We have a dog in the family. Actually, it is my wife’s dog, one that was a birthday present for her a few years ago. But no doubt about it, he is her dog, and I now know my true place in the family. We got him from a registered breeder, one who we checked out ahead of time. But it is possible to get just as good a dog from your local dog pound or animal shelter if you follow a few simple steps.
Choosing a dog from an animal shelter should be a rewarding experience for the entire family. With good care and a little luck, you will likely have this dog for 12 to 15 years — so it’s important to think carefully about choosing the dog that’s right for you.
- Contact the shelter and schedule an appointment with an adoption counselor. She will know what dogs are available and which will match your lifestyle.
- Consult a veterinarian about medical conditions common to certain breeds, or research breeds on the Internet or at the library.
- Compile information and questions, grab the entire family and head for the shelter.
- Request a shelter tour, visiting the wards and exercise areas. Clean, comfortable and odor-free conditions indicate quality care for the animals.
- Observe all dogs for signs of respiratory disease. Coughing generally indicates kennel cough, a highly contagious but treatable infection.
- Ask if all dogs have been examined by a veterinarian or animal technician, started on a vaccination program and given medication to remove intestinal parasites.
- Select the dog of your choice and take him to the exercise area to play and interact with your family. Any sign of aggression is grounds for immediate rejection.
- Allow the dog to run on and off leash. Watch closely for signs of pain or reluctance to jump or turn quickly, which may indicate developing arthritis.
- Make an appointment with your veterinarian soon after adoption. Follow the veterinarian’s advice and complete the vaccination, worming and preventive heath care protocol.
Large dogs, especially purebreds, commonly have hip dysplasia, an inherited, debilitating osteoarthritis of the hip joints that greatly reduces quality of life. Any sign of pain during exercise should make you suspicious. All diseases have an incubation period, so a healthy-looking dog may get sick three to five days after adoption. Be sure the shelter has a policy that allows you to return dogs that develop a serious illness within that time.
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[tags]dog kennel,dog collars,dog training,dog breed,dog adoption,dog information,dog health,dog kennels,dog care,dog breeds[/tags]