An estimated 3 to 4 million pets are adopted from shelters each year*, but despite the great work of our shelters nationwide, these pets still face misconceptions about their health and characteristics. For example, contrary to popular belief, pets adopted from shelters are less likely to need an unexpected trip to the vet!

Find out why (and consider giving a shelter pet a second chance!) as we debunk these other common shelter pet myths:

Myth: Shelter pets are more prone to health problems.

Fact: Adopted pets tend to have fewer health issues than pets sold in stores and online. Pets from commercial breeding operations or those sold in pet stores often do not receive the same level of care and attention that pets coming from shelters receive before going to their forever home.

Though it’s possible for any pet to pick up an illness when around other best friends (like a kid getting a cold at school), rescued pets generally receive extensive medical care and observation before they are adopted. Most are also spayed or neutered and come with other benefits, like a microchip. Some even receive 30 days of pet insurance!

Myth: You can’t find a purebred pet at a shelter.

Fact: 25% of pets in shelters are purebred, so it’s possible to work with your local shelter if you’re looking for a specific breed. But remember – it’s what’s inside that counts! Temperament, energy level and personality should be taken into account to make the best match.

Myth: Shelter pets have behavior issues.

Fact: Every shelter pet has his own history, personality and personality traits, and pets are turned in to shelters for reasons other than behavior issues, such as allergies.

One person might see a certain behavior as a problem, while it doesn’t faze someone else. If an adopter loves that pet enough, they’ll either accept the behavior or work to resolve it. Many shelter pets also receive training and socialization before adoption to help make the transition into their new families easier.

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Myth: Adopters won’t get to know a shelter pet before taking her home.

Fact: Shelter staff and volunteers spend lots of time getting to know every pet so they can advise adopters who are looking for certain characteristics.

Many shelters also offer meet and greets, so the whole family (including current pets!) can get to know one another. It’s not uncommon for adopters to feel like their adopted shelter pet chose them, just based on the way the pet wagged his tail or how he looked at them.

Myth: Shelters only have older pets, not puppies and kittens.

Fact: Shelters have pets of all ages, sizes, breeds and temperaments – but adopters are encouraged to focus on the pet’s personality rather than age. Senior pets can be just as lively as puppies and kittens!

Despite the facts, every shelter faces the battle of overcoming public perceptions. The easiest way to dispel shelter pet myths is to visit the shelter, where you’ll meet pets of all kinds who are healthy, happy and eager to find their special someone.

* According to The Humane Society of the United States

Mar 17, 2015
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