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You’re ready to add a new pet to the family, which means you are likely busy researching what supplies you’ll need, the best size and breed for your family, and all the other logistics that accompany life with a pet.
Adopting a dog or cat can bring much love, joy, and companionship into your life. Becoming a pet parent has been shown to positively impact human health, including reducing stress, improving heart health, and boosting mood. One study found that dog parents walked an average of an hour more per week than others, improving their cardiovascular health.
For seniors, a pet gives them a sense of purpose, helps ease loneliness, and helps with socialization. Just try to take a cute dog for a walk and not engage in conversations with strangers. For children, pets teach responsibility, life skills, and compassion and can even provide allergy resistance.
Where you plan to find your new pet is a key decision. Adopting a shelter or rescue pet, rather than buying from a pet store or breeder, should be a strong consideration, and here’s why:
1. You may be saving an animal’s life
Many shelters are overrun, especially now as people are returning pandemic pets that they can’t afford or don’t have time for. Shelters are often forced to euthanize pets that are not adopted. Pets also become bored and anxious when kept in a shelter for a long period. Senior pets are especially in need of a home. And by removing an animal from a shelter, you are making space for another pet in need.
2. It’s less expensive in two ways
While adoption fees can vary from $100 to $400, it’s usually going to be much less than buying a pet, especially a pure breed, which can run into the thousands. And those adoption fees include spay/neuter surgeries, microchipping and vaccinations. This means you don’t have to worry about vet visits right away and instead can take them home and enjoy getting to know your new pal.
If you are adopting a mixed breed dog, it could also save you a lot on vet bills, as mutts tend to have fewer congenital or hereditary conditions. That’s also why pet insurance premiums tend to be lower for mixed breeds.
3. You can often find pure breeds at shelters and rescue organizations too
If you have your heart set on a specific pure breed, you aren’t limited to a breeder or pet store. In fact, you can find many purebred dogs at shelters, rescues, or from people trying to rehome a pet. According to Best Friends Sanctuary, about 25% – 30% of dogs in shelters are purebred. Some of these dogs have been rescued from inhumane breeding facilities or “puppy mills,” and others are surrendered by their families. Many rescues also specialize in saving a specific breed of dog or cat. You can use petfinder.com to find the breed you are seeking.
4. Puppy mills don’t deserve your support
Almost all pet store puppies and many dogs sold online come from puppy mills or backyard breeders. Puppy mills are inhumane, and the people who run them are not responsible breeders. Many puppy mill dogs have health issues because of bad breeding practices and poor living conditions. Sometimes dogs are forced to give birth to multiple litters, which causes serious health problems for the mother. By purchasing a dog from a pet store, you only encourage puppy mills to continue. If it’s important to you to buy from a breeder, some are responsible and treat pets well. You should always visit the breeder to see the conditions of their facility and how they treat the dogs. A responsible breeder usually will take back a dog if it doesn’t work out. The American Kennel Club has a directory of responsible breeders.
5. Rescued dogs and cats make wonderful pets
Shelters usually assess dogs and cats for health and behavioral issues, and they come spayed, neutered, and vaccinated. Another perk is that many rescue dogs already have basic obedience training under their belts. And it’s hard to say what animals think, but many pet parents of formerly homeless pets say they believe their pooch or kitty knows you rescued them, and they show gratitude by being extra cuddly and well-behaved.
6. Most rescue pets are potty trained
Unless you are adopting a young kitten or puppy, your new pet is likely to already be housetrained. This means you won’t need to worry about taking them out every 1-2 hours and cleaning up accidents.
7. Older pet’s temperaments are known
Pets that have aged past the “baby” stage of their lives have established their personalities. This makes it easier to find one that matches with your lifestyle, whether you want a pet with a slower pace of life vs. one that will accompany you on activities; or pets that are especially cuddly vs. those that prefer their space.
When you are ready to welcome a new pet into your home, consider adopting from a shelter or rescue. You will find a loving companion, save money, and, most importantly, provide a home for a pet who may not have another chance to live or leave the shelter.
Once you’ve found and adopted your new companion, consider enrolling in pet insurance. Accidents and illnesses are common, whether it’s a pure breed or a mixed breed, and an unexpected vet trip can really put a dent in your wallet. With pet insurance, you can save up to 90% on vet bills. And with every free quote for pet insurance, Healthy Paws Foundation donates towards a homeless pet’s medical care. Get your quote today.