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Every year 3.3 million dogs end up in shelters. Half of these dogs will probably never be adopted. Most of these dogs end up homeless through no fault of their own. “Moving” and “landlord issues” are the top two reasons people relinquish their dogs, which means shelters are full of wonderful furry friends. 25% of dogs in shelters are purebreds, so contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of breed-specific dog shelters out there. Adopted dogs typically cost less than purchased dogs too. All of these reasons make dog adoption an appropriate route for many, if not all, dog owners.

With all of the adorable and affordable dogs in need of homes, you might be tempted to make a quick decision. However, it’s best to be thoughtful about the process. For example, you must consider the context of your home. Do you live in an apartment or a house? Do you have a yard? Do you travel a lot? Do you know anyone who can act as a dog sitter when you’re out of town? Does the rest of your family want a new dog as much as you do?

With all things considered, you should know a few things first. In this article, you’ll find 10 helpful tips for adopting a dog, as well as a map of the United States that lists the top 100 dog shelters, according to Google reviews.

1. Bringing your dog home for the first time

Just like us, dogs need leadership and order in their lives. It’s your responsibility as the dog owner to provide this order. Your dog should know that you’re the leader of the pack and that you have a certain set of rules to live by. This will make the transition from the shelter to your home easier and more rewarding. You should create rules about caring for your dog and make sure that every member of your household knows these rules. In addition, you should purchase essential dog care items like ID tags, leashes, collars, harnesses, food and water dishes, toys, a crate, bedding, and grooming tools.

Before bringing your new dog home for the first time, take him for a walk and burn a little energy. When you introduce your adopted dog to your home for the first time, limit him to one room or area. Most dogs naturally like to den, so having an appropriately sized crate is crucial. This will give him a place to get away when overstimulated. You should plan a trip to your veterinarian early on to make sure your dog is healthy.

2. Introducing a puppy to an adult dog

First things first, make sure your dog(s) are up to date on all their vaccinations. This includes bordetella (kennel cough). Also, this is especially important if the puppy is coming from a shelter or rescue facility. When the new puppy is introduced to your home, it will throw off your adult dog. Begin the acclimation process by isolating the puppy in a room by itself. This will give your adult dog time to sniff out the presence of the puppy.

With regards to the initial introduction, choose a neutral location. Somewhere unfamiliar to both dogs is best, such as a park you don’t usually visit. For a young puppy (4 months and under), have a friend (not a family member) hold the puppy and let your adult dog get a good sniff. Walks are excellent opportunities for bonding activities.

3. Dog shelters can match you with the right dog

Shelter workers know their dogs, so they can help match you with the perfect companion. And these people genuinely care where the dogs end up. Every shelter organization has a dog adoption application and screening process for would-be adopters. Furthermore, shelter volunteers follow up with you to make sure your dog is comfortable in their hew home. These volunteers are also full of training advice. If things don’t work out with your new dog, most shelters will take the dog back.

To help people make good choices, many shelters even specialize in small dogs while others focus on larger breeds. There are thousands of dog shelters devoted to one particular breed too.

4. Rescues have plenty of purebred dogs

If you’re set on a specific breed, look into dog adoption before visiting a breeder or pet store. Because 25% of all dogs in shelters are purebred. In addition, there are plenty of rescue groups that focus on specific breeds. Don’t be mislead into thinking that animal shelters are filled with dogs that were abandoned because they are “bad” in some way. Shelter dogs are incredible companions who became the victims of unlucky circumstances, family tragedy, or irresponsible owners. Many private dog breeders and pet stores that supply the majority of purebreds are selling inbred dogs without proper care for preventing genetic problems.

5. Preparing a budget for dog adoption

Adopting a dog means adopting the expenses necessary to properly take care of that dog. If you’ve never owned a pet before, understanding how much your new pet will cost can be complex. First, there’s an adoption fee. This fee goes back to the shelter to cover operating costs such as providing vaccines, spaying or neutering, medical care, and all dog supplies. Dog adoption fees typically cost $100 to $300.

