VCA Animal Hospitals

Picking out a dog to adopt

Published: Sep 18, 2012

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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 PetFinder.com, 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.

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