Age Limits for Adopting Dogs + Why They Matter

Finding a puppy can be difficult, especially with the age limits for adopting a dog. However, they exist for important reasons.

The search for a new pet is an exciting, but sometimes stressful, adventure for potential dog owners. often this can also be very frustrating. Shelters and animal sanctuaries across the United States have many different adoption rules and requirements related to the local demands that prospective pet parents face. It may seem like no two shelters go through the same adoption process, and they certainly don’t have the same adoption fees.

However, it’s important to remember that rescues want to see dogs become happy family members in forever homes. Therefore, everything about the pet adoption process is unique to your area and each animal’s specific situation. The first step in the adoption process is to research local adoption centers in