Make the Humane Choice: Think Adoption First

By PetcoBlogger on Aug 13, 2015

Caring for a pet is a lifelong commitment, but as most pet parents can attest, the unconditional love and companionship they offer is worth the responsibility, cost and time.

The number of households with a pet is at a record high: According to the 2015 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 65% of U.S. households have at least one pet. In 1988, only 56% had pets. In fact, the number of American pets has more than tripled since the 1970s. Currently, the majority of pet parents do not adopt from shelters or rescues, and approximately 65% are introduced to their pets by acquaintances or family members.

Thousands of happy, healthy and well-socialized pets live in animal shelters nationwide. Though many have not found their forever home yet, each and every adopted pet means another life saved. Read on to find out why adoption is the best option for both the animal and your family.

There’s No Place Like Home

Potential pet parents have options when it comes to finding the right pet for their family and lifestyle. Some people default to a breeder or pet store in search of a specific breed, or because of antiquated stigmas about animal shelters. These animals are often unfairly overlooked; pet parents often relinquish pets because their landlord does not allow them, they do not have enough time or a life circumstance such as divorce or a move gets in the way. Great pets of all breeds, sizes and personalities find themselves at shelters—they’re just waiting to be found by the right family.

Adoption Rates on the Rise

Due in part to successful spay and neuter programs, managed intake and new initiatives, fewer pets enter shelters every year. Around 7.6 million animals nationwide find their way to a shelter annually. While a portion of those animals return to their pet parents, more than one-third (2.7 million) are euthanized. Though that figure is grim, nearly the same percentage of shelter animals are adopted. And that number is rising.

New shelter programs and adoption events have placed a record number of pets. Since the 1970s, euthanasia rates in animal shelters have significantly declined—from about 15 million cats and dogs euthanized in 1970 to roughly 3.4 million in 2013.

As the U.S. population increases, so does pet parenthood. In 1996, 130 million pets resided in U.S. homes. By the end of this year, that number will likely surpass 185 million. So why the increase? It’s all about resources and changing attitudes toward adoption.

The way we view pets has shifted—no matter where they come from. Eight out of 10 pet parents consider their pets part of the family. In fact, a 2015 Gallup poll found almost one-third of Americans believe animals should be given the same rights as people and 62% think they deserve at least some legal protection.

Views on pet adoption have also become more positive. Adopting a pet from a shelter is now a popular, highly accepted decision. Much of this acceptance can be attributed to local adoption marketing campaigns by animal welfare groups and national campaigns such as The Shelter Pet Project and Think Adoption First®. Internet adoption search vehicles—including Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet—plus the promotion of offside adoptions at national pet retailers, like Petco, have also driven adoption popularity.

Awareness, however, is only one piece of the puzzle. Funding from foundations has increased from $2 million in 1996 to an estimated $50 million in 2013, and is projected to reach $75 million this year. These funds allow for high-volume adoption events, spay and neuter programs and relocation programs (which bring animals from high-supply, low-demand areas to places with low supply and high demand).

Shelter medical care is another contributor to improved adoption rates. Shelter veterinarians help keep pets healthy and rehabilitate sick and injured animals. Currently, more than 85% of veterinary schools have shelter medicine programs. These programs help improve the quality of life for shelter animals through health care, behavior assessment and modification and preventive medicine. All of these measures aim to ultimately increase adoption rates.

Ready to Help a Pet Find a Forever Home?

Many pet adoptions are a story of love at first sight. And while true, long-lasting love can be spontaneous and found in unexpected places—whether through a neighbor, friend or family member or at an adoption event—it may be a good idea to consider a few points before adopting your next pet. While some advanced planning can be helpful, it’s certainly not essential to a successful adoption.

