10 Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Dog

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and there are so many lovable dogs out there who are in need of a forever home. People give up pets for a variety of reasons, including divorce, financial problems and the owner’s illness, none of which have anything to do with the dog’s temperament and health. Whether you’d prefer a mixed breed or purebred, a young pup or an elder dog, a shelter near you probably has the perfect companion you’ve been searching for! So why adopt instead of shop? Well we have listed 10 reasons that answer that question down below.

Save a Life

The number one reason to adopt is you would be saving a life. While the no-kill movement is gaining momentum nationwide, 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized in U.S. shelters every year because more people surrender their pets than adopt from a shelter and limited resources force shelter staff to make difficult decisions.

Adoption Saves More Than Just 1 Animal

Overburdened shelters take in millions of stray, abused, and lost animals every year, and by adopting an animal, you’re making room for others. Not only are you giving more animals a second chance, but the cost of your adoption goes directly towards helping those shelters better care for the animals they take in!


you are more likely to find a wider variety of animals large and small, energetic and kid-friendly, among other characteristics, at a shelter than anywhere else. On Petfinder.com, the pet adoption Web site operated by the ASPCA, you can search for the exact attributes you are looking for. And with rescue shelters across the country taking in so many dogs every day, sooner or later you'll find the dog that will fit well with you and your family.

The Right Pet 

More important than color, breed, or size, a pet should match your style of living. An important difference between shelters and pet stores is that shelters are not providing their services for profit, and therefore they are more concerned about other factors, such as finding the perfect match between the pet and owner. Because they've spent time rescuing them and resuscitating them, most shelters know their dogs well. Using various screening methods, they can help you find a dog that fits into your family and lifestyle. For example, they know whether their animals are good with babies and toddlers, are active or more sedentary, independent or just need lots of love.


A common myth exists that the only way to get purebred animals is through a breeder. This is not true. People might prefer a purebred dog or cat because of family tradition or personal preference. In that case, shelters again should be the first option. Shelters around the country carry a significant number of purebreds.


To certain people, animal shelters, and specifically the term "stray," conjure up feelings of uneasiness and concerns about the animal's behavior, but the word “stray” just means the dog has strayed from home, either abandoned or lost. In fact, a shelter is an excellent place to acquire a safe and healthy pet because the shelter's main purpose is to tend to and revive lost and ailing animals. Animals may come into a shelter with an illness or a problem, but they are evaluated and cleared before being eligible for adoption.

Pet Store Dangers

Dogs have been bred for hundreds of years, and today, the American Kennel Club recognizes over 150 breeds. With so much breeding going on, genetic problems caused by inbreeding are inevitable. Even responsible breeders face these challenges and take special precautions to prevent their dogs from carrying on genetic defects, but when you buy a pet from a pet store, you have no way of knowing whether your animal will be healthy or not, because you don't know the breeder. Pet stores are also notoriously known to buy their animals from so-called "puppy mills" who focus on sheer numbers, not on the health and welfare of their animals. You can learn more about puppy mills here. The mixed breed dogs you'll find at a shelter are less likely to carry the problems of heredity, simply because they've come from a larger and more diverse gene pool.

Health Concern Costs

Whether you adopt a pet from a shelter or buy one from a breeder, spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and other medical tests are essential before the animal is brought home. Many shelters make it easier on owners by covering portions of the costs

Your Home Will Thank You

Many of the dogs from shelters and rescues are already house trained, which means you’re not only saving a pet’s life, you may be saving your rug. Adopting a mature pet not only gives older animals a second chance, it often means introducing them to your family will be much easier.

Setting a Good Example

Taking in a dog that needs a home sets a great example for your children, and teaches them important moral lessons. This is especially true of children who don't have any siblings or who love animals. We promised you 10 reasons, but we actually have 11…

Lots of Love

You get just as much love (if not more). An adopted pet is every bit as loving, intelligent and loyal as a purchased pet, even if you get an adult or older animal. The saying is true, you can’t buy love, but you can rescue it!