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October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month in Canada

October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, a time when people are encouraged to consider adopting a new four-legged friend. Pictured above is Summer.
October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, a time when people are encouraged to consider adopting a new four-legged friend. Pictured above is Summer. - Contributed

Thinking about a furry friend? Consider adoption

October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month – a time when animal rights groups and shelters across Canada encourage individuals and families to consider the advantages of adopting a dog.

Recent statistics show 80 per cent of dogs waiting to be returned to previous owners or those waiting to be adopted find positive outcomes in Canada. That number for Nova Scotia reaches as high as 90 per cent.

Heather Woodin is the director of programs with the Nova Scotia SPCA. During a recent interview, she said there is a cultural shift across Canada in terms of the value we put on dogs and how well we care for our dogs.

“Dogs are seen more as our companions now, whereas maybe years ago, they were working dogs, such as on a farm. And they were valued in that respect. Now, the majority of dogs are valued as companions, and they are part of our family,” Woodin said.

However, when it comes to adoption, Woodin said it is important to do some research into the dog’s medical history, history from previous owners and behaviour patterns to determine if the animal is a good match for your needs.

“Make sure this dog is suitable for what you are expecting,” she said.

She said to make sure the dog you choose matches your current lifestyle, so you are setting the dog up for the best chance of success. For example, difficulties can happen if you get an active dog, and you are not an active person. Then the dog needs something you cannot provide.

“At the SPCA, we can help you do that,” she says.

Petcurean, a BC-based family run pet food manufacturer, also wants to support Canadians considering pet adoption during Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month, or any month.

They encourage people to consider dog-proofing the areas your dog will be spending most of his time.

In a recent statement, Petcurean advised new dog owners to tape up loose electricalcords, store household chemicals out of reach, move breakables to a safe spot, and even consider baby gates to keep your dog contained to one area if necessary until you get used to each other and you get a better sense of the animal’s behavioural tendencies.

Christine Mallier is the company’s community relations manager. She said in a recent email interview considering food sensitivities may also play a part in transitioning an adopted dog into its new home.

“People seldom think about food allergies when it comes to adopting a dog,” Mallier said.

“Shelter dogs, just like people, can have food sensitivities that affect what they can eat and their overall quality of life. Common symptoms include scratching, excessive licking, coughing and sneezing.”

Mallier said those considering adoption should consider the reasons why they want to adopt a dog.

“This shouldn't be a spontaneous decision. Make sure you're adopting for the right reasons. Deciding to add a pet to your family and choosing the right dog to complement your life is not a decision to be taken lightly - both for your happiness and the dog's,” she said.

Mallier said dogs could provide you with all of the loving companionship, sloppy dog kisses and tail-wagging enthusiasm you hope to find.

“Your dog can be the trail-running buddy or the Netflix couch cuddler – whatever it is you’re looking for in a furry friend - if you just give them a chance.”

More information on adopting a shelter dog is available at https://yournextpet.ca or by calling the Nova Scotia SPCA toll free at 1-844-835-4798.

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