Dog adoption tips for your veterinary clients


Help prospective owners determine the right dog for them with these five questions.

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month and Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, so the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provided five questions for you and your clients to consider before bringing home a new pooch. When a client gives you the unique opportunity to counsel them on a new pet, here are some questions to highlight:

What kind of activity level are you seeking from your new pet?

Consider what you, your roommates or your family does in your free time to determine what qualities your new dog needs to possess. If you’re a runner and looking for a dog to run with you, consider a more active breed that won’t have trouble keeping up with you out on the trail.

What kind of special needs can dogs have?

Talk to clients considering a new pet about breeds that are more susceptible to certain health problems that can be expensive to treat. If a client is considering a mixed-breed dog, talk to them about what traits may be part of that dog’s DNA. For example, tell your clients that short-nosed dogs may be more likely to experience breathing problems, particularly in hot climates or when they are excited or stressed.

What are the costs of purchasing or adopting a dog?

There is likely going to be a one-time purchase or adoption fee for new pets, but discuss the long-term costs with clients. Help them think about budgeting for the new dog and include nutritious food, appropriate shelter and bedding, training, toys to provide mental stimulation, and regular veterinary care.

Where should you adopt the dog?

Point clients to shelters in your community. Some may have a great selection of dogs, including some purebreds, available for adoption.

How can you be sure a dog is healthy before you adopt it?

Tell clients to look for a dog with a) eyes that are clear and bright, b) a clean coat, c) that isn’t overweight or underweight, and d) that doesn’t show obvious signs of illness like a runny nose or diarrhea. And make sure they know that the best way to know for sure whether a dog is healthy is to take them to you for a checkup.

Have you adopted a dog? Send us a picture and let us know what your experience was like at

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