National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

Today is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, a day created to raise awareness for the millions of animals waiting for their forever homes in shelters across the country. Are you ready to bring home your new best friend? Your local shelter is a great place to start your search!

To ensure your shelter search and pet adoption process goes smoothly, here are some tips:

Meet Your Match

Most adopters have an idea of what type of pet they want to adopt but feel overwhelmed by the variety of animal breeds, temperaments, and ages found in shelters. A good rule of thumb? Pick a pet whose personality meshes well with yours. Are you a high-energy marathoner? An enthusiastic rescue dog could be your new running buddy. Are you laid-back and relaxed? A mellow cat or older animal may be your perfect pet.

Pets over the age of six are often overlooked in animal shelters by potential adopters, but there are so many reasons why older animals can make ideal furry family members. They tend to be less rambunctious than younger animals, are often already house-trained, and, just like any shelter animal, they are forever grateful for a second chance.

Put a Plan in Place

Before bringing home your shelter pet, make sure you—and your home—are ready for their arrival. Gather the supplies your pet will need: a collar, leash, identification tags, crate, toys, water and food bowls, and food. Ask the shelter about your pet’s previous feeding schedule and what type of food they’ve been fed, as a sudden switch in schedules or food can cause tummy issues.

Choose a veterinarian before adopting a pet, and schedule a visit within a few days of adoption. You’ll want to take any medical records the shelter provides with you to ensure that your new pet is getting the proper care they need. If your pet wasn’t spayed or neutered prior to adoption, ask your veterinarian about the process, and don’t forget about microchipping your pet – it can ensure their safe return home if they wander from your sight.

Get off on the Right Paw

Ensure your entire household is prepared for a new pet before adopting a new furry family member. Have a plan in place for which family members will handle certain pet responsibilities, like taking a dog on a walk or emptying the cat’s litter box.

When adopting a new pet with existing pets at home, discuss with the animal shelter or adoption facility how to make a proper introduction. But be patient – it can several weeks for a pet to relax in a new environment.

Your local shelter is a great place to find animals of every type, size, age and personality – all waiting for a loving home!