One uncomfortable truth about the UK as a “nation of dog lovers” is that there are always far more dogs in need of homes than there are homes ready to take them on. Adoption shelters across the country are perpetually full to bursting with abandoned and unwanted dogs, as supply far outstrips demand.
Adopting a dog or puppy rather than buying gives dog lovers a chance to make a huge difference in the life of the dog that they choose, it also supports the important work of canine charities, shelters and rehoming organisations.
Even if you have a very clear idea of the breed or type of dog that you want to own, this doesn’t mean that your options are limited to buying from a breeder. All dog lovers should give some thought to whether they could adopt a dog rather than buying one.
If you are still trying to make a decision, or are wondering why or how to rescue a dog, here are 8 excellent reasons to adopt instead of buying.
1. Adopt a dog: Save a life
Adopting a dog can save a life, whether that life is the actual dog you adopt, or another dog that gets a shelter place as a result of your adoption. When you rescue a dog you help to ease the pressure on rehoming shelters which are continually full to bursting, and that often have to turn other dogs in need away.
2. You can give a second-hand dog a second chance
Most dogs that end up in rehoming shelters are there through no fault of their own. It is a huge myth that shelter dogs are often unpredictable or aggressive. Rehoming centre staff carefully assess and work with each dog before they offer them up for adoption, to give them the best chance of finding the right home.
Some dogs will never be suitable for rehoming, but most shelter dogs have been abandoned or surrendered because of a change in their prior owner’s circumstances. Most of the time they did not care for or manage the dog correctly, or they took on a breed that was not a good match for them, which led to problems.
None of these things are the fault of the dog, and when you rescue, you give them a second chance at life, which will be repaid a million times over.
3. Adopting cuts off revenue streams to puppy mills and unscrupulous breeders
There are thousands of dogs in shelters and they continually face funding challenges to accommodate the never-ending stream of dogs in need, unscrupulous dog breeders and puppy mills which continue to produce litters to meet the demands of buyers.
Puppy mills or farms can still be found operating all across the UK, often going to great lengths to disguise the origins of their pups when showcasing them to potential buyers.However, if you adopt a dog rather than buying a puppy, you cut off the revenue stream that unscrupulous breeders rely on to continue operating. Saying no to breeders reduces the number of litters produced while other dogs remain homeless, and is one of the best reasons to rescue a dog, contributing to improving the whole canine community.
4. Choosing a mixed breed gives you a better chance of getting a healthy dog
Picking a mixed breed dog rather than a pedigree comes with a huge range of benefits, the greatest of which is the improved health and longevity that comes from hybrid vigour. Mixed breed dogs and mongrels usually live longer, and suffer from less health problems and hereditary flaws, helping to ensure that your new dog will live a long, happy and healthy life with you.
5. You can still get a pedigree dog by adopting
If you have your heart set on owning a specific dog breed or even a pedigree dog with papers, don’t rule out adoption! Rehoming shelters commonly care for and rehome pedigree dogs, and for some breeds in particular, you will find a huge range of choice.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Siberian Husky and Chihuahua are among the most common breeds surrendered to shelters. These are three very different breeds that are all very rewarding for the right owners. However, their popularity has proven to be their downfall in terms of the number of dogs of these breeds who fall into the hands of inexperienced or irresponsible owners, leading to high levels of abandonment later on.
Virtually every dog breed you can think of has a rescue organisation dedicated to helping unwanted dogs find new owners-so look around, and you might find that adopting a pedigree dog is easier than you think.
6. Adopting saves money-giving you more to spend on your dog!
Buying a pedigree dog or puppy is likely to cost you anything from a few hundred pounds to several thousands of pounds. This, of course, is a lot of money that goes directly towards funding the production of ever-more future litters.
However, paying an adoption fee rather than a purchase price leaves you with more cash in the bank to spend on your new dog directly. It also helps to support the ongoing costs of running a rehoming centre or charity.
7. Your rescue dog will probably already be trained
If you adopt an adult dog or even an older puppy, the hard work of house training, socialisation and basic obedience training will likely already have been done. Shelters work hard to improve the animal’s chances of adoption and will usually assess and improve upon any training areas that need work before rehoming.
8. You can find a dog to match your personality
Finally, one of the best reasons to rescue a dog is the fact that when you adopt a dog, you can find the perfect match for your personality, lifestyle and home situation.
Whether you are looking for an active jogging partner or a canine couch potato, you will be sure to find the perfect match just waiting for a home, ensuring that both you and your future dog are happy together, for life.