Congratulations! You’re ready to invite a new furry friend into your life, which will be one of the best decisions you ever make – so long as you do a little research first. Step 1 is understanding what kind of breed, personality, and temperament you’re looking for from a cat or dog , as well as making sure your finances are in check to afford one. Then, it’s time to ask yourself: WHERE do you want to get your pet from?
Now, we have to admit, we’re biased on this topic because we are strong believers that we can end the need for pet euthanasia by working together to connect more families with the right adoptable animal for them.
But, we also believe in doing our part to help make sure you ask the right questions, no matter where you decide to look for your next animal. There is PLENTY of information you can find on how to make this decision, but we’ve pulled together a few of essential tips and resources we think stand out.
ANIMAL RESCUES & SHELTERS
- Rescue volunteers tend to spend a lot of quality time and personal investment in the animals they care for, even fostering them in their own homes. Be sure to take advantage of their expertise in helping you find the right match for you and your family.
- If temperament and behavior are especially important to you, getting an older dog from a rescue (over 3 years) is likely your best bet. While breeds can suggest expected traits in some instances, every animal is unique based on a variety of factor, including personality, training, and life experiences.
- If you have concerns about allergies or how a new animal will get along with an existing animal, ask if the rescue or shelter will allow for a trial visit. These organizations are really committed to finding a permanent home for the animals they place and are often happy to take this step.
- Plenty of rescues and shelters are also happy to help you manage any behavioral issues or answer questions you have once you bring a dog home. They are very familiar with a whole range of options from barking to separation anxiety and can provide advice on what to do next. Some can even help connect with discounted training options, if you’re interested.
- As high as 20-30% of dogs who wind up in shelters and rescues are purebreds.There are even many animal rescue transport groups and networks who will work with you to get a rescue dog from one location to another. So, if there is a rescue or shelter that specializes in a breed you care about is several states away, you may be able to tap into one of these communities.
- You can also find plenty of puppies – even full bred puppies at rescues and shelters. Some rescues even specialize in saving pregnant mothers from puppy mills or dangerous breeder situations.
- Just as there can be irresponsible breeders, there can also be irresponsible rescues. While advice from fellow adopters is one of the best ways to ensure you’re choosing a reputable organization, you should also do a little digging on your own if you have any concerns. Facebook can be a surprisingly great place to start – make sure the account has been active for some time and has positive comments from a broad range of commenters.
- Rescues are almost always no-kill environments for animals. Shelters on the other hand range – some are kill shelters and some are no-kill shelters. If you believe in helping to end pet euthanasia, be sure to support organizations that share your values. In all these places, though, animals arrive for a range of reasons that have nothing to do with poor medical or behavioral issues.
- If a pet you bring home from a rescue or shelter has a pre-existing health condition or develops a health condition shortly after you bring the animal home, the rescue or shelter you get your pet through may provide financial or medical support to help you deal with the situation.
- The Adoption Process: Questions to Ask Shelter Staff
- What questions should I ask when I adopt a dog?
- Top Reasons to Adopt a Pet
- Adopting from an Animal Shelter or Rescue Group
- AKC Rescue Network
- ASPCA Adoptable Pets in Your Area
- PetFinder Rescues & Shelters
- The Code of Ethics of AKC affiliated Breed Clubs discourages members from selling puppies to pet shops.
- With few exceptions, pet stores are one of the worst places to get an animal because they often get their pups from commercial breeding operations, nicknamed puppy mills. If you buy an animal from stores that support this type of commercial breeder, you’re helping to encourage this system to continue. If you want to help end the system, the better option is to get an animal through a rescue or organization whose mission is to save animals from these types of illegitimate businesses.
- Puppy mills and pet shops often do not properly socialize their puppies. Many pet shop puppies lack fresh air, exercise, play, and sufficient positive human contact, which help a puppy become well-adjusted.
- Pet shops usually do not provide full information on genetic disorders prevalent in certain breeds, or copies of documents such as Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) on the hips of both parents and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) on the eyes of both parents.
- Pet shop puppies typically come into contact with numerous animals at puppy mills and brokers’ holding facilities, during transportation, and at pet shops, often exposing them to illnesses and parasites. Transportation stress can make them more susceptible to disease.
- Pet shops do not take back and rehome dogs from customers who later realize they cannot or do not want to keep the dog for life.
- THERE IS HOPE THOUGH! Lots of pet stores have begun partnering with local rescues or shelters to host adoption days, which can be a great time to meet and greet with adoptable pets and fellow animal lovers while helping to change the way pet stores operate.
- Petco Foundation Events & Fundraising Campaigns
- A New Route to Adoption
- 10 Reasons Not to Buy Pet Store Puppies
- Myths About Pet Stores & Breeders
- The chilling reasons why you shouldn’t buy your pet from a pet store
- Good breeders want to personally interview and educate prospective owners of their carefully bred puppies. Similar to rescues, good breeders truly want to know the people they’re placing their animals with. If they ask what seem to be intrusive questions, don’t be put-off right away. It’s very likely a sign they’re simply responsible… though of course, use caution and common sense accordingly.
- It is illegal for a breeder to sell or give away a cat or dog under 8 weeks old. If you encounter a breeder selling animals younger than 8 weeks of age, contact Animal Control Services and report them.
- Breeders should know about the potentially genetic issues for the breeds they raise. In addition, if they don’t include paperwork confirming that you’ll receive a refund if any genetic defects or pre-existing diseases are found, beware of the breeder.
- Don’t make a decision based off a website alone. Plenty irresponsible breeders have good looking websites. Ask a local veterinarian first — good breeders bring their animals to the vet regularly.
- The Truth About Responsible Breeders
- What to Look for When Purchasing from a Breeder
- Cat Fancier’s Association – Breeder FAQs
- Thinking of buying a puppy? Find a responsible breeder
- Puppy Mill Red Flags – Don’t Be an Accidental Supporter
- How to find a responsible dog breeder
- How to find a responsible dog breeder (checklist)
Have you had your “wooooaaaah!” moment yet? It can seem like there’s a lot to consider when it comes to finding the right animal for you and your family. But, no fear! In our experience, the perfect ones have a way of finding their way to us (so long as we keep our eyes open) when the time is right.
If you’re ready to adopt an animal this February, come hang out with us! We’ll have plenty for you to meet. All the details are below!