Adopt A Shelter Dog Month: Top Tips on Adopting Your Dog
Dogs are truly extraordinary animals. They are one of the few creatures that can create and sustain deep and intimate bonds with humans. Dogs have been found to exhibit a high level of social intelligence and emotional sensitivity. This, as well as their cute and furry looks, have made them some of the most popular pets. However, each year, millions of dogs are neglected and abandoned and find themselves in the streets alone and helpless. They are exposed to harsh elements and often go for days without food and water. Without the support and care of people, these dogs undergo challenging situations, with some of them ultimately dying.
If lucky, these pets end up in welfare organizations and municipal animal shelters. However, most are often euthanized if they are too weak, sick, or are aggressive. In a bid to address this issue and help reduce overpopulation in shelters, October was named Adopt-a-dog month.
Apart from companionship, dogs provide a wide range of other benefits to their owners. Below is a look at some compelling reasons why you should consider getting a dog.
Benefits of getting a dog
– Increased exercise
Having a dog helps to keep you fit and active. Adults are recommended to get at least two and a half hours worth of exercise each week. Dog owners are four times more likely to hit this target. Taking your dog for a 30-minute walk every morning or evening does more for your health than you might think. Walking a dog also helps dog owners significantly cut down excess weight.
– Reduced stress levels
Stroking, patting, or taking a dog for a walk has been found to reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure levels. Studies have shown that having a dog lowers stress by affecting the levels of certain hormones in the body. It increases the levels of dopamine and serotonin, two hormones responsible for calmness and wellbeing. Interacting with dogs also helps to reduce the levels of norepinephrine and epinephrine hormones, which are associated with stress.
– Improved social life
Numerous studies have found that dog owners are more likely to make new friends than the average person. Dogs are great conversation starters, and people will often bring up conversations about your animal friend. It is estimated that 4 in every dog owners talk with other dog owners during walks.
– Improved heart health
Numerous studies have found that spending time with your pet companion helps to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. These factors help in improving general heart health. These studies have also found that dog-owners have better chances of surviving heart attacks than individuals without dogs.
Benefits of getting a shelter dog
While many people prefer buying a dog from a breeder or pet store, there are many compelling reasons why you should consider a shelter dog.
– Unconditional love
A shelter dog will be much more appreciative of the love and attention that you provide them. Most of these dogs have gone through a tough life, and giving them a wonderful life full of everything that they need, from love, attention, companionship, food, warmth, and even training, will bring out the best of them.
– Helps to save a life
Rescue dogs are usually in desperate need of a great and loving home. By adopting from a shelter, you help provide a home and a second chance to a dog that really needs it. Additionally, it helps to ease the burden on shelters that are often overpopulated. By doing this, the shelters will be able to offer better care and attention to the remaining dogs.
– Gives you a sense of fulfillment
There is no better feeling than knowing that you have helped save a life and helped it grow and flourish.
Questions to ask the shelter before you adopt
i) What is the history of the dog?
First, you need to find out where the dog came from, whether it was rescued from the streets or surrendered by the owner. This will help you to find out if the dog has some behavioral issues that you need to be aware of.
ii) Is the dog housebroken?
Obviously, the last thing you want is bringing home your new dog and see it urinating and defecating all over the place. This is why it is important to find out if it is house-trained or not. This way, you will be able to properly prepare for it or choose another dog.
iii) Has the dog been neutered?
Neutering your pet is not only a legal requirement in most places, but it is also beneficial for both you and the dog.
iv) Does the dog have any medical conditions
While you may want a dog with a clean bill of health, this isn’t always the case. Some dogs may have long-term medical conditions requiring extensive care. It is always important crucial to ask this before adopting any dog.
v) Does the dog have any behavioral issues
Considering that most of these dogs have had to survive in some stressful and horrific circumstances, they may exhibit aggressive and unusual behaviors. While proper training can help to resolve such issues, it is helpful to know this beforehand.
vi) How much is the adoption fee
You should keep in mind that adoption fees tend to vary depending on factors such as the age of the dog, health status, and popularity of the breed. You need to ask this in advance to know whether you can afford the dog.