Things to Know: Adopting a Special Needs Pet


If you’re looking to adopt a pet, you might find that some local shelters and rescue groups have special needs animals available. These pets often come with physical or behavioral disabilities that will require more care than average.

However, they are also often in need of good homes more than other pets, since they can be difficult to place into them due to the extra effort needed to care for them on a daily basis.

Here are some things you should know before adopting a special needs pet into your home and family.


Why consider a special needs pet?

There are so many great cats and dogs out there, but they don’t all fit into an apartment with a busy lifestyle. If you’re looking for something more fulfilling than an indoor cat or dog, you might consider adopting an animal with special needs.

These pets offer so much love and companionship, even though they may have mobility challenges or other requirements that go beyond basic care. In fact, some people who adopt special needs animals say it helps them become better pet owners overall.

Here are some things to think about before bringing home a special needs pet.

Not every animal is able to be adopted from an adoption center—many come from shelters or rescues. But in order to provide health care for your new companion, it’s important to understand his or her condition and how you can help.

What do I need to know? When considering whether you should bring home a special needs pet, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:

Will my landlord allow me to keep a pet?

What kinds of vet visits will I need?

How much time and money is required for care?

How will I manage traveling with an animal that can’t be left alone for long periods of time?

The answers to these questions are different for every person and every situation. However, if you think that adopting a special needs pet is right for your lifestyle, here are some things to consider.

Where can I find information about adopting animals with special needs?

There are several great resources available when looking into adopting animals with disabilities.


The Process

If you’re thinking about adopting a special needs pet, you might have questions.

Here are some things you should know before heading out to get your new companion.

Where can I adopt? There are several options available when it comes to finding a pet that is right for you. Animal shelters and rescue groups often have animals with disabilities or medical conditions up for adoption.

Some even specialize in specific breeds or types of animals (such as dogs with heartworm). Shelters also provide an opportunity to interact with potential pets so you can find one that fits your lifestyle and personality best.

Adoption fees vary from shelter to shelter but typically range from $50-200, depending on where you live and what type of animal you want. What if I don’t see any pets at my local shelter? Don’t give up!

Many shelters post their animals online, which means you could be missing out on great matches. Check back frequently if you don’t see anything immediately.

What do I need to bring home a pet?

First and foremost, remember that just because someone else has adopted a certain dog or cat doesn’t mean it’s right for your family. For example, if you already have other pets at home, make sure there won’t be any issues integrating them into your household.

In addition to bringing home supplies like food bowls and leashes, consider bringing along toys and treats to help make your new friend feel welcome in his or her new environment.

Finally, make sure everyone in your household agrees that a pet would be a good fit—this way you’ll avoid any hurt feelings down the road.


Where to Get A Healthy, Well-Adjusted Rescue Dog

If you’re interested in adopting a rescue dog, your first step should be to start networking. Get on Facebook and find local breed-specific rescues or shelters. They’ll have a better idea of what dogs are available in your area and will likely already have a good sense of which dogs are well adjusted and healthy.

Many of these organizations also screen potential adopters—they want to make sure that their pets go to homes where they’ll get plenty of exercise, attention, love, etc., so they’ll want to talk with you about how much time you can dedicate to your new pet before making an adoption decision.

That said, if you’re set on getting a specific type of dog (e.g., Great Dane), there are online resources for finding purebreds as well; just make sure to do some research beforehand so you know what kind of breeder you’re dealing with (there are plenty of great ones out there).

The ASPCA maintains a list of reputable sources, while Dogster has a more comprehensive guide. The bottom line: Don’t let your search become overwhelming. Remember that rescuing is supposed to be fun!

Focus on connecting with one animal at a time until you find someone who clicks with you.


Choosing the Right Dog

Depending on your living situation, you might want to consider adopting a dog that’s already been house-trained. If you’re planning on having your new friend sleep in your room at night, look for adult dogs and not puppies.

Older dogs are also more likely to have calmed down some of their hyper energy and destructive habits. Once you find one that you think might be perfect for you, don’t be afraid to take them out for an adoption trial!

This is when you bring home a pet with no obligation to adopt—it’s just a chance for both of you to get used to each other before making any long-term commitments. Most shelters offer these trials as part of their adoption process, so it shouldn’t cost anything extra (other than gas).

And if it doesn’t work out, they can always go back. After all, there are plenty of pets waiting for a loving home. But hopefully, things will work out and you’ll soon have a new family member who brings you nothing but joy.

It takes time and patience, but it’s worth every second. Plus, getting up early to feed or walk your pup gives you a great opportunity to connect while they learn what life is like in their forever home. Best of luck!


Training is Key For All Dogs

Training your dog is important for many reasons. There are several different ways in which dogs can benefit from learning basic commands like sit and stay. Training makes it easier for you to handle your dog and prevents behavioral issues from arising.

It’s also beneficial for other people, as well as any pets or children who might come into contact with your dog outside of the home. For anyone considering adopting a special needs pet, training can be particularly helpful.

A trained dog will have fewer accidents and is less likely to cause damage around your house. They’ll also be more manageable when out on walks, making them easier to keep track of and safer overall.

A trained dog will feel happier because they won’t have as much pent-up energy that they need an outlet for. Finally, training allows you to bond with your new pet by giving them something constructive to do while spending time together.

This helps both you and your dog get off on a good foot.


Ongoing Costs and Considerations

To adopt a special needs pet, you need to be prepared for ongoing costs and considerations. Some animals require medications and ongoing vet visits. And while all pets are considered members of your family, special needs pets may need more specific care than some dogs or cats do.

For example, those with mobility issues might need help getting outside or moving from room to room in your home. Also, if you’re adopting an older animal, it’s important to have a plan for their care as they age—and understand that many organizations will not adopt out pets over 10 years old.

Finally, special needs pets may require additional training—if so, make sure you know what that entails before taking on an animal who requires it. These are just a few of the things to consider when deciding whether to adopt a special needs pet; there is much more information available online.

If you think you can handle these considerations, then adoption is certainly worth considering! It’s always great to add another member to your family—and especially one who has been given another chance at life.

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