Welcoming a new four-legged companion into your life is an exciting decision that will lead to years of joy and happiness. It can even be more rewarding if you decide to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue organization. Knowing what to ask on your visit to the shelter will arm you with important insights and help you pick the right pet for you and your family.
Here are 6 questions you should ask before adopting your pet. These questions are design to help you make the most informed decision that is best for you, your family and your new adopted family member.
1. What is the animal’s history? Find out how the dog or cat you are interested in wound up at the shelter. Was the pet found as a stray or did a previous owner surrender him? Understanding a dog or cat’s history will help prepare you for potential behavioral or training needs if you decide to bring the pet home.
2. Were behavior tests conducted? Most shelters and rescue organizations conduct basic behavior tests to assess whether or not a dog or cat should be put up for adoption. Find out what type of tests the shelter runs and request a breakdown of the results. This will help you to determine if any at home training needs will be required.
3. What kind of medical care did the pet receive? Shelters and rescues generally perform health checks on all pets before they are put up for adoption. You can expect the pet to be checked for heartworms, given all the necessary vaccines and thoroughly examined for any additional medical problems. Ask the shelter veterinarian or staff to explain whether the pet needs any specific medications or additional care that may be required
4: What is the timeline for adoption? Not all organizations handle the adoption timeline in the same way. Some shelters allow you to take a dog or cat home the same day you fill out the application while other rescues and facilities have a longer vetting process that require potential adoptees to bring in other pets and family members for meet and greets before the adoption gets approved. Don’t forget to inquire about the timeline and set your expectations accordingly.
5. What fees can I expect to pay? Adoption fees vary from shelter to shelter and are not the same for all pets, puppies and kittens usually have higher adoption fees from other pets at the shelter. Popular breeds may also fetch higher fees. Make sure you clearly understand the fees and what they cover before signing an adoption agreement.
6: What food is the pet eating? Before bringing a dog or cat home, find out what type of food the shelter is feeding. Ask the staff or your veterinarian for information about the nutritional value of the pet food and decide whether or not you’ll continue feeding the same type of food at home. If you do want to switch pet foods ask a veterinarian for advice on transitioning to a new food to avoid the possibility of gastrointestinal upset. Vets can also council you on the best food for the pets life stage and lifestyle.