Finding a Forever Home – Tips Regarding Pet Adoption

By Dr. Tracy Appelbaum, Managing Veterinarian

According to the ASPCA there are approximately 3.3 million dogs that are brought in to shelters every year. These pets find themselves without a home for a variety of reasons – everything from natural disasters to family financial issues. In honor of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, I encourage you and your family to consider looking at these pets in need when considering bringing a new companion into your family fold.

 A common misconception regarding shelter animals is that they were given up because they have a problem of some kind. Owners often worry that they have behavioral problems or diseases which is often not the case. When considering a new pet adoption do not be afraid to reach out to your veterinarian to make sure you know the right questions to ask BEFORE bringing your new pet home. Make sure that the shelter can provide documentation regarding vaccines, deworming and any previous medical treatments that your potential new four-legged friend may have received. It’s also important to understand that there is always the possibility that a medical condition could be identified during your first visit to the veterinarian. You and your family should be prepared to deal with this responsibility both financially and emotionally. 

Once you bring your new addition home you should be prepared for an adjustment period for everyone. We often have no idea where your new addition was prior to coming home and the type of care they received prior to you. Some pets may be fearful and others a little head strong. It’s important to be able to provide the appropriate support needed to help ease this transition. Suggestions include enrollment in a training course, visits with other family dogs, group activities, etc. to help with your new furry friend’s adjustment. With proper reinforcement and a little tender loving care, your new pet is sure to blend right in.

Once you adopt your new family member, it’s very important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a full physical exam.  Bring all copies of your records with you – it can be very helpful to send them over prior to your appointment. If a fecal sample has not already been checked you should bring one with you to your first appointment. Your veterinarian can make sure that your pet is up to date on all vaccines and make any other necessary diagnostic recommendations regarding your new addition’s care. It’s also a perfect discussion time for any questions your family might have.

In closing, if you’re considering bringing a pet into your family circle don’t forget about all the shelter animals out there waiting for their new forever homes. So many pets find themselves in the shelter due to unforeseen circumstances that were out of their control. Should you find yourself with a new addition, please schedule an appointment through our web system, call us at (301) 776-7744 or email us at

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