National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is on April 30th every year. This year, it's on Friday, April 30, 2021. This national holiday was established to help bring awareness to the 1000's of pets still in shelters waiting to find their forever homes. Whether you're able to adopt a shelter pet yourself or are able to donate supplies to your local shelter, there's a lot of ways you can make a difference in a shelter pets life. Keep reading to find out how.


1. Adopt a Shelter Pet: Welcoming a shelter pet into your home is the best way to celebrate this holiday. But before you make this decision, be sure that you home is ready to accept a new furry family member. Visit your local animal shelter to pick out your potential new pet and talk with them about any special supplies or food your new pet may need. Be sure to ask about any behavioral issues you should be aware of and if your new pet gets along well with others. Once you've got some information on your pet, go out and purchase the supplies you'll need to give your new pet a happy and healthy life.

2. Volunteer: If you simply cannot adopt right now, consider volunteering at a local pet shelter instead! Animal shelters rely on volunteers year-round to come in and help out around the shelter. Things you may end up doing include playing with the animals and socializing them, getting them some exercise, cleaning up their pens, feeding and watering them, as well as just hanging out with them so they have some type of human interaction.

3. Donate: If you just don't have the time, donate instead! It doesn't even have to be money. Animal shelters rely on supplies donations throughout the year. Be sure to reach out to your local shelter to find out exactly what they need. Sometimes, shelters have specific supplies they ask for.

4. Become a Foster: Maybe you want a pet, but can't commit to the long term care of it. If that's the case, consider becoming a foster! Fostering a dog is when you take in an animal while the rescue group find's the dog a forever home. Most of the time, you'll be working with a rescue group vs. an animal shelter. There are qualifications you'll have to meet in order to foster a dog, so be sure to reach out to a local rescue group ahead of time. Becoming a foster not only helps out rescue groups, but it also keeps animals out of shelters.


a man petting an senior dog at a animal shelter


If you've made the decision to adopt a shelter pet, let us be the first to say, CONGRATULATIONS! You may not realize it just yet, but for one lucky shelter pet, you've given them another chance at life. While you may be tempted to start your search with a puppy that needs to be rescued, consider an older pet instead. According to Priceconomics, who conducted their own study on the number of pets adopted in the US on, age, size, and breed has a lot to do with the outcome of being adopted. "The future is much bleaker for big, old, terriers, than it is for a young, small schnauzer."

While adopting an older pet may seem overwhelming at first, it comes with one of the biggest rewards. Older dogs are less likely to be adopted than younger dogs. So, chances are, if you've found an older dog at your local animal shelter, he or she has been there longer than the younger pups. It's important to remember that shelters do have a negative effect on dogs. One of the most common reasons older dogs are surrendered to shelters to because their caretaker died and there is no one else to take care of the dog. So, the dog is ripped from a home its known all its life and put into a shelter until it's adopted. All of the change can affect a dog negatively and can turn even the friendliest dog into a nervous, anxious, and scared dog.

As you search for your rescue, keep the older ones in mind. There are a lot of pros to owning a older dog. First, you won't have to deal with any accidents as older dogs (unless they've been neglected their entire life) are already potty trained! Second, older dogs do not have as much energy as puppies. While we do encourage you to set aside an hour a day for a walk and playtime to tire out your dog, it's not a must if you own an older pet. Once you get your new pet home, give him some time to explore your home. Show him where the food and water bowls are, the backyard, and his bed. Be sure to keep the environment as calm as possible during the first few hours. As the days go on and you see your new pet starting to relax and come out of his shell, be sure to encourage him with treats and playtime. While you may not get as much time as you'd like due to age, the memories and extra chance you give your pet at life is what you did to make a difference in a shelter pet's life. So remember, don't let age stop you from considering a particular dog. Age is nothing but a number to some.


A woman petting larger dogs inside a cage at an animal shelter


Did you know that larger dogs are less likely to be adopted than smaller dogs? While it seems completely absurd, it's true. A couple reasons larger dogs have a harder time getting adopted is because of space issues, strength of the dog, cost, fear of size, inconvenience, and shelter stress.

Let us be the first to say, large dogs do require more space. So, as you consider a large dog, be sure you have enough space for her to run and stretch her legs. If you live in an apartment complex with no green space, you're going to have to make time everyday to take your dog out for a walk. If you live in a single-family home with a backyard, be sure to dog-proof your backyard before your new furry family member arrives.

Cost is another reason people don't consider large dogs. While food is more expensive for larger dogs because they eat more of it, that's really the only things that's expensive about a larger dog. Vet visits for small dogs and large dogs cost the same. So, don't let cost stop you from considering adopting a larger dog.

Another reason some do not consider large dogs is because they fear the strength and size of the dog. However, with proper training and a little TLC, there is no reason to fear a large dog. As long as you give your dog the proper attention, exercise, and diet, your dog will be happy. It's a fact, larger dogs do require more space, more food, and bigger items such as bedding, kennels, and toys. However, the bigger the dog, the more love you get back at the end of the day.


a black cat inside a cage at an animal shelter


Of course, we can't forget about the 1000's of cats in shelters across the US on this national pet holiday. According to Priceconomics, there are an estimated 3.2 million cats in shelters today. And while that may seem like a high number, it's actually down from previous years!

One thing that differs about people shopping for cats vs. dogs, is that most people start that cat search at their local shelters instead of looking for a cat breeder. Also, it's a known fact that cat's do better in pairs, so pet experts really do encourage adopting two cats instead of just one. While these are all positive facts about cat adoptions, there's still a lot of work to be done.

If you decide to adopt a shelter cat this National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, congratulations! Giving a cat a new chance at life is one of the most exciting things. While cats do tend to do that they want, when they want, try to get their feeding time on a daily schedule. Be sure to include interactive playtime at least once a day with a cat wand or cat balls. Make sure you scoop your cat's litter pan at least once a day to prevent any accidents outside of the litter box. As your cat adjusts to his or her new life and he chooses your lap at the end of the day to purrr on, remember you've made a difference in a cat's life.


National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day was established to help raise awareness to the thousands of pets in shelters today. This year, consider welcoming a new pet into your home to help bring that number down. When you adopt instead of shop, you're giving a dog or cat a second chance at life. And that's all that matters. Start your search today by clicking here!

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