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Facts and tips about Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
Every October, dog lovers and rescuers celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. This month was started by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to raise public awareness of the millions of dogs awaiting homes in shelters.
The ASPCA commissioned a poll* in 2012 which revealed that pet owners who adopted their dogs from shelters are more likely to be happy with their experience than those owners who purchased their dogs from pet stores. In addition, shelter dog adopters are twice as likely** as pet store dog buyers to recommend the organization in which they got their pet compared to others.
According to the ASPCA, only 20 to 30 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescue groups; the rest are purchased from breeders and pet stores. There are also 3 to 4 million dogs living in shelters nationwide, and 25 percent of these dogs are purebred. Groups such as the ASPCA and the Humane Society encourage people to adopt, not shop, when looking for a new, furry family member.
We at 1-800-PetMeds support pet adoption and encourage new would-be pet owners to check out their local rescue groups and animal shelters before heading to the pet store. As the ASPCA research shows, a quarter of the dogs in shelters are purebred dogs, and there are many breed-specific rescues. Pet parents looking for a specific breed have many alternatives to breeders and pet stores.
Adopting a shelter dog
If you’re considering adopting a new dog this October, you’ll want to prepare your home and stock up on some important pet supplies. First, talk to your family about the type of dog you all want, discussing qualities such as activity level, grooming requirements and personality. This will help narrow down your choices when you visit a rescue group, and it will help the volunteers match your family with the right dog.
Then, make sure your home is ready for a dog. If you’re looking to adopt an active dog that requires hours of play, a fenced backyard is a must. If your family wants an inquisitive puppy, you’ll have to take steps to ensure your home is puppy-safe. To do this, you may need to move cleaning products and chemicals to a higher shelf or possibly install a pet gate at the bottom of a steep set of stairs.
You’ll also need to stock up on supplies for your new dog. A crate, bed, dog bowl, collar and leash are only the beginning. You’ll want to purchase basic grooming items, such as nail clippers a brush, and a variety of fun toys, including chew toys and toys your dog can chase. Other items such as training treats, a pet first aid kit and flea preventatives. View our pet supplies checklist for a list of useful items.
Finally, find a veterinarian in the area that you can take your dog to. Even if your pet is healthy when you adopt him/her, it’s a good idea to visit a vet and establish a relationship between the doctor and your pet. The veterinarian will be able to evaluate your new dog and alert you to any potential health problems or requirements. He/she will also be able to recommend a high-quality dog food to feed your new dog, based on your pet’s weight, age and general health.