3 min read
Learn the ins and outs of the dog adoption process.
Dogs represent pure love. They smile when they see you, they always want to be around you, and their loyalty never fades. Who could pass up this never-ending affection?
If you’re thinking about adding a cuddly canine to your household, celebrate National Puppy Day by following this dog adoption guide.
Making a Difference on National Puppy Day
National Puppy Day falls on March 23, and it celebrates opportunities to make a difference, including:
- Donating time, money, food, or toys to your local shelter.
- Creating an event or fundraiser for your local shelter.
- Adopting a dog from a shelter.
Why You Should Use a Shelter
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA), 3.3 million dogs end up in U.S. animal shelters every year.
Sadly, some pet adopters overlook shelters because they don’t think they’ll find the dog they’re looking for. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Shelters conduct behavioral analyses, provide training and medical treatment, and find great dog/owner matches so their animals have a long-lasting home.
Picking the Right Match
Before you formally apply to adopt a dog, research breed traits that fit your family and lifestyle. Animal Planet hosts a Dog Breed Selector that helps you figure out which breed is right for you. Below, we list dog breeds and their common characteristics:
- Lab or golden retriever
- Easy to train, gentle, good with kids.
- Maltese or English bulldog
- Sociable, obedient, relaxed, adaptable to travel.
- German shepherds, Great Danes, terriers
- Have a lot of energy and make great exercise companions.
Don’t count out mixed breed dogs, either, because they can be a perfect fit for you and your family!
Filling Out the Application
Most shelters follow similar application processes, though some steps may vary.
First, you’ll fill out an application providing basic information about your home environment, family, job, lifestyle, and more. Next, you’ll have a consultation to discuss your answers. You'll talk about your:
- Children (if you have any)
- Other pets (if you have any)
The shelter asks about these details because they want to know you have time to walk, care for, and bond with your new dog. They want the dog you adopt to feel safe with children and other animals, too. In addition to providing detailed answers, feel free to ask questions about the dog’s:
- Experience with other families
- Medical history
- Special food requirements
Even if they don’t ask you about it, let the shelter know you’ve researched the costs of:
- Basic medical requirements like vaccinations
- A cozy bed
- Quality food
Preparing Your Home For Your New Pup
The home environment you provide is extremely important. If you live in a rented property, a shelter or rescue will require a written statement from your landlord stating you have permission to have a dog on the property.
If you don’t have a yard, can you guarantee you have time to take your new dog out for walks and to nearby parks for exercise and socialization? If you do have a yard, is it fully fenced? Your dog needs plenty of outside time but shouldn't be an outdoor pet. Remember, shelters are looking to find a safe, lasting relationship for their dogs.