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Top 10 Reasons Dogs go to Shelters

We have all seen the commercials on television; dogs in their cages, eyes wide and sad, pawing at a cage while an announcer informs us these pets need a home. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 6-8 million pets enter into shelters each year, and half of those pets are put down. But why would someone give up a good dog? Are they not in the shelter because they are a “bad” pet or they did something wrong? Here are the top ten reasons why many dogs find their way into shelters:

Moving: Moving is cited as being the number one reason why animals are given up. When a family cannot take a pet with them, and they cannot find a home for him with a friend, they are faced with a difficult decision about what to do. Many times, the solution ends up being placing the dog for adoption in an animal shelter and hoping for the best.

Landlord Issues: Many landlords do not allow renters to have pets. Issues such as loud barking or property damage can also be a cause of a landlord saying the dog has to leave.

Cost: Unfortunately, taking care of a dog costs more than love. There is food, vet bills, beds, collars, leashes, license fees, toys, treats, and other fees to consider. Many families do not take this into account before choosing to get a dog. Once things like grooming services or vet bills are realized, the dog may no longer be as cute or fun as the owners once thought.

Time Issues: Dogs do take up a lot of time. Often times, parents acquire a dog for their child in hopes of the child being responsible and caring for it, only to later realize that the child’s interests have gone elsewhere. Dogs require walks, food, playing, and attention. With the frazzled lifestyles many working adults live, the dog can be left with limited exercise opportunities or little attention. This can lead to an owner giving a dog up in hopes of someone else taking better care of him.

Inadequate Facilities: Many times, people will find a stray or homeless dog that they simply do not have the space or suitable accommodations for. These dogs become shelter dogs.

Dog is Old: Many times, once a dog is no longer the cute and bouncy puppy he once was, families lose interest. They want a dog that will run and play fetch, not sleep on the sofa. This can lead to families giving their pet to a shelter.

Too Many Other Pets: Many families bite off more than they can chew and end up with more pets than they can afford/handle. This can be caused by pets not being spayed or neutered as well.

Personal Issues: Often times, in situations of divorce or ill children, families will give up their pets to cut costs and try to make things easier. Sometimes, giving up the dog cannot be avoided, but often times it is just an excuse.

Biting: This behavior is often viewed as aggressive, especially by parents of young children. When buying a puppy, they often do not know that puppies teeth and therefore bite. While the dog may be biting for other reasons such as fear or being territorial, families often give the dog up to avoid dealing with the negative behavior.

No Home for Litter: When families do not spay or neuter their pets, they often end up with an unwanted litter. While there are many sites dedicated to giving away free puppies, the dogs often do not find homes and are given up to shelters.  

No matter what the reasoning, it is important to remember that shelter dogs are not “bad” dogs, and they need love just as much as the puppy in the pet store. Do not hesitate to take in a rescue dog; it may be the best thing you ever do.

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