Puppy dog in a shelter

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5 things you need to know about getting a dog from a shelter

By Ashley Murphy Content Writer

Updated on the

If you're thinking about getting a dog, you should definitely consider adopting one from a rescue shelter. Rescue dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and many are looking for their first loving home after a lifetime of abuse and abandonment. Some have never even known what it's like to have a loving family!

So if you want to turn a sad beginning into the happiest of endings, here are 5 things you need to know about getting a dog from a shelter.

What are the pros of adopting a dog from a shelter?

Offering a loving home to a dog from an animal shelter is an incredibly rewarding experience. Many shelter dogs didn't have the best start in life, and opening your heart to a rescue animal gives these poor pooches a second chance at happiness!

Adopting a dog from a rescue shelter cuts out many of the risks associated with private sellers. Demand for specific breeds has led to some unsafe breeding practices, which creates litters of puppies with hidden health defects. These will be very expensive to treat, and may severely impact your puppies quality of life. Shelters will only ever rehome healthy dogs. What's more, all shelter dogs are neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated before they're put up for adoption. Most shelters will also help you find the best health insurance deals for your new pet.

What are the risks of adopting a rescue dog?

Many shelter dogs are recovering from trauma, and they might struggle to settle into their new surroundings.  You may need to spend a few weeks house training your new friend. Alternatively, they may need some socialisation to help them overcome any nervousness or anxiety. Thankfully, old dogs can learn new tricks - it just takes them a little bit longer to pick them up!

Adopt a dog from a shelter! ©Shutterstock

Should I get a puppy or rescue a mature dog?

Buying a puppy from private sellers can be expensive, especially if you're looking for a popular breed. Adopting a puppy from a shelter instead may save you hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds! You can also be assured you're getting a healthy puppy that's been fully vaccinated.

There are several advantages to adopting adult dogs. Firstly, adults dogs tend to settle into their new homes quicker than puppies, Secondly, they're already house trained and will usually have some basic obedience and socialisation training, You can also get a good idea of their personality straight away, which will help you find a dog that suits your lifestyle.

What questions should I ask when adopting a shelter dog?

Asking lots of questions is the key to getting the right dog. You should try to learn as much as possible about the dogs past, including previous owners, behavioural issues, health problems, and personality. This will help you find a dog that suits your lifestyle and family home. For example, some shelter dogs suffer from separation anxiety and require plenty of company or months of training. Either way, this is going to take up a lot of your time. If you can't make that type of commitment, then this isn't the dog for you - no matter how cute they are!

How should I select a dog from a shelter?

Choosing to adopt a dog usually begins with the heart, but the final decision should always be made with the head! When you're looking for a shelter dog, you'll come across dozens of sad stories. But remember, you can't rescue them all, and adopting the 'wrong' dog might do them more harm. So if you're not as active as you’re used to be, adopting a dog that requires two hours of exercise every day is not the best idea! The same goes for any dogs with behavioural or trust issues. These can all be overcome with the right kind of training, but only if you’re ready to make a long-term commitment to the dog's development!

All dogs are special, but there's something extra special about a rescue dog who finds a new home. It's as if they know they've got a second chance at life, and now they're loving every second of it! These guys might require a bit more effort on our part, but watching them enjoy the life they deserve will make it all worthwhile!

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