Tips for Adopting a Shelter Pet

Welcoming a new pet at home is very exciting for the whole family but it also takes some preparation and work when you adopt a shelter pet. Caring for a pet is more than just giving them food, water, and shelter. There are things you need to know to be able to bring home the perfect pet in your home.

If you’re planning to adopt a shelter pet, here are some tips about what to do before, during, and after adopting a pet.

Before Adopting a Shelter Pet

Shelter Pet

Adopting a pet is a big decision because it means that you’re taking the responsibility of caring for an animal for the rest of his life. Before taking on that responsibility, here are the things you should consider first.

  • Make sure your family members want a pet as well: This is important because owning a pet can affect many parts of family life. For example, on deciding who would take the puppy out for a walk, on who would feed him, and more. Since the pet will be part of your family, it’s also important that you discuss with them the kind, size, and personality of the pet you’ll be choosing.
  • Research: To be able to know what type of pet best fit your family’s lifestyle, doing research can help. Research about the needs of each breed as well as the budget needed for them such as vaccination fees, license fees, and pet supplies. For example, if you and your family are outgoing, Jack Russel Terriers can be great for you because they have a lot of energy. But if your family doesn’t go out much, a pug can be a great choice.
  • Check out the shelter before visiting it in person: Most pet shelters today have websites where you can see all the animals they have. You can check out the animals they have online and see if you will be able to like one. It’s easier to choose that way because walking-in a shelter and seeing lots of furry animals can be overwhelming.
  • Check the requirements: Once you’ve chosen the perfect pet to adopt, make sure to check all the requirements needed. This will help you avoid delays in adopting your pet. Some of the requirements are leases or proof of residency and vet references if you’ve owned a pet before. Home or apartment renters, as well as homeowners, should also know if they have any pet restrictions.
  • Prepare your home: You should also prepare your home for your new pet just like preparing for a new baby. Make sure your home is safe for your new pet by keeping the valuables out of their reach. Remove vertical blinds, pooling drapery, ornate tassels, and long cords because these can be strangulation hazards. If you have plants at home, check if they are not poisonous to animals.

You can also buy the essential supplies needed before you bring home your new pet such as a leash, toys, a crate or bed, and others. This will help you save time and hassle when you bring your adopted pet home.

During the Adoption


Once you and your family have decided to adopt a pet and you’ve chosen the best one for you, it’s time to visit the shelter to see your soon to be pet. Here are some things you should do while you’re at the shelter.

  • If you have a pet at home, bring it to the shelter: Some shelters require families to bring their recent pet to the shelter for a meet-and-greet with the potential new pet. This will help ensure that the two animals will not have any conflicts.
  • Check your chemistry with the shelter pet, too: Your heart may be set for a certain cat or dog breed but this does not mean that you will automatically get well with them. Keep an open mind when looking for a pet and choose the one who has chemistry with you and your family.
  • Ask questions: It’s important to ask questions about your chosen shelter pet. This will help you know about their health history or the story behind why they ended up in a shelter. The information you’ll get will guide you on how you should take care of your pet once you bring him home.
  • Bring the requirements needed:  If you’ve prepared the paperwork needed ahead of time, don’t forget to bring it when you visit the shelter. Once you have all the needed requirements, you’ll be able to bring your adopted pet at home that same day.

At Home After the Adoption

Once you bring home your adopted pet, here are the things you should consider for you and your family to have fun and harmonious time with him.

  • Set limitations for your new pet: For the first few days, limit your new pet to one room or area. This will allow him to be familiar with the smell and sound of his new home. If your new pet is shy, you can leave him alone first until he becomes familiar with the new place.

You can also keep him on a leash for the first week for you to be able to teach him the behaviors that are acceptable and not acceptable but never leave a leash on your pet when he’s unsupervised.

  • Go to a training class: Pets like dogs and cats are not always easy to teach and train. This is why taking an obedience class can help teach an animal the proper way to behave while creating a bond with you and your family. Ensuring your pet is healthy and happy will give everyone at home good time.
  • Keep in touch with the shelter: You can continue asking questions to the shelter when some issues with your adopted pet arise. It’s also important to keep up-to-date with your vet so they can answer your health-related queries and give vaccinations.

Aside from asking questions, you can also send pictures to the shelter to updated them on how he’s doing in his new home. This will ensure them that the animal went to the right family. Say thanks to them as well for all the hard work they’ve done for your shelter pet.

If It’s Not a Good Fit

There are times that the new pet and the new owner doesn’t get along well after the adoption. If this is the case, you should accept it and talk to the shelter about returning the pet. This is a better decision than keeping it because it will just be a burden for you and for the animal as well. Though this is a disappointing thing, you could always find another pet you can adopt which might fit you better.

Having a pet at home is truly wonderful and it’s a joy to the whole family. We hope these tips will help you find and adopt the best shelter pet.