Like we need extra motivation to adopt a shelter dog, right? As dog-people, we may only need a nudge and next thing you know, we are shopping shelter dogs. But for those who are on the fence, Adopt A Dog Month is a time of year set aside, since 1981 by American Humane, as a way to encourage potential guardians to give adoption serious consideration.
For 32-years, October has been a month for shelter dogs to find forever homes. Many have discovered the power of the human-animal bond and the satisfaction of becoming a fur-baby’s hero. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind as you shop for the perfect pup for your household and family as well as ways to celebrate Adopt A Dog Month.
Adopting? Know Before You Go
The mantra of any good planner, “Know Before You Go” is a great way to remind ourselves that getting a new fur-baby is no small thing. There’s plenty to consider, but this list can help anyone set up realistic expectations as they embark on the search during adopt a dog month.
- Always choose a shelter or rescue organization. Practices in pet stores and some breeders are often profit-centric, rather than dog-centric, resulting in unfortunate practices, such as puppy mills and the discarding of puppies that aren’t ideal enough for the breeder to sell at a high price. Choose an organization that supports the best interests of the millions of dogs already in need of safe, caring forever-homes.
- Always choose a shelter that’s clean and professional. Staff should be friendly and knowledgeable about their resident’s behavior. If dogs aren’t being treated well in the facility, it can mask behaviors we would want to try and detect during our playtime or walk interview. A good shelter will not add to the dog’s trauma or fear, allowing their personality to show.
- Want a designer dog? No problem. There are breed-specific rescue organizations that specialize in a variety of favorite breeds. And don’t forget, choosing a mixed breed from a shelter can result, and has resulted, in millions of incredibly happy families. Adopt a dog month is about matching the right family with the right dog. So, seeking breed-specific rescue organizations is perfect for those of us who know what our household and lifestyle are like and already know the breed who will be the best fit.
- Think about the needs of the household and the family. Young children, protection, snuggles, therapy and companionship, active, or quiet? Every household is different and we should keep this in mind as we talk to shelter volunteers and interview potential pets. It will help us make a decision based on who is the best fit, rather than just picking a pup based on the cuteness factor – which, let’s face it, it a pretty strong distraction.
- Think about the needs of the breeds. Will there be long days spent alone while we are at work? Is this apartment living or a home with a big backyard that Fido will have full access to? Or is this something in between. Some breeds are smart and active, requiring mental stimulation and exercise. Other breeds like to sleep 20 hours a day. Household and family needs are important, but breed needs matter!
- A new dog can be a wonderful gift and an exciting new companion to play with, but dogs don’t show emotions the same way people do. Even though they may be playful and fun, they may also be experiencing anxiety as they adjust to their new home and cope with whatever happened before. Using an all natural blend of calming ingredients can help soothe Fido’s nevers whithout making him foggy-headed. We recommend EcoBalance Calming Extra-Strength Liquid.
- Have questions ready for the staff. We can’t know a rescue’s entire history, but the staff should know whether they are a local pup or one handed over by a rescue operation. Ask whether there have been any behavioral issues. And ask about vaccinations, potty training, leash training, anything that will help the family prepare, mentally and otherwise, to train and welcome this newest family member.
- Plan on having EcoBug available to clear the newcomer of any pests they have been exposed to at the shelter as well as keep them clear of pests at home. It’s a powerful formula that repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. It’s also non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals that can make dogs feel sick. Most homes in the U.S. have to deal with these pests year-round and ALL homes have these bugs at some point each year. Plan ahead and use something gentle on dogs, but powerful against pests.
- Have ‘welcome home’ supplies ready. A few toys and a place to sleep should already be thought out and in place. Sleeping location can change and evolve later, but the first few nights will be confusing and uncertain for everyone, especially the newcomer. Having a safe-zone, such as a bed, and a few new belongings, like toys, can provide safety and security during the adjustment phase.
- Have the right food and basic grooming supplies ready. Having the right food can make a huge difference. Our new family pup is already dealing with anxiety. We don’t need to compound that multiple dietary changes or commercial food that may not settle well. EcoEats is vet-approved, dehydrated whole foods that is easy on digestion and actually tastes great for dogs.
Every dog deserves a safe, comfortable forever-home. And every home deserves the joy and companionship of a loyal canine companion. Follow some of these basic adoption tips for adopt a dog month and the Goldilocks search for the perfect pup will help connect the “just right” dog with the “just right” forever-home.