The decision to bring a new pet into your life is not always an easy one to make. There are a variety of factors you must consider–are you and your family are ready for the responsibility? Are you able to devote the time and attention to helping a new pet feel comfortable in your home? Can you handle the financial burden of a new pet?
If the answers to all of these questions are “yes,” the next step is actually finding the right pet for you or your family. While there are many reputable private dog breeders out there, it’s worth it to consider adoption before other options.
Reasons To Adopt A Pet
There are many reasons to adopt a pet, including supporting your local animal shelters, and providing love to animals in need. But here are some of the top things to consider when it’s time to adopt a pet:
Adoption can cost much less than purchasing a cat or dog from a breeder. The adoption fee will vary from location to location, but is typically under $500. Because many shelters are not-for-profit organizations, the fees incurred for pet adoptions are usually spent on food and resources for the other animals at the shelter. Puppies at shelters can be more costly to adopt because the shelter covers the cost to have them neutered or spayed and passes the price of the procedure onto the “customer”. No matter which pet you choose to adopt from a shelter, you can rest assured knowing that the money you pay for your new pet will be going back to a good cause.
Helping Sheltered Animals.
Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter animal shelters in the United States every year, on top of the animals that are already in shelters. Of the animals who enter a shelter each year, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. It is estimated that 1.5 million of them are euthanized every single year because there’s nowhere for them to go and shelters need to free up occupied space. Most shelters operate off of donations and struggle to pay the bills needed to operate on a month-to-month basis. Dog food, toys, and other resources add up significantly when you have anywhere from 50 to several hundred animals residing in a facility. These animals are all hoping to find loving homes. By choosing to adopt a pet instead of purchasing one from a breeder or pet store, you have the ability to potentially save an animal’s life, and feel endless love in return.
Boycotting Puppy Mills.
What most people don’t realize is that those adorable little puppies they see at their local pet stores were probably raised in a puppy mill. A puppy mill is a facility where dogs are bred so that breeders are able to bring in as much profit from offspring as possible. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 USDA-licensed breeders currently operating in the United States. What’s not known is the number of unlicensed puppy mills in existence. These puppy mills can be large enough to contain more than 1,000 breeding dogs at the same time. Responsible breeders understand the importance of the health of a parent, as well as the genetic pairing required to produce strong litters that will improve the breed. Operators of puppy mills don’t take these things into account, simply focusing on producing as many puppies as they can, causing legitimate genetic flaws in the breeding pools of their dogs. Along with this, the abuse that these animals can encounter is disturbing. If more people chose to adopt a pet, rather than purchase dogs, these puppy mills would be forced to go out of business.
Questions To Ask When You Adopt A Pet
Since bringing a pet into your home is a long-term commitment, there are questions you should ask the shelter or facility before you walk out with your new addition to your family. This will help to ensure that you are making the right choice when you adopt a pet.
- Find out about its medical history. From simple things like vaccinations and microchip implants, to more complicated health issues, like chronic illness and allergies, you want to have a complete picture of your potential pet’s health. Medical conditions shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker, but it’s good to be able to understand what you might be responsible for as a new pet parent.
- Does your pet have a history of trauma? Shelter animals can end up there for different reasons; some are strays, and some are rescues. Rescue animals often have experienced trauma with previous owners and can struggle with anxiety, trust, and social issues–all which can be managed, but require extra attention and care from their adopted families.
- Ask about their litter mates, if they have them. You can compare their personality and temperament with their siblings to see if they are in alignment with the other animals, or are an exception to the rule. This can serve as a makeshift behavioral assessment for the animal and give you a better idea of what type of pet personality you will be bringing into your home.
- How old is the animal? Depending on what your family is looking for, inquiring about the age of the pet you want to adopt can be crucial to your decision-making process. A younger animal will most likely be with your family for 10-15 years, whereas an older animal has a shorter lifespan as a pet, and can sometimes have health complications. As a result, if you choose an older pet to take home, you might want to purchase pet insurance to keep your out-of-pocket costs down should medical issues arise. After all, older pets need love too!
- Are they spayed or neutered? Whether they are young or old, it’s important to adopt a pet that has already been spayed or neutered. Not only are there health benefits associated with having your pet spayed or neutered, but the procedure can also curb aggressive behavior, cut costs, and ultimately, reduce pet homelessness.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
As you can see, there are many reasons to adopt a pet instead of purchasing one through a breeder or pet store. Ultimately, adopting a pet is not only a financially reasonable option, but it can also give you a sense of pride in knowing that your efforts are going towards the valiant cause of helping an animal in need.