VCA Animal Hospitals

Picking out a dog to adopt

Published: Sep 18, 2012

Back to News

If you've made the decision to adopt a canine companion, you'll need to do some research to help find the right dog for you and your family. Adopting a dog is an excellent way to help a canine in need while also bringing in a fun and loving new member of the family. Those who are adopting for the first time may be wondering how to go about the process, so here are some tips for your first dog adoption.

Finding an adoption center

Picking out an adoption center can be a challenging experience, but luckily the internet is here to help. Most urban areas have nearby dog adoption facilities, and those living outside of cities should be able to find one in your area. If you have friends who have had a successful experience adopting a dog, ask them which center they used, and consider paying a visit to the same place.

You may also want to look into pet fostering opportunities. Many people choose to foster pets until they can find full-time owners. There are many websites, like, that help connect foster parents with potential owners.

Interacting with the canines

When you visit a pet adoption facility, you'll likely have an opportunity to meet a few canines that could be a good match for you and your family. Remember that dogs living in shelters can often be frightened or timid, so you need to be extra cautious. Don't write off shyness or fear as dog aggression. Instead, try to introduce yourself slowly to the dog you're interacting with, giving him plenty of time to sniff your hand and acclimate to your presence. If the dog isn't interacting well, it may be time to ask to see a different canine.

Speaking with a vet

Before you adopt your dog, you'll want to speak to a veterinary expert about any potential pet health problems you may encounter with a new, adopted dog. Knowing kennel cough symptoms and other illnesses dogs may pick up in a shelter setting will help you make sure your new canine is healthy when he first comes home with you.

You'll also want to ask the adoption agency or foster parent about the dog's medical history. If your dog does have health issues, you'll need to know about them early on, so you can take measures for regular treatment if necessary.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

Find a VCA General Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.