Adopting a Shelter Dog?
Are you thinking of adopting a shelter dog but wondering if it’s the best choice for you? Adopting a dog offers many benefits to both you and the dog that might not have crossed your mind. Saving a dog from a shelter is beneficial for both body and soul and literally saves a life. Here are just a handful of the benefits of saving a shelter dog:
- Supporting your community
So many dogs end up in shelters at no fault of their own. Some dogs are removed from their home due to neglect and some are surrendered willingly to a shelter due to the inability to care for them or lack of interest in trying. Other dogs, sadly, are surrendered after a caregiver is no longer physically able to care for them due to death or illness.
Most dogs can lead happy, healthy lives once they are given the proper training and support. However, many people think that owning a dog will be easy. It can sometimes be work to train and get them adjusted to a new home. When things don’t turn out as easy as expected, people often leave the dog somewhere or surrender it. No matter the reason a dog is in a shelter, it’s usually not because the dog did anything wrong or is “bad”, they just found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Unfortunately, since so many dogs wind up in shelters, the shelters can quickly become overwhelmed. This can become a burden on the community, as most shelters operate on donations from caring individuals and grants from the government.
Shelters can only handle so many animals at once. If there are too many dogs on the street, the local government must utilize tax dollars to fund animal control to pick them up. If the animal control centers are full and there are no available openings at a shelter, the dogs are often euthanized.
By adopting from a shelter, you are helping the community to better support dogs in need. If the shelter is not at capacity, they are better able to provide and care for the dogs they do have by offering a higher staff-to-dog ratio. This also leaves the shelter with more funding to provide additional training and better facilities for the animals in their care. By adopting a dog from a reputable shelter, you are helping prevent the unnecessary euthanization of perfectly healthy, lovable animals in your community and preventing strain on those in the community who care for them.
- Boost in physical health
Adopting a dog may offer some surprising physical benefits for both people and dogs. Did you know that owning a dog might actually boost your immune system? Studies are finding that dog owners have a higher functioning immune system than non-dog owners.
Dogs have no worry about germs and bacteria, as anyone who has been around one will know. They will eat or lick most anything. Believe it or not, not all germs and bacteria are bad, and your dog exposing you to them is actually good for you. Researchers are now finding that when our dogs pick up these microbes on their adventures, they are bringing them back to us and providing us with a healthier microbiome, essentially acting as a probiotic. In return, our bodies become better at tolerating things that might otherwise make us sick, cutting down on rates of illnesses like asthma and allergies, especially in children.
Owning a dog keeps you in better physical shape overall. Dogs require regular exercise to stay healthy. If you are walking a dog each day, it will do wonders for your health and theirs. Even if you aren't going far, any exercise is better than no exercise, but the more, the better. This extra cardio can also do wonders for your heart health by decreasing cholesterol and blood pressure and will help the dog to stay in shape along with you.
Although shelters do their best to fully exercise every dog, some require more than others. Having a loving owner who can meet their individual physical needs is the ideal for every dog.
Another potential health benefit of adopting a dog is that especially intelligent shelter dogs can be trained to pick up on underlying health concerns. If you suffer from diabetes or seizures, a shelter dog can sometimes be trained by a specialist to help you keep better tabs on your disorder and help you detect future catastrophic health events.
- Improved mental health
One of the greatest benefits of adopting a dog is the mental health benefits you and your future pup will gain. Dogs are proven to increase oxytocin in humans, so having a dog around will naturally make you happier.
Not only that but having a dog around helps with loneliness. A dog’s presence can make you feel useful, needed, and loved. You always have a built-in companion to talk to, if needed.
If you are suffering from depression, dogs can offer you a renewed sense of purpose. When you have your beloved dog depending on you, you feel obligated to do things that you might otherwise put off if you were on your own. You are more likely to get out of bed, which can be the first step on the path to a good day.
Dogs help with anxiety, too. Dogs are often taken to senior care homes because of the joy and comfort they bring to the residents. They will have the same effect on you. Dogs seem to have an innate sense of knowing when you need a pick-me-up and will be there for a kiss or a cuddle when you need it most. With proper training, they can receive special certification to be used as an emotional support animal, supporting your mental wellbeing during events that would otherwise trigger a mental health lapse.
The presence of a loving owner will improve a dog’s mental health, too. Dogs want nothing more than to please you and make you happy. When you give them love, nothing makes them happier.
- Your money is put to good use
In addition to the wonderful health benefits of owning a dog, adopting a shelter dog is a great way to make sure your money is getting into the hands of those who need it most. Rather than buying a designer dog and supporting a puppy mill, which typically utilizes problematic breeding practices, adoption fees at a shelter will instead go towards supporting shelter dogs’ health and happiness.
Great shelters use the adoption fees you pay them to support the dogs in their care and improve their lives. The money you pay for your new dog will go towards the basics like food and shelter, as well as beneficial things like training and toys, needed to help other dogs in need. Your money won’t go towards lining someone’s pockets, as is the case with puppy mills.
Shelters use funds for outreach and education, too. A better-educated community is one with less prevalence of unwanted and neglected dogs.
- A larger selection of dogs
Shelters offer a variety of breeds and mixed breeds in all colors, shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities. Since shelters accept all dogs, they have a variety of dogs to suit every individual or family.
No matter your needs or abilities, there is bound to be a shelter dog that suits you. If you are a senior looking for a dog to spend quiet time with and take short leisurely strolls, a small, older dog might be a great option. Or, if you are a young couple looking for a dog that can grow up with your growing family, a puppy might be a good fit. If you’re outdoorsy and want a dog who can scale a mountain with you, there’s sure to be a dog at the shelter who would love to tag along. And if you are looking for a specific breed due to allergies or other reasons, breed-specific shelters exist to help you find the perfect fit.
Every dog deserves a great home, and for every dog looking for one, there is a potential dog owner out there who would be the perfect match. Shelters do so much good for the community and by adopting from a shelter, you can, too. Your future furry best friend is simply waiting for you to come find and love them as much as they will love you.
Here at Pet Scientific we try to do our part by supporting charities that help shelter dogs in need. Which is why we donate a portion of the proceeds from every Pet Scientific purchase to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. We strive to support the health of your dog, as well as dogs in need in our community.