Dogs For Adoption: How To Find The Right Animal Shelter

A brother and sister are visiting the pound with a volunteer from the animal shelter and are petting a dog.

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If you’re trying to adopt a dog, it can be difficult to know where to start. You might try searching for “dogs for adoption” online and come up with way too many results and no way of knowing which ones are legitimate.

There may be animal shelters near you with dogs for adoption, but how do you know which shelters are honest, helpful, and willing to go through the effort to make sure their dogs end up in safe and loving homes? What are the benefits of finding dogs through animal shelters?

Here’s what you should know about which shelter to choose when you look for dogs to adopt.

Questions To Ask When Looking For Dogs At Animal Shelters

Family at an animal shelter

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When looking for dogs available through animal shelters, you should do a little bit of research into the animal shelters you find and ask several questions.

Some animal shelters are no-kill shelters, meaning they do not needlessly euthanize dogs that are available for adoption. Instead, they work to find homes, fosters, or rescue groups for the dogs in their care.

You may wish to support these shelters, first, if that’s important to you, so be sure to ask about it.

You should also ask what’s included in your adoption fee. Adoption fees often cover vaccinations and spaying or neutering. They also exist to make sure that dogs up for adoption aren’t taken by people who want to use them in dog fighting rings, which often happens when dogs are given up for free.

Sometimes shelters will have special deals where adoption fees are waived, discounted, or sponsored, but they should still go through the steps of performing background checks and detailed application processes.

The shelter should be able to provide you with paperwork on the dog’s history, including medical information. Some shelters provide the animals in their care with socialization training, house breaking, and training for basic commands.

You should find out if the shelter has provided any of these services and see what they recommend for continued training once you bring your dog home.

As a final measure, check with others who have adopted from the shelter to see what they have to say. Look for online reviews and ask any of your friends who have dogs about which shelter they chose.

Take advice from people who have gone through the adoption process firsthand so there are no surprises.

Questions The Animal Shelter Should Ask You

abandoned dog locked in a cage

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Animal shelters should perform background checks on potential adopters and require applications. This is to make sure that dogs go to safe homes that will provide the right kind of care. Make sure the shelter you’re considering goes through these important steps.

The application you’ll need to fill out will include several questions. You’ll need to provide proof of age and residence, your history of pet ownership along with vet records and licensing, and possibly a photo ID among other requirements.

Some shelters have a more involved application process than others. Many shelters have a waiting period after you fill out the application before you can bring your dog home. Some even have a trial period to make sure the dog is right for you.

You’ll probably also need to sign a contract stating that you’re willing to pay costs associated with the dog, that you’ll provide adequate care, that you’re allowed to have a dog in your home, especially if you have a landlord, and that you will return the dog to the shelter if you cannot provide care among other stipulations.

The Benefits Of Finding Dogs For Adoption Through Animal Shelters

Homeless dog behind bars in an animal shelter

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There are tons of benefits when it comes to adopting dogs from the shelter.

First, when you choose a dog from the shelter, you’re likely to have a wide variety to pick from. Shelters will allow you to interact with dogs to make sure you find a pup you’ll get along with.

Adopting from shelters helps dogs that may face euthanasia if they go unwanted. Millions of animals are put down in shelters every year.

Taking a dog home from a shelter doesn’t just save one life. It frees up resources so the shelter can provide for another dog in need, which reduces the number of animals that are euthanized.

When you adopt from the shelter, you’re actually getting a very good deal. The adoption fee usually covers vaccinations and spaying or neutering, which can get expensive if you pay on your own.

Adoption fees are significantly less expensive than buying a dog from a breeder. You’re also given information about the dog’s medical history, and usually you will be provided with details about their personality and behavior.

The trial period that many shelters offer can be beneficial, too. You can be confident knowing that you made the right choice, and if something doesn’t work out, the shelter will take the dog back and look for a more appropriate home for them.

There are a lot more benefits to looking for dogs for adoption through an animal shelter, but if you’re ready to start looking now, you can check our adoption page that lets you search for dogs by breed and area code, so you can find a pup in need near you who’s looking for a loving home.

Have you adopted from an animal shelter before? What would you recommend to someone looking for dogs to adopt? Let us know in the comments below!