Dog AdoptionHow-To Dog Articles

How to Adopt-A-Dog


October is Adopt-a-Dog and Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month, with our article filled to the brim with tips on bringing your new companion home.

With the help of a personal PRNewswire-USNewswire by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), important questions will be answered before you sign that dotted line on the adoption papers.

“Adopting a dog is a fun and heartwarming experience that can transform your life for the better, but it’s also a very serious decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly,” says Dr. Clark K. Fobian, president of the AVMA. “The primary reason dogs are given up to animal shelters is unfulfilled expectations, so before you even consider bringing a dog into your life it is crucial to take time, involve your family, and give careful consideration to your expectations and the needs of the dog to be sure it’s a good match. Your local veterinarian is an excellent resource for answers to your questions.”

Exercise qualities

Before you decide what type of dog you will adopt, ask yourself this question, “Who am I?”

Be honest with yourself. Give a call to your worst sibling if needed, or even get really brave and bring your teenager into the picture.

Now, some people are professional couch potatoes.  They keep organized snacks in front of them on the coffee table, right next to the channel changer. This type of person takes a real dedicated dog that likes to conserve its energy also. Some people are professional joggers, rising before the sun is up and expects an energetic type of dog to go along. Or you could be someone with a large family or you have a daycare center. In that case, you would need a gentle dog who loves children and does not have a problem with playing dress-up,  taking a couple hundred tiny walks in the yard, or having its toenails painted.

The fact is, there is a type of dog for every occasion and for all types of people. It is just a matter of research and time. But all dogs require some form of exercise, even the really laid-back dog owner who plans on bringing home a dog who gives him a high-five when they both hear this statement …  “Sweat is fat crying.”

Dog shelters are mostly filled with mixed-dogs, with about 25% purebreds. DNA’s can be done through cheek-swabs that can tell a mixed-dog’s ancestry. Visually, mixed-dogs could have several dogs in them or just a few. Sometimes the shelter workers or previous owners know what breed or breeds a certain dog is. But keep in mind that each breed has its own traits. A mixed-dog with more than two backgrounds has even more genetic traits. And,  so on …

Low Energy Dogs or “Couch Potatoes” – Bichon Frise, French Bulldog, Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (considered the ultimate lapdog), Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow-Chow, Keeshond, Lhaso-Apso, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Skye Terrier, and the  Tibetan Spaniel.

High energy dogs require an owner that does more than throw a Frisbee. Keeping this type of dog beside you or behind you is a training point, as it will keep them from taking control as an alpha. Remember that if a high energy dog does not get enough exercise, they have a tendency to develop negative behavior and can become a problem as they get older.

High Energy Dogs – Airedale Terrier, Australian Shepherds, Border Collie, Dalmatian, English Springer Spaniel, Miniature Pinscher, Parson Russell Terrier, Pointer, Siberian Husky, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Vizsla, and Weimaraner.

Special needs

adopt a dog

Dogs that are adopted from shelters, like all dogs, are susceptible to certain health problems. The only advantage for purebreds is that they are easily researched as you know what breed to look up. If you haven’t had time to do the DNA, you have to go be the dog’s looks …which are not too accurate.

For example, the popular Yorkshire Terriers are high energy dogs, but have low exercise requirements.  Their playfulness in the home provides them with all the exercise they need.  But a vet will tell you that this little dog can have major concerns with portacaval shunts, tracheal collapse, and Leggs-Perthes as they mature. A minor concern is patellar luxation.

If you are considering a mixed-breed dog, think about what traits may be part of that dog’s DNA. For example, short-nosed dogs may be more likely to experience breathing problems, particularly in hot climates or when excited or stressed. Other dogs may have a hair coat that requires constant grooming or skin that has characteristics (e.g. wrinkles) that place them at greater risk for dermatological problems.

Life spans of different breeds

Hopefully you are adopting -a-dog for life, called it “a dog’s forever home,” with different breeds having various lifespans. Typically, smaller dogs live longer while large breeds live less.

How long they will be with you depends on whether you get a dog as a puppy or adopt-a-dog at a shelter that is older. At one time, elderly dogs were euthanized  as nobody would adopt them due to high medical fees and a great deal of care. This has changed, especially with no-kill shelters rising in numbers.

Remember this. Breeders charge a one-time fee for puppies at eight weeks of age, while adopt-a-dog shelter adoption fees usually pays only for vaccines and spaying or neutering. This runs about$100 or so, depending on where you live.

Long-term costs include crates, bedding, toys, quality dog food, and routine medical care. Additional costs may include professional grooming and boarding or pet sitting. Regular veterinarian visits can help control some of the costs of pet ownership by providing you with preventive care, helping avoid potential health problems.

Where to adopt-a-dog

Talk with local veterinarians, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Shelters in your community may have a great selection of dogs, including some purebreds, available for adoption. Other resources include purebred rescue groups and reputable breeders.

Signs your adopted dog is healthy

  • Eyes that are clear and bright
  • A clean coat
  • The dog is not overweight or underweight
  • No previous signs of illness
  • No runny nose
  • No diarrhea

Most shelters have a vet in house or a vet-at-call. Physicals are done along with the spaying/neutering. But getting a family vet from the beginning is important if you do not have one already should. In fact, it should be a number one step to adopt-a-dog or adopt-a-shelter dog.

Remember: A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, big or small, young or old. He doesn’t care if you’re not smart, not popular, not a good joke-teller, not the best athlete, nor the best-looking person. To your dog, you are the greatest, the smartest, the nicest human being who was ever born. You are his friend and protector.

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To view an AVMA brochure on how to select a dog, please visit:https://ebusiness.avma.org/EBusiness50/ProductCatalog/product.aspx?ID=124. For more information about the AVMA, please visit www.avma.org.

Founded in 1863 and now more than 84,000 members strong, the AVMA is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Join us as we celebrate 150 years of education, science and service.

 SOURCE of Press Release:  American Veterinary Medical Association

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