Adopting from an Animal Shelter: Here are some things to consider
When considering adding a new furry addition to your family, adoption is a great option! Overpopulation is a persistent issue many shelters are challenged with, and one of the best ways you can help with this problem is to adopt a furry companion from one of your local shelters.
Before you adopt, there are a few things you need to consider first. While adopting is certainly recommended, it is important that you are prepared and informed before you chose your new furry companion, to ensure it is a successful, lifelong match.
Before Adoption: Ensure you and your family are prepared
Talk about it with your family: Adding a new addition to the family is a significant step, especially when considering adoption. A new pet can be a lot of work to integrate into your schedule, and can often cause disruption and stress. Make sure you discuss the decision with your family.
Shelter animals may present extra challenges: When adopting a dog or cat, you face certain challenges that are unique to re-homed animals. Sometimes they may have behavioural issues, or will have more difficulty adjusting from their previous routine to your routine. It is particularly important when you adopt you ensure you are prepared for the challenges ahead to acclimate your new furry friend.
Consider your current pets: It is important to consider not just the people in your household, but also the current pets you have. Younger pets generally adapt better to new additions to the household, and you will also want to consider the compatibility of species and genders before your choose to adopt.
Ensure it fits into your budget: While adopting can cost less than purchasing from a breeder, you will still need to carefully consider the substantial costs of owning a pet. Whether you have purchased or adopted your pet, all the associated care costs will be the same. Vaccines, annual checkups, food and pet furniture are just a few examples of what you will need to budget for when adopting a new pet.
Do your research: When you chose to adopt, it is still important to do research and consider what characteristics and breeds best suit your lifestyle. It is best to have this already prepared before visiting shelters, so that you can focus on selecting a pet that is a good match, instead of hastily falling in love with a cutie who may not be an ideal fit. You will want to consider things such as your activity level, if you have young children, and as mentioned how your new pet will interact with your current pets. Personnel at the animal shelter will also be able to help advise you which animal will be a good match, just make sure you already know and have considered what you are looking for prior to visiting the shelter.
You should also make sure to research the shelters in your area, and review any requirements they may have prior to commencing an adoption. Some shelters will request certain documents such as veterinary references or proof of residency. When reviewing the shelters online, you can also often check out their adoptable animals, which can help you gather a better idea on what animal you may wish to adopt. Doing this type of research ahead of time will better ensure you find a successful match in the pet you adopt, and make the process easier and more efficient.
During the Adoption Process: Choose Carefully
Make sure it is a good match for everyone: Ideally when you have a meet and greet at the shelter with your prospective adopted pet, your whole family (including any dogs you already own) should be in attendance. You want to make sure everyone in the household has good chemistry with your new pet. Introducing your new pet to your current pets in a more neutral setting like the animal shelter can help facilitate a smoother transition in your home, since this gives them time to familiarize themselves with each other before entering a place that can have territorial implications. It also allows you and your family to see how your current dog and prospective new pet interact, giving you an indication of what to prepare for once you bring your new pet home.
Ask questions: Shelter personnel make a point of getting to know the nuanced details of the animals in there facility, so that they can provide expert information on indicating what household will be a good match. So don't be afraid to ask questions, and take the time to learn as much as you can before bringing a new pet home. You will want to ask about things like the animal's health history, the reason they came to the shelter, any behavioural concerns they have noticed, and tactics they think work well with this particular animal to help with training, or just making the animal more comfortable.
Make sure you have all required paperwork: Confirm with the shelter what paperwork they will require, and be sure you bring it with you. If you forget or have an incomplete application this can not only the delay the process, but depending on the animal and shelter, you may miss your opportunity to adopt the pet you desire. If you are ever unsure if the shelter wants supplementary materials like veterinary references or proof of residence, it is better to bring it just in case.
After Adoption: How to Ensure Success
Be patient: Although this can be a fun and exciting time for us when we adopt a new pet, for the animal, it can potentially be stressful and scary. So try to be patient and understanding if your new pet is nervous or shy when you arrive home. If you notice that your new pet seems nervous, it is best you give them the space and independence to check out their new home alone. You may also want to contain them in a smaller space of the home for the first day or so, so that your new pet can identify this area as a safe, known area of the home. For the first few days you may also want to keep your other pets away, so that your new pet can focus on adjusting to the new environment, before having to acquaint themselves with other residents of the home.
It can take quite a bit of time and effort to acclimate a new pet to your home and schedule, so fundamentally just remember to be patient. Most often animals in shelters have been returned after an unsuccessful adoption process, and people will state that "things just weren't working out". While the sentiment is understandable it is crucially important to the animal's wellbeing that they go to a home that will take the time to acclimate their new pet to the new environment. If you have done your research and selected the best match for you and your family, with time your pet will adjust, and integrate into your home.
Keep asking questions: Just because the adoption process is complete does not mean that the shelter you adopted from is out of the picture. Many shelters often encourage families to stay in touch; whether just to provide updates, or if you have any questions or concerns. You can also consult your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns.
Visit your veterinarian: After adoption, it is recommended to see your veterinarian, and make sure to bring any documentation you have received regarding medical history for your pet. You will want to see your veterinarian as soon as possible after adoption, so if there are any health concerns, they can be addressed promptly.
Whether you are thinking of adopting or have just adopted a new pet, we are happy to answer any questions you have!
Looking for a vet clinic in the Newmarket Aurora area? Call us at 905 898 1010 to book an appointment!