17 Reasons to adopt a shelter or rescue dog

If you’ve been considering the adoption vs buying a dog debate and are undecided, or if you are leaning towards adopting and want some reassurance that it’s the right choice, you have landed on the right page!

Check out our compilation of the best reasons to adopt a dog right here …

Table of Contents

1. They’ll keep you active

One thing dogs do need is exercise! 

They love a good walk, depending on the age and breed some will enjoy a good run off the lead and play fetch for hours. Some will even join you for a jog or run alongside while you cycle, while others will just like a bit of fresh air and to trot along and have a good sniff of everything.

Owning a dog is a good chance to get active, out and about, enjoy the fresh air and get your steps in each day! 

2. They’re good for your mental well-being

There are endless studies that show having a dog is great for your mental health. They’re great for helping with depression, anxiety, stress, and other conditions. 

Dog owners tend to generally feel happier in themselves and reap the psychological benefits that a furry friend can bring, and that’s one of the great reasons to adopt a dog.

If you choose an older dog, they can bring a therapeutic sense of calm as they tend to be more chilled and relaxed. Adopting a dog can also fend off feelings of loneliness as they make incredible companions.

By adopting a shelter dog you’ll gain a friend who can make you feel good and cheer you up when you’re down. Many breeds are very in tune with your feelings and appropriately reactive to your mood too, so you may find yourself with big sympathetic kisses just when you need them.

3. It’ll make you feel good

What could make you feel better than giving someone a second chance at a happy life?! It’s a good and positive thing to do and will give you a real sense of purpose.

Although there are many reasons why a dog may end up in a shelter, it is possible that your adoptee may have previously been part of an abusive or neglectful household. 

If you can provide a safe and loving home and help to rehabilitate and socialize an animal that’s had an unfortunate past, then what better sense of fulfillment can there be? 

Adopting a dog is undoubtedly a very good deed, there are far too many unwanted animals who have ended up in a shelter through no fault of their own. To take one into your home and have them live out their days in contentment as a valued part of your life is massively rewarding.

4. They’re entertaining

With their lovely personalities and playfulness, dogs are definitely clowns. There’s always fun to be had when there’s a dog in the house and it’s one of the greatest reasons to adopt a dog. 

Whether it’s you or the kids playing games with them, watching them goofing around by themselves in the yard, or finding that they have got themselves in a bit of a pickle while you weren’t looking, there’s always something to laugh about.

5. They’ll get you up in the morning

In fact, you’ll probably never need an alarm clock again! Even if you do set your alarm and consider going back to sleep – you can’t! Well you can, but you do need to get up and see to the dog’s needs first.

Breakfast and potty time, a bit of a scratch around the ears, and THEN you can slope back off to bed if you need to (the dog will probably join you) ….. But actually, while you’re up you may as well just make the most of the day huh?! 

Start it off with a good long walk, get the blood pumping, and then set about your day.

6. They’re good company

In fact, they’re great company! Adopt a dog and you’ll have a loyal best friend forever, they might follow you around and maybe shed their hair all over your new rug but they’ll totally love you

They will also ALWAYS be pleased to see you, which is nice .. especially if you have teenage children because at least someone in the house is happy to see you! They’re massively affectionate and they love a cuddle and a fuss.

7. They’ll protect you

I’m not talking about big black muscular guard dogs here, I’m talking about the mere fact that a dog’s natural instincts tend to alert you to anyone approaching your home. 

Even if you adopt the fluffiest, cutest little timid pooch in the rescue center, it is likely that they will have some level of natural guarding instinct

Just the sound of a dog barking can put off intruders and act as an alarm. So there’s a sense of being protected there … even if it is usually just from that pesky mailman!

8. They make a great family member

The kids love playing with them, your friends love seeing them, your Mum now calls herself ‘Grandma’ – you get the picture, everyone loves a fluffy member of the family. 

Adopting a dog is an important lesson in life for children too, one that they can be a part of and proud of. Not only from the aspect of re-homing them but the responsibility of caring for them and the level of commitment that owning a pet requires.

9. You can try before you ‘buy’

Many rescue centers will allow you to foster a dog before committing to rehoming them permanently. This is a great opportunity to get a true sense of the dog’s personality and behavior. 

Being in a rescue center is not a great environment for a dog (no surprise there) and so they’re unlikely to be demonstrating their true potential when you go to visit. 

Taking them out of the center and giving them the chance to stay with you is a great way to assess if they are suited to your lifestyle, your home, your family, and to any other pets you may have.

10. It’s easier on your purse

Adopting is often a lot cheaper than buying a puppy from a reputable breeder. Of course, there are still costs involved, you’ll need to pay an adoption fee and consider the costs of vet bills, insurance, and food. But overall it will cost you a lot less than the high markups of some breeds.

