adoption Archives - Hot Diggity! Dog Walking + Pet Sitting

April 30th was National Shelter Pets Day, and in honor of this holiday, we wanted to list some of the many reasons why choosing to adopt rather than purchase an animal is a choice more kind to your heart, your community, and your wallet.

You Are Saving Multiple Lives

You are giving an animal, who may have come from a situation of neglect or cruelty, or who may simply have been abandoned when its owners became incapable of caring for it, another chance at life in a happy home. 

Additionally, as animal overpopulation has led to the euthanization of millions of healthy animals each year, your adoption also opens a shelter bed for another animal, who will now have the same opportunity as your new companion.

You Can Improve Your Health

Dozens of studies have demonstrated that pet ownership contributes to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, lowers muscle tension, and has a myriad of positive effects on one’s mental health. 

A 2015 study by the CDC found that children who were raised with pet dogs had significantly lower rates of childhood anxiety, and a 2014 study on community-dwelling elderly people determined that caring for a pet improved cognitive function and feelings of isolation and depression.

You Are Helping to Abolish Puppy Mills

Commercial breeding facilities are legal in most states, and are inherently designed to maximize profit over animal health and welfare. Approximately 10,000 puppy mills are currently operating in the U.S., and only approximately 3,000 have any regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

In these facilities, animals typically have no access to veterinary care or protection from extreme weather; female dogs are bred continuously, without adequate recovery time, and often killed when they can no longer reproduce; animals frequently struggle with health problems, including bleeding or swollen paws, severe tooth decay, ear infections, dehydration, and lesions on their eyes, which often lead to blindness.

Each year, over 2 million puppy mill puppies are sold to often unsuspecting owners, encouraging the ongoing operation of mills, while over 3 million dogs are killed in shelters. By choosing to adopt, you are also helping to discourage ongoing operation of these substandard facilities, which will improve the lives of many animals over time.

Choosing a Breed is Not Impossible!

Many people choose to buy because they think they won’t be able to find the breed they’re looking for in a shelter pet – and this is not true! Shelters frequently have specific breeds that have been surrendered due to lack of original owner preparedness – and there are even many breed-specific rescue organizations throughout the country. PetFinder and Dogster both have handy search tools for breed-specific rescues. 

While you wait, you may always volunteer your time as a foster parent to a pet in need. By fostering, you will meet pets of various breeds, and your rescue may acquire a breed you’re looking for in the meanwhile. Or, you may find that breed is less relevant than personality and end up with a completely unexpected family member!

You Are Saving Significant Money for Your Pet’s Startup Costs

Your pet’s initial exam, flea/heartworm treatment, vaccinations, microchipping & registration, and spay/neuter surgery can run upwards of $1000 out of pocket. On the other hand, your shelter pet will come health checked, with current vaccinations, and usually already spayed or neutered – ready to settle in at home with you without an immediate need for medical care! 

Frequently, shelters also develop partnerships with select local veterinarians that will allow you to acquire reduced-cost services for the duration of your pet’s life.

Your Pet’s Personality May Already Be Known

Many shelter pets spend some time in foster homes where they are prepared for adoption. Foster parents take the time to get to know their pets’ personalities and prepare them for adoption – so you have a much better chance of knowing what your new friend is like – their likes and dislikes, favorite things, and so much more!

Older Pets Can Be Easier to Adopt

If you’ve ever raised a puppy, kitten, or other young animal, you know that they require a lot of additional time to raise! Puppies need to be potty-trained and may have accidents as they grow; kittens are bundles of energy that will tear through your house at ten million miles an hour, knocking everything down as they go! You have to take the time to teach your new fur baby how to walk, what not to scratch or eat, and so much more.

Adopting an older pet from a shelter means that not only will their personalities be more developed, but they will also be calmer, and likely already arrive potty trained. Plus, you can leave an older pet alone a little longer than a young animal, which may be more suited to someone with a busy career.

