JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Today is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, and according to the ASPCA, approximately 6.3 million pets enter animal shelters nationwide each year.
For those looking to add another (or first) pet to the family, below are some things to consider and benefits of adoption from Erin Askeland, Camp Bow Wow’s Animal Health and Behavioral Expert.
Factors to consider while adopting a dog
What breed are you looking to adopt?
Different breeds have different characteristics, and you need to consider the energy of your household, the size of dog that you can handle, how much exercise you are able to provide and more.
Who will care for the new pet?
Be sure your new pet correlates with the ages of those in the household. A good rule of thumb: the new pet should fit the current physical capabilities of the caretakers, with a perspective for what the next 10-15 years will bring.
Does your family have an opinion on their newest member of the family?
Poll each family member to find out what they are looking for in a new pet so that the pet you choose aligns with the household. The best approach is to bring the whole family to meet the potential new family member and gauge how they all interact.
Are you financially ready for this responsibility?
A new pet can go from “free-to-a-good-home” to several thousand dollars. Set a budget for the upfront cost of taking the pet home and for immediate follow-up costs like veterinary check-ups, a training crate and pet obedience classes. Also keep in mind the necessary chunk of money needed for veterinary emergencies.
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Benefits of Pet Adoption:
Saving the Life of a Shelter Pet - Only 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters; the rest are left to live in the rescue centers or, worse – euthanized. Bottom line: Adopting a pet saves a life. Give a dog or cat a home they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Stress Reduction - Some studies show that people begin to feel less anxious after spending less than an hour with an animal.
Engaged Mind - A key to a healthy mind is staying engaged with others. A pet is often a conversation starter and being out with a pet often leads to interaction and conversation with others.