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10 Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Dog

Updated 02/28/2024 – When we think of October we tend to think about cooler temperatures and shorter days. However for the millions of dogs that are in shelters right now, the only thing on their mind is the hope of a better life.

For this reason the ASPCA has chosen October to be Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.  The goal is to bring people’s attention to the 3.3 million dogs that enter shelters each year. It would be a great victory if these dogs could find a home this year.

Maybe you could open your heart and home to one of them?

If you are unsure if you should adopt a shelter dog, please read on. We have gathered 10 reasons why you should adopt a shelter dog this month.

10 Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Dog

1. You Will Save a Life, Maybe Two

By adopting a shelter dog, you will save their life. You may even save two lives. The life of the dog you adopted and the life of the dog that took their place. Did you know that each year 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized (390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats)?

2. You Will Get a Healthy Pet

It is a common misconception that shelter dogs have something wrong with them. Most shelter dogs are healthy and ready to start a new life. Unlike dogs bought at pet stores, shelters and rescue groups will examine the dogs in their care before they are placed for adoption. They may also screen the dogs for aggression and behavioral issues. If a dog has a known medical issue you are told about it prior to adoption.

3. You Will Save Money

When compared to the cost of buying a dog from a breeder you will save money. Adoption fees are much lower than your average breeder cost. Plus you will get a dog that has been examined, is up to date on vaccines, spayed or neutered and microchipped all for a low cost adopt fee.

4. You Can Adopt an Adult Dog

You can generally only purchase puppies from a breeder. Once a breeder’s puppy is considered too old to sell they are (hopefully) released to local shelters or rescue groups. But not everyone wants a puppy. Puppies can take up a lot of your time and need to be trained. At a shelter you can find dogs of all ages. We found our current dog as a puppy at a Humane Society and we found our previous purebred dog as an adult in a local city shelter.

5. Dogs May Already be Trained

Adult dogs or older puppies may already be trained when you adopt them. When we adopted our 5 year old Golden Retriever he was fully housetrained and knew all the basic commands. All we needed to do was reinforce what he had already learned. As a working couple it was a great relief not to have to worry about him being destructive or going in the house when we were not home.

6. Dogs Make Us Healthier

According to a Harvard paper, owning a dog is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Several studies have shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure than non-dog owners. Although there is not a clear cause and effect relationship, it may be due to the pet effect. Several studies show that a person’s blood pressure goes down when they pet a dog.

7. Dogs Make Us More Active

Just like us, dogs need to be active to be healthy. But unlike us, dogs don’t make excuses as to why they skipped a run. In fact they will come looking for you to take them for a walk or play a game of fetch. So it is no surprise that a study published in 2017 found that senior citizens who lived with a dog walked 23 minutes more than their dog less counterparts.

8. Dogs Are Good For Your Mental Health

Dogs have a calming effect on our emotional and social well-being. This is why hospitals around the world use therapy dogs to help patients cope with serious illness and improve their mental health.

9. You Will Support a Charity

When you adopt from a shelter you are supporting a not-for-profit organization. These not-for-profits rely on the adoption fee and donations from supports to pay the medical and housing expenses of future rescues.

10. You Will Help Put Puppy Mills Out of Business

The last thing anyone wants to do is support a puppy mill.   Puppy mills are known for their inhumane treatment of dogs and mass breeding of puppies.  Puppy Mills do not care about the health of their dogs nor do they keep track of their breeding. This results in sick puppies and dogs with long term health issues. Puppy Mills can hide who they are by selling their puppies through pet stores, on the internet or through local advertisements. Because of these tactics, people may be unaware that they are buying from a puppy mill. But, if you chose to adopt a shelter dog you are guaranteed that you are not putting money into the hands of the Puppy Mill owners.

To learn more about puppy mills and what you can do to stop them read the Humane Society of the United States’ paper on Get the Facts on Puppy Mills.

Are You Ready to Adopt a Shelter Dog?

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