      • Know why you want to adopt a pet. 
        Whether you would like a companion for your child or want to fill the void after a pet passes, reflect on why you want bring a cat, dog or other animal home. This knowledge can help determine which pet will fit your needs.
      • Be prepared for a lifelong friend.
        Your pet will be with you through moves, new jobs and other lifestyle changes. Though the average lifespan of cats and dogs depends on a number of factors including proper care, your cat will likely be a part of the family for 10−14 years and your dog will typically live for 10−12 years. Before you adopt a pet, ask yourself if you will be able to spend quality time with your new companion.
      • Think about what kind of pet is right for you. 
        Research different pets and their care requirements. Some pets need lots of exercise and space. Other pets, like fish, are well-suited for younger children. Consider your home life (both the home itself and the people or other animals who live there). The people who work for or volunteer at the local shelter can help you find your best match too.
      • Prepare your home for your new pet. 
        Similar to a new baby, bringing home a pet is easiest and safest with some preparation. Every pet is different, but you may need to pet proof your home by moving pet-unfriendly plants and other potentially hazardous household items out of reach. If you have other pets at home, you will need to introduce them to your new pet properly.
      • Stock up on supplies. 
        After bringing your new pet home, there will be ongoing costs to build into your budget. Expenses include food; annual veterinary care; vaccinations, flea, tick and heartworm prevention; spaying or neutering (if not included in the adoption fee); training classes, proper identification, toys, collars, leashes, crates and beds and a variety of other supplies. For a rough financial breakdown of pet parenting, check out Petfinder’s annual costs charts for dogs and cats or the ASPCA’s thorough pet care costs chart, which includes more animals.
      • Talk about pet responsibilities with your family. 
        Caring for a pet can be a team effort. Consider setting up a family meeting to talk about pet care responsibilities. Families with babies, children and teens may all be ready for adoption. Children older than toddlers can even help play with, exercise, feed and care for the family pet.

Pet adoption is a joyful, fun and celebratory experience. While some adoptions may occur on the spur of the moment, some planning may provide a smoother transition for your pet and your family.

Think Adoption First

Adoption is a socially responsible and fulfilling way to fall in love with your next pet. Petco and the Petco Foundation have partnered with thousands of local animal welfare groups to save more than 400,000 animals every year. Improving a companion animal’s life is achievable—every adoption makes an important impact.

 

 

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7 Comments
Comments
by
‎09-08-2015 04:32 AM
We have a wonderful rescued chocolate Labradoodle named Gus who joined our famity when he was 6 months old. Gus reminds us every day how grateful he is to live with us. He should be a poster dog for the benefits of rescue. HOWEVER, I am deeply troubled at how readily acceptable are your reasons to "Think Adoption First" for pets, yet when it comes to human babies our "modern" culture says if one is inconvenient it is fine to kill him/her in the womb and then maybe even sell its body parts. Tell me, is Petco a supporter of Planned Parenthood and it's gruesome attitude about the "value" of human life? Just like Gus our grandchildren remind us every day how glad they are to be alive.
We have a wonderful rescued chocolate Labradoodle named Gus who joined our famity when he was 6 months old. Gus reminds us every day how grateful he is to live with us. He should be a poster dog for the benefits of rescue. HOWEVER, I am deeply troubled at how readily acceptable are your reasons to "Think Adoption First" for pets, yet when it comes to human babies our "modern" culture says if one is inconvenient it is fine to kill him/her in the womb and then maybe even sell its body parts. Tell me, is Petco a supporter of Planned Parenthood and it's gruesome attitude about the "value" of human life? Just like Gus our grandchildren remind us every day how glad they are to be alive.
Posted on Sep 8, 2015
by
‎09-08-2015 06:24 AM
I have always adapted my pets for the last 60 years from shelters they have been part of my family and they give unconditional love.
What I would love to see is Petco and other chains sell animals from local shelters and have a break even policy for the funds they have received. I do not support these animal big chain stores and small ones selling breeded dogs that have more medical complications than a dog with mix breed from a shelter.
I don't understand it but dogs that live in texas are not taken care of like they are in the northeast. Everyday I have short drive, I see at least one to two dogs killed a week. A big swap meets like first Monday in Canton Texas they have puppy mills and if they don't sell they shoot them in the back yard that's just the tip of it.
Have a good day.
I have always adapted my pets for the last 60 years from shelters they have been part of my family and they give unconditional love.
What I would love to see is Petco and other chains sell animals from local shelters and have a break even policy for the funds they have received. I do not support these animal big chain stores and small ones selling breeded dogs that have more medical complications than a dog with mix breed from a shelter.
I don't understand it but dogs that live in texas are not taken care of like they are in the northeast. Everyday I have short drive, I see at least one to two dogs killed a week. A big swap meets like first Monday in Canton Texas they have puppy mills and if they don't sell they shoot them in the back yard that's just the tip of it.
Have a good day.
Posted on Sep 8, 2015
by
‎09-24-2015 02:15 PM
Can cats still get declawed?
Can cats still get declawed?
Posted on Sep 24, 2015
by Community Representative
‎09-24-2015 04:27 PM

Hi there.