Next, you’ll need basic dog supplies such as a collar, leash, IDs, bowls, toys, and microchip. The biggest expense is dog food and the cost depends on the type and size of the dog you adopt. Ask the shelter what they’ve been feeding your dog and the associated cost to get a better idea of this expense.

Other costs include medical and daycare needs. This includes regular checkups and an emergency fund in the event of an accident or illness. If you will be gone all day and know you won’t be able to let your dog outside, you should look into doggie daycare or a dog walker. There are many high-caliber daycares like ADOGO pet hotels to choose from.

6. Many shelter dogs are already housebroken

Living in a dog shelter isn’t ideal but some shelters assist the dogs in more ways than one. Shelter dogs can be socialized with other pets, which helps make them kinder with all types of animals. Many shelters utilize foster homes, where dogs are socialized with other dogs and children. In addition, they’re given fundamental obedience training before moving to their new homes. This makes the transition to your home easier for you can your dog.

Contrary to popular belief, many dogs in shelters are already trained, housebroken, and ready to go. This can be attributed to hard-working volunteers, experienced foster parents, or because the dog has already learned proper household habits from his previous home.

7. Creating a dog-friendly schedule

Depending on the breed, age, and activity level, your newly adopted dog will require a certain amount of time. You need to plan the amount of time you give your dog. First, you need to consider your daily routine. The amount of free time you have each day will impact the care and attention you can give your dog. Dogs are social pets so time spent “hanging out” makes a big difference in the social well-being of your dog. Already-trained adult dogs and new-born puppies have different needs. Be prepared to spend 4-5 hours per day with a puppy who still requires training, and spend 3-4 hours per day with an adult dog who maintains trained behavior.

8. Dog adoption builds character in children

Dog adoption provides an opportunity to teach life-values to children. Devoting your resources and care to a needy dog sends a clear message about family identity. Adopting a dog is a great time to explore your family’s underlying values and what you stand for. It is through this experience that children learn how to make important decisions when prompted with the choice to save a life.

Children learn about personal responsibility and their impact on the greater good. Kids need to know that they can change the world. But we need to give them opportunities to do so. Choosing to adopt a dog can embed that ethic. Dogs encourage children to get outside more, to go for walks, and to experience all the associated health benefits. Through feeding and caring for a dog’s needs, kids learn valuable lessons about responsibility. Furthermore, children with dogs at home display improved social skills, self-esteem, and impulse control.

9. Myths about dog adoption

Most rescued dogs don’t have a home to no fault of their own. It’s a common myth that all dogs in shelters are damaged in some way. The fact is that dog shelters are full of wonderful, perfectly healthy, adoptable dogs waiting for a new home.

The majority of dogs that are up for adoption end up in a shelter due to financial hardship, divorce, death, or other unexpected changes in their family. To make matters worse, the number of dogs in need of adoption are compounded by the surplus of dogs bred for profit. Approximately 4 million animals are put to sleep each year due to overpopulation. By adopting a dog from a shelter, you are not only rescuing that dog, but you’re also making room in the shelter for another dog in need. Thank you for considering adoption and help us demystify the myths of homeless dogs.

10. FAQ for veterinarian visits

You should take your new dog to the veterinarian within the first few days of adoption. If you have other pets, then this is a must-do. It’s essential that you ensure your newly adopted dog is healthy and doesn’t possess any transmittable diseases. You can search for a local veterinarian online or by word of mouth. The shelter where you got your dog will likely have a good recommendation. In addition, you can simply ask your neighbors where they bring their dogs.

For proper preventative care, you should have your dog examined by your veterinarian twice a year. A standard checkup includes inspecting your dog’s skin and coat for fleas. Also, your dog’s temperature will be taken and a full-body examination will be conducted. Expect your veterinarian to emphasize the importance of flea and tick prevention and avoiding parasites.

Find a Dog Shelter Near You By State

We picked the 2 best dog shelters per state according to Google Reviews.

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