When adopting an animal, not only are you gaining a new best friend, but you are also giving a pet a forever home. When looking into adopting an animal, it’s important to know the facts first. Many people make the mistake of taking home a pet from a store or unregistered farm, which could possibly put you and the animal in danger. Before adopting your new friend, understand the adoption process first:

Adopt From a Shelter
The best place to adopt a pet is through a shelter or rescue. Shelters have an amazing selection of animals looking for a new home. Most have cats, dog, birds and even guinea pigs that are in need of a good home. In fact, every year 6–8 million animals will find themselves in a shelter or rescue, but only half of them will be adopted. There are sites and resources at your disposal to find the specific breed you’re looking for and which shelter it’s available. Many people fear an animal from a shelter will be aggressive because it came from an abusive family, but most of the animals have been put there due to families moving or landlord issues.

Adopting from a shelter or rescue is also much cheaper than going to a pet store. The price of vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, microchip, dewormer and other necessities for your pet are all included in the adoption fee. Shelters and rescues also provide information on pet care, suggestions for good veterinarians and some do a check-in to make sure everything is going perfectly. These are just some of the many reasons to adopt from shelters and rescues.

Stay Away From Pet Stores
With so many animals available for adoption in shelters and rescues, it’s important to stay away from adopting animals from pet stores. Not only do pets in shelters desperately need a home, but nearly every animal found in pet stores come from puppy mills. In puppy mills, puppies are raised in inhumane conditions and overbred to be sold in pet stores. When buying from a pet store, there is really no way of knowing if the animal is healthy.

Even if they come with a health certificate, this only confirms it was seen by a veterinarian for a brief checkup that does not include a check for genetic disorders, parasites or testing for diseases. They are also not tested for Giardia and Brucellosis which are known diseases found in puppy mills and are contagious to humans. They also often have worse psychological issues than animals found in a shelter. These psychological issues can cause aggression in the animal’s adulthood and it will also be more likely to run away from home.

Do Your Research
Before adopting your pet, make sure it is something you are ready for. Pets come with many responsibilities that people do not think about before buying. You must look into the place you are living now and be sure that you’re allowed to have pets. Also look at the size of your home to see if you have enough room. The breed or animal you want might be suitable for the home you have now, which is why it’s important to do your research beforehand. Make sure to take your time during the adoption process. If you don’t find the right pet on your first or second trip to the shelter, don’t get discouraged. The pet that is right for you will be waiting for you to take them home soon enough.