Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; and there is no better way to celebrate than to help a sheltered dog find a forever home. Pet adoption isn't for everyone though - it will require dedication, patience, time and care. 

Each year, approximately 7 million homeless cats and dogs are brought into animal shelters and rescue centers waiting to be put up for adoption. Out of the several million stray animals, about 1.5 million are euthanized in U.S. shelters because nobody wanted them. It's time to make that number 0!

Shelter dogs may have been abandoned or abused by previous owners. They may feel anxious around new people or unsteady around children. They may get stressed out in a new environment. Here are a few things to keep in-mind when it's time to adopt a shelter dog and bring it home:

  • It will take time for the dog to become acclimated with the new home. Remain calm and quiet and help the dog navigate around the new surroundings. 
  • If you are bringing home a puppy, begin training the dog basic commands; and begin potty-training. Do not use potty pads, as this encourages dogs to do their business indoors. Adopting older dogs eliminates these early-stage puppy concerns!

"Adopting an older dog can be amazing!," says Cera Smith,  volunteer coordinator at the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley. "You get a dog that is generally already house trained and probably calmer than a puppy." Many dogs can live to be 17 years old or more and have a lot of life to live, so never be discouraged by the "senior" label.

  • The dog will be nervous around people. Ask your friends and family to proceed with caution and help the dog feel loved. No sudden movements for the first 30 days until the dog becomes familiar with new faces.
  • When you pick up the dog from the animal humane society, ask a staff member when the dog was last fed. Follow that regular schedule as best you can with healthy dog food options. 
  • Remember to ID the new dog. Make sure a dog collar is on the dog at all times to avoid losing the dog. Insert a microchip in the dog, if you feel it's necessary.
  • If you encounter behavioral issues with the dog, consult a vet or dog trainer for advice on how to approach the matter.
  • You can't stay home with your dog forever. Help them get used to staying at home alone by putting on soft music to sooth them.
  • Invest in an outdoor dog enclosure; so, your new dog can play with new friends and exercise. Remember, exercise keeps dogs lean and reduces the risk of pet obesity in dogs.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 45 percent of dogs are classified as overweight or obese in the United States.
  • When it comes to new, adopted dogs, prepare for anything. Do your research on the dog breed; and learn about ailments and prone diseases.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #AdoptaShelterDog; and celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month with

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