Before you take on the responsibility of another dog, you must ensure that you will be able to handle adding another friend to your family. Make sure that you will be able to afford the costs of more food, supplies, medicine, and vet appointments. It is also important that you have enough space for your dog, especially if they are a larger breed. 

Do you have enough time for the new dog? This is another important question to ask yourself because a new furry friend means even more time outside exercising your pups. It can be a lot of work, especially if you aren’t expecting it. If you’re ready for the added responsibility, however, bringing a new pet home can be a great experience. There are just a few things to keep in mind.

Before They Arrive

Before your dog comes home, you should prepare your house for the new addition. If you have a dog already, this is a good time to make sure that your house is safe for additional pets. For example, ensure that the houseplants that you have are safe for dogs. If you are bringing home a puppy, it may be wise to take additional steps to make your home and yard safe for the dog. You may also want to purchase important supplies for your pup ahead of time, including things like food, bowls for food and water, a collar, a leash, and toys.

Introductions

Before you officially bring your dog home, you should ensure that everyone will get along with the new pet. To do this, take the time to make sure all members of your household meet the new addition and give their approval. This includes your existing pets! Many shelters will allow you to bring your dogs and cats to the shelter to meet the new dog to ensure that they can live harmoniously. Additionally, introducing your pets in neutral territory like a shelter will keep resource guarding and aggression at bay. 

Remember that all dogs have different personalities and preferences. There will be certain dogs that won’t get along; that’s normal. However, it is important to find this out before you bring a new dog home instead of after. Otherwise, this tension can lead to territorial aggression, something that can also result from anxiety in your dogs. Introducing them ahead of time is a good way to help avoid this issue completely. 

If it isn’t possible to make introductions in a neutral space like a shelter, it is important to gradually introduce your pets as opposed to just tossing them together. Consider introducing your dogs while they are in a crate, then easing them out of it once they’ve calmed down have become somewhat used to the new addition’s presence. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to take time to walk the new pet around their new home. When introducing your dog to the new home, it is helpful to introduce a bit of the house at a time. Consider allowing them to look around one room at a time.

Home Alone

It can be very stressful for your dog to be home alone in a place with which they are unfamiliar, especially if they are home alone with new animals. At first, try to limit the amount of time that your dog is home alone. One way to make it easier for them is to set up a quiet and calm place for them to be while they are at home alone, like a bed with their own toys.

If any of your dogs suffer from separation anxiety, a new addition to the environment can increase this dramatically. Limiting initial alone time together is a good way to combat this, in addition to things like CBD oil for anxiety, and crate training. A lot of dog owners are turning to this natural remedy to help make their pup feel more comfortable when they’re alone.

If you choose crate training, gradually ease them into the space and make it comfortable for them. If your new dog is a puppy, ensure that the crate will have enough space as they grow. It may also help to set up the crate in a room that makes them comfortable and is away from noise and distractions. Make sure it is well-ventilated and light enough, too. The crate should be seen as a safe space for your dog, not a punishment, so you want to ensure the space suits them.

Settling In

When your dog is the newest addition to your family, it will be easy to shower them with attention. Remember, however, that you’ll eventually want them to fit in with the rest of your family on a daily basis without special attention. Try not to give them too much attention, in other words, because doing so could inadvertently train them to expect praise and treats all the time. Make sure that you love all of your pets equally and include them all as a part of your family. One way to do this is to take your dogs for walks together, which will help them to be active and bonded. It may take time to adjust them to this new routine, so make sure that you remain patient with your dogs and reward positive behavior. You may also plan “doggie dates” for them to all bond with each other and the family. This will help to acclimate the new dog and create shared time together.

 

Bringing a new pet home is no small decision, and there are many things to consider before making the choice. If you do decide that expanding the family is the right choice for you, make sure to use this guide to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.

This guest post is from Madison Adams, you can view her travel blog here!