsibilities of caring for an animal. Most of these dogs used to live with families and make fantastic pets. So, don’t let the “shelter dog” label deter you.
You Can Pick a Dog Based on Personality
Studies have found that adult dogs have relatively consistent personalities. Whereas the personality of puppies can change over time, especially in terms of "responsiveness to training, fearfulness, and sociability." Since adult dogs are more set in their characteristics, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how your new dog will act before you bring him home. Many adoption centers even have matching programs that help you pair up with the perfect pup.
Shelter Dogs Cost Less
Purchasing a purebred or “designer mix” from a breeder or puppy store can cost thousands of dollars. Whereas the fees for adopting a shelter dog typically range from $0 to $400, depending on the specific animal shelter and the type of dog you choose. In addition to being less expensive, some shelters send you home with some of the things you need for your new friend, like collars, leashes, carriers and dog food. Not to mention, you’ll save money on trainers and obedience classes if the dog you adopt is already trained and housebroken.
Most Shelter Dogs Come with Vaccines
Oftentimes, when you adopt a shelter dog, they already have their first vaccinations and may even be microchipped. If it’s not included in the adoption price, most shelters will perform these service for a small additional fee. So, in addition to saving money on the upfront cost of your pup, you’ll also save some extra dough and a whole lot of time on all those initial veterinary visits.
Many Shelter Dogs Are Spayed or Neutered
Many states have laws put in place that require animal shelters to spay or neuter adopted dogs before they go home with their new owner. Sometimes, shelters will wait until the dog is adopted before performing this procedure. But in many cases, shelter dogs have previously been fixed by their prior owners or have been spayed/neutered upon arriving at the shelter. If the dog you’re adopting isn’t from a state with these rules, some shelters will offer this service for a small fee or help you find a low-cost spay/neuter clinic.
Some Shelter Dogs Come with Additional Perks
In addition to providing you with a barking best friend, many shelters offer support, such as giving you access to additional resources for your pet and training classes. You can ask your local shelters for more information about what they offer.
Shelter Dogs Are Easier to Housetrain
Looking to avoid all those puppy accidents and potty training struggles? Since many adult shelter dogs previously lived in houses, you’ll often find that they have already been house trained. Yeah, talk about convenient. If the shelter dog that steals your heart hasn’t been housebroken, don’t worry. Many say that adult dogs have an easier time getting the hang of house training than puppies. So, your furry friend will be doing his business exclusively outside in no time.
You Can Skip the Puppy Struggles
Puppies require constant care and attention. Between frequent walks, training, and socialization, having a puppy can feel a full-time job. They have boundless amounts of energy. Plus, you have to keep an eye on them 24/7 so they don’t destroy the house or put themselves in harm’s way. If you’re not ready to take on that type of responsibility, adopting an older dog from a shelter might be a good option. Adopting an adult dog lets you skip the puppy stage and can make the transition into your home easier. Plus, you won’t have to deal with puppy potty breaks at all hours of the night or the dreaded puppy nipping phase.
Your New Dog Will Make You Feel Better
Apparently, your furry friend can also make you feel good. Numerous studies have found that owning a dog can improve your mental health by helping you maintain a positive perspective on life and easing symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness. In addition to boosting your mood, caring for your dog will give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. You’ll also feel proud of the fact that you helped your dog by giving him a loving new home and a second chance at life.
Are you worried about your new dog becoming a flight risk? Some say that dogs are more likely to run away after being introduced to a new home. However, there are several steps you can take to make sure your dog doesn’t end up back in a shelter or on the streets. Make sure your dog wears the proper identification on their collar at all times and keep the boundaries of your home and backyard secure. It’s also not a bad idea to use a location tracking collar. Fi is a sleek, smart dog collar that has activity and real-time GPS features. It has a battery life that is unrivaled by other tracking collars. So, you can be sure that you’ll find your pup and get him back home safe and sound.