ULVH_000032050296_MediumDeciding to adopt a pet can be a big decision. If you have thought long and hard about taking the plunge, you know that making that commitment can be difficult. Once you have decided to adopt, however, the hard part is just beginning.

If you have ever visited an animal shelter, you know how hard it can be to pick just one. There are tons of great pets just waiting to be adopted; how will you know which one is the right fit for your family? If you are taking a trip to the shelter in the near future, be sure to read our guide on choosing a dog to adopt.

Narrow it Down

Before you set foot in the shelter, it is important that you consider what type of pet you are looking for. This will help to narrow things down a bit when you are overwhelmed with all those sweet eyes looking up at you.

Consider things like:

  • How much time do you have to devote to training your new pet?
  • Are you able to handle a pet with medical issues or extra care requirements?
  • Does the pet need to be good with children?
  • Will the pet need to get along with other pets?
  • Does a very active dog or a couch potato more appeal to your needs?

Write down your absolute needs and your ideal wants and reference them when you find a potential candidate. Be sure that your choice meets your needs.

Evaluating the Pet in the Shelter

Animals often behave differently in a shelter environment than they might in your own home, but with a little savvy you can get a general idea of what to expect. When you have your top choices narrowed down, take a step back and evaluate the pooch’s personality.

Observe from a distance – Watch your potential pet and see how they interact with their surroundings, other dogs, and kennel workers. Is he or she friendly? Scared? Timid? See if you can observe the dog outside off leash. Does he or she want to be around the people or is he or she more interested in what is going on outside.

Interact – See how the dog reacts when you approach him or her in a friendly manner. If you feel safe, pet the dog all over and see how he or she reacts. Offer a small treat and see how it is received.

Introduce – Be sure everyone in your family, especially children, get to meet the dog before committing to the choice. If you have other pets, be sure that you observe your new pet interacting with dogs (and/or cats if possible).

Making these kinds of observations can better help you get an idea of the dog’s temperament, although all adoptions do require some effort on your part with helping everyone to adapt. Be sure that you are committed to helping your new pet feel safe and happy in his new home.

Choosing a Dog to Adopt

It is important when choosing a dog to adopt that you are sure about your decision. Bouncing a pet from shelter to a home and then back again can be a devastating experience for any animal. By thinking through the decision ahead of time and carefully evaluating your potential pet in the shelter, you can do a better job of being sure that you choose wisely.

Pet adoption is a wonderful thing and many people find devoted furry family members this way. Oakland Veterinary Referral Services wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect fit for your family.