Thanks for your question about declawing cats, Petco doesn't offer this service. It is a painful operation, and many veterinarians won’t do it. I highly recommend considering the alternatives to declawing as it's very severe for your cat. Declawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. Plus, if your cat goes outdoors, they will be defenseless. Instead, clip your cat’s nails every two weeks with a good nail clipper. I suggest talking to your veterinarian on how to do this correctly. You should have the right tools, too, such as styptic powder. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what you will need. Also, here's an article with tips on how to stop your cat from clawing.

Hi there.

Thanks for your question about declawing cats, Petco doesn't offer this service. It is a painful operation, and many veterinarians won’t do it. I highly recommend considering the alternatives to declawing as it's very severe for your cat. Declawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. Plus, if your cat goes outdoors, they will be defenseless. Instead, clip your cat’s nails every two weeks with a good nail clipper. I suggest talking to your veterinarian on how to do this correctly. You should have the right tools, too, such as styptic powder. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what you will need. Also, here's an article with tips on how to stop your cat from clawing.

Posted on Sep 24, 2015
by Tessla rabin
‎10-12-2015 08:37 PM

Please be aware that when you bring a pet into a house it should only be if all parties in the house want to have a pet.  In our house my spouse decided that they wanted a pet, despite my repeatedly saying that I did not want one...we have three kids under 10 yrs old already and there is enough work dealing with them (and the smaller pets we already have and that I, animal non-lover that I am, seem to consistently be the only one feeding and maintaining a healthy living space for).

Apparently there is not enough love and affection from children and a spouse so the need for the 'unconditional love' of a cat was necessary.  Of course before we left the home of the person we adopted from (and paid $75 each) we had two cats.  Supposedly they were both 'so sweet' that they required adoption by us; oddly one is an older cat that had an owner.  I am wondering why anything that gives so much love unconditionally would need to find another home.  Since their arrival I have moved to another bedroom and bathroom as our former bedroom is now awash in cat dander/hair and the attached master bath is amply carpeted in cat litterbox overflow (I am afraid to actually look and see just what the crunchiness underfoot actually is).  Oddly, the spouse who has always been able to detect the slightest whiff of some mildly offending odor is aroma blind to the stink of cat piss and poop permeating the bedroom and lazily drifting into the entire downstairs.

In my new, smaller bedroom I am forced to keep the door closed permanently other than when I go in or out.  Two of the three of our children have taken to doing the same since we all decided that none of us would be comfortable if any of the other of us used the toilet with no appropriate paper hygiene and then proceeded to sit on another of us' pillow or bedsheets.  It looks as if that scenario is acceptable to spouse and child 1, but only if the sitter is a cat and one of those two appears equally unconcerned about the bits of cat litter dropping from adorable cat feet onto the kitchen food preparation and eating surface.  Odd, again, that the same spouse finds the appearence of tiny ants in the kitchen following heavy rains intolerable and cause for rushing out to buy ant traps and sprays (the sprays are no longer used around the kitchen since my advice to read the warning labels, so there is not a total disregard for food safety).

The good news for me is that apparently money is no object and I will enjoy that aspect of having cats.  You see we used to have another cat - a fine example of 'unconditional love' that swatted child 1 as an infant and destroyed our old furniture.  The unconditional love was of course one sided; spouse loved the cat, cat hated everything.  I guess unconditional love only looks foolish to the uninitiated.  Anyway, we purchased all new furniture on the expectation that we were done with cats after I happily showed my love by driving said kitty on it's final Vet visit.  Though I am planning on taking both cats in for declawing I am waiting for spouse to choose a Vet in our current area and have little doubt that in the interim there will be furniture destruction (I do not know what has been clawed in the bedroom since the smell came into being).  Given that there is such minimal concern over the possibility of destruction of several thousand of dollars of new furniture  I can only assume that our financial prospects are much better than I am aware of and I shall have to begin to live accordingly.  I am already focusing on expanding my new digs in the upstairs bedroom.

Please be aware that when you bring a pet into a house it should only be if all parties in the house want to have a pet.  In our house my spouse decided that they wanted a pet, despite my repeatedly saying that I did not want one...we have three kids under 10 yrs old already and there is enough work dealing with them (and the smaller pets we already have and that I, animal non-lover that I am, seem to consistently be the only one feeding and maintaining a healthy living space for).

Apparently there is not enough love and affection from children and a spouse so the need for the 'unconditional love' of a cat was necessary.  Of course before we left the home of the person we adopted from (and paid $75 each) we had two cats.  Supposedly they were both 'so sweet' that they required adoption by us; oddly one is an older cat that had an owner.  I am wondering why anything that gives so much love unconditionally would need to find another home.  Since their arrival I have moved to another bedroom and bathroom as our former bedroom is now awash in cat dander/hair and the attached master bath is amply carpeted in cat litterbox overflow (I am afraid to actually look and see just what the crunchiness underfoot actually is).  Oddly, the spouse who has always been able to detect the slightest whiff of some mildly offending odor is aroma blind to the stink of cat piss and poop permeating the bedroom and lazily drifting into the entire downstairs.

In my new, smaller bedroom I am forced to keep the door closed permanently other than when I go in or out.  Two of the three of our children have taken to doing the same since we all decided that none of us would be comfortable if any of the other of us used the toilet with no appropriate paper hygiene and then proceeded to sit on another of us' pillow or bedsheets.  It looks as if that scenario is acceptable to spouse and child 1, but only if the sitter is a cat and one of those two appears equally unconcerned about the bits of cat litter dropping from adorable cat feet onto the kitchen food preparation and eating surface.  Odd, again, that the same spouse finds the appearence of tiny ants in the kitchen following heavy rains intolerable and cause for rushing out to buy ant traps and sprays (the sprays are no longer used around the kitchen since my advice to read the warning labels, so there is not a total disregard for food safety).

The good news for me is that apparently money is no object and I will enjoy that aspect of having cats.  You see we used to have another cat - a fine example of 'unconditional love' that swatted child 1 as an infant and destroyed our old furniture.  The unconditional love was of course one sided; spouse loved the cat, cat hated everything.  I guess unconditional love only looks foolish to the uninitiated.  Anyway, we purchased all new furniture on the expectation that we were done with cats after I happily showed my love by driving said kitty on it's final Vet visit.  Though I am planning on taking both cats in for declawing I am waiting for spouse to choose a Vet in our current area and have little doubt that in the interim there will be furniture destruction (I do not know what has been clawed in the bedroom since the smell came into being).  Given that there is such minimal concern over the possibility of destruction of several thousand of dollars of new furniture  I can only assume that our financial prospects are much better than I am aware of and I shall have to begin to live accordingly.  I am already focusing on expanding my new digs in the upstairs bedroom.

Posted on Oct 12, 2015
by Bri
‎10-14-2015 11:51 AM

I love this! Super informative for those who are looking to adopt! I rescued my pup and he has been the most lovable guy, and so rewarding! 

It's also very cool for me, I get to work at a company that allows for anyone to donate an hour of animal care to those in need. So, the ones that unfortunately don't get adopted can at least get care. Here's the site if you want to give an hour. http://bit.ly/1G62x4a

I love this! Super informative for those who are looking to adopt! I rescued my pup and he has been the most lovable guy, and so rewarding! 

It's also very cool for me, I get to work at a company that allows for anyone to donate an hour of animal care to those in need. So, the ones that unfortunately don't get adopted can at least get care. Here's the site if you want to give an hour. http://bit.ly/1G62x4a

Posted on Oct 14, 2015
by Timmonnj+3
‎01-27-2016 07:09 AM

I commend Petco for creating and posting this informative material. At least half of the Comments here are positive. If you love animals, you know what to do.

I commend Petco for creating and posting this informative material. At least half of the Comments here are positive. If you love animals, you know what to do.

Posted on Jan 27, 2016
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