Q:

How do you choose a pet from an animal shelter?

A:

Quick Answer

Choose a pet from a shelter by assessing your wants and needs, watching how the pet acts, spending time with the pet, and asking the shelter staff lots of questions. Taking time to choose a pet that fits into your family is key to a positive adoption experience.

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Full Answer

Every family has different routines and needs that affect pet selection for the best compatibility. Before heading to the shelter, consider things such as the space available in your home, the age of children, any special health concerns, such as allergies, any current pets and the time you have available to devote to a pet. Consider the age, breed, size, type and personality of animal you want in your family.

Visit the shelter to see and interact with the type of pets that fit your criteria. Observe the behaviors of the pets to look for signs of aggression. Animals sometimes feel scared in the shelter setting, so a dog that appears shy or withdrawn may actually warm up outside of the shelter environment. A shelter staff member may have insight into an animal's behavior. Most shelters provide a description of each animal that includes personality traits and the best environment for the animal, such as a quiet home or an active family home.

If you already have a pet, ask the shelter about introducing the animals before adopting. Having the new pet meet all family members helps you decide if it is a good match for everyone.

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