You’ll also avoid any unscrupulous breeders, it can be difficult to identify if your pup is coming from backyard breeders or a puppy mill as they can often go to great lengths to deceive you, but with adoption there is absolutely none of that to worry about.

11. They’ll be checked and up to date health wise

As standard, reputable rescue centers and shelters will ensure all the dog’s veterinary needs are attended to, and that the animal is healthy.

They will be up to date with any vaccines, spayed or neutered, microchipped, and often have had health assessments to screen for any other conditions. 

Often their health care is covered for a period of time after the adoption takes place, or you are given complimentary pet insurance for a short time.

Suggested reading: Ways to identify a reputable dog rescue shelter

12. You’re saving more than just one life – one of the great reasons to adopt a dog

It’s always a possibility that a dog will live out its days in a shelter and not be lucky enough to find a loving home.

For some, sadly that will end by being put to sleep 🙁 By adopting a shelter or rescue dog you are not only saving one life, there’s a space free’d up for another animal who needs help.

13. They’re already trained

Remember not all dogs have ended up looking for a new home because of behavioral problems, by adopting a more mature dog you can get a better sense of their temperament and personality. They tend to be a bit calmer and you can assess how they will fit with your lifestyle.

There is no guarantee that they’ll be impeccably behaved and do 50 different tricks BUT by skipping the puppy phase you’ll almost certainly have a dog that understands basic commands, isn’t destructive, and is probably house trained.

14. There’s more choice

By adopting a dog from a shelter you’ll be able to select from different breeds and take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of the staff. 

They’ll have expert know-how about the different breeds, their requirements, and temperaments, and be able to advise you accordingly, so you can make sure you get the perfect buddy.

You also will definitely have the dog you thought it was too – you hear of people bringing a puppy into their home only to find as it grows up that it is a different breed to what they had been told. 

The dogs will also usually have had a behavioral assessment and as part of the adoption process, you receive ongoing support with any additional training and behavioral work.

The majority of shelters and rescues now list the dogs they have available for adoption on pet adoption websites such as adoptapet.com and rescueme.org enabling you to see, at a glance, many of the pooches that are seeking a new home.

Suggested reading: Questions to ask when adopting a rescue dog, Why is it so hard to adopt a dog from rescue?

15. You’ll be supporting a charity

By choosing adoption you’ll be showing your support for a charitable organization and be helping them to continue to provide such an essential service. 

It’s easy to get carried away with the mundane day-to-day schedule, but doing something good for charity is a great feeling.

16. You’ll have something to brag about

People love a happy ending and a good story – you can tell anyone who’ll listen about this great thing you did, how great it has made you feel, and how much you love your new dog.

Not only is it something to brag about, but it’s something that might inspire and encourage others to also consider adopting a dog.

It’s something to really feel proud of … and it also makes for a great selfie and social media post!

Suggested reading: First 24 hours with rescue dog

17. It’s a chance to make friends

Getting out and about with your dog for walks and training is one of the best reasons to adopt a dog and a chance to get talking to other like-minded dog lovers in the community. 

You’ll most likely begin by nodding in recognition to the faces who become familiar as you frequent the same dog walking spots, but dogs are a great conversation starter and will obviously be something you have in common with other dog walkers.

Some areas even have organized group walks. Either way, being out and about is a great chance to get to know people. 

You should always be mindful of your dog’s behavior and confident in their socialization. Likewise, you should be cautious of approaching any dogs or dog walkers who may need a bit of space.

Looking to get started? Check out our collection of the Best Pet Adoption Websites

Suggested reading: Reasons dogs are returned after adoption

reasons to adopt a dog
reasons to adopt a dog

A final word on reasons to adopt a dog

Dog adoption is something that is very close to my heart having rescued Sheba, a springer spaniel and collie cross as a child, and Blue, an Italian Spinone in my late teens. 

Sheba had previously been mistreated, she had a few issues with men in particular, and was easily frightened.

However, she settled well, and with consistent training and encouragement from the whole of our family she became a confident and well-behaved dog with no issues …. she was just incredibly greedy!

At the ripe old age of 41, I can honestly say that adopting Sheba is one of my most treasured childhood memories. An experience that has influenced me throughout my life.

If you’re considering reasons to adopt a dog rather than buy a puppy, both experiences have their pros and cons, but adoption is so very rewarding, that in my opinion, it wins hands down every time.

Whatever you decide upon, I wish you the very best of luck. I would love to hear about your experiences of adopting a dog, or where you’re at if you haven’t quite got there yet, please do leave your comments below! 

Leave a Comment