If you’re looking to bring a new dog or cat into your family, the good news is there is no shortage of either. Once you start searching, you will likely realize the opposite is actually true—an overabundance of dogs and cats exists. It’s a serious problem.
Some people are particular about breed and temperament, especially when it comes to dogs, and this may lead them to believe purchasing from a breeder is the best option. However, there are some important consequences to be aware of when buying from a breeder as opposed to adopting from a shelter.
Each year, approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 millions are cats. 2.7 million of those animals are euthanized each year because shelters are overcrowded and there aren’t enough adoptive homes.
If the above statistics aren’t enough to persuade you to adopt your next pet from a shelter, here are seven more reasons which might:
1.) Purebred dogs of nearly every breed imaginable find their way to shelters. So if you’re looking for a certain breed, chances are, you can find it at a local shelter.
2.) You can adopt a shelter pet of any age. For those who don’t want to deal with the “puppy or kitten stage”, you can easily bypass it by adopting an older animal.
3.) Along those same lines, many shelter animals are already house-trained and socialized. A common myth about shelter pets is that they’ve ended up where they are due to “bad behavior” or have been rescued from abuse. The majority, however, are relinquished to shelters due to financial reasons, divorce, lack of pet-friendly housing, or because their owners can simply no longer care for them.
4.) Adopting a shelter animal is much more affordable than buying from a breeder or pet store. Though there is usually an adoption fee, you’re actually getting more bang for your buck since many shelters spay and neuter animals before adopting them out. Additionally, many rescue pets are vaccinated and some are even microchipped which can save the new owners quite a bit of money.
5.) Believe it or not, shelter animals tend to be healthier than breeder animals. Most shelter pets undergo full physicals after they are taken in, and shelter staff work hard to ensure animals are in good health before they are ready to be adopted by a new family. According to the ASPCA, puppy mills may sell animals which carry diseases ranging from parasites to pneumonia.
6.) Many shelters offer ongoing support of some kind. This could be training classes, behavioral support lines, or more. Breeders do not typically offer the same kind of support.
7.) When adopting a shelter dog or cat, you’re not just saving one life, but two—the life of the pet you adopt and also the one that will be taken in by the shelter because of the newly opened space.
If you already have an adopted shelter pet, kudos to you! If not, please consider adopting rather than shopping next time you’re searching for a furry companion. Also remember that spaying and neutering your pets is one of the most important things you can do to avoid adding to the overwhelming number of unwanted pets in our country.