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Pet Adoption Safety

Adopting a pet should be one of the happiest moments in a family's life, but there are sometimes unforeseen events that can bring tears, disappointment and even heartbreak. Knowing a few key safety tips can lessen any problems or danger and make finding your new best friend fun, exciting and unendingly rewarding.

1. Adopting a pet should not be a spur of the moment decision. A pet is not just an accessory that you pick up because you considered him a "bargain" or because he just struck your heart chords just the right way. This is a commitment to a living being, one that will need love, food and shelter for many years to come. Make sure you and your entire family is fully committed to that concept before bringing a pet home.

2. Shelter pets are not always lost doggies that cannot find their way home. Sometimes pets have severe behavioral or emotional problems that their owners cannot handle. While not every pet at the shelter is a reject, there are bound to be a few, so make sure that you ask questions.

3. Sometimes shelter staff can miss serious health or behavior problems. Before you bring your adopted pet home, make sure that he gets a thorough vet exam, including all immunizations. This is especially important if there are small children or other pets in your home.

4. Do not just bring an adopted pet into your home and give him free reign of the place. Allow your new pet to explore from room to room, while on a leash. Consider crate training while you are not directly at hand, and only allow interaction between the new pet and children and other pets while you are there. Eventually, your adopted pet will settle in and blend into the family, but it will take some time and patience.

5. Do not hesitate to bring any pet that develops signs of aggression back to the shelter. Saving an animal's life is not worth risking your family's safety for. And, if that does become the case, make sure that shelter staff is aware of the exact problem. Perhaps the dog does not like children, but is fine with adults. Maybe the new pet was snappy with other animals, or one gender. Allow staff to know so that they can help match the pet with the right family on his next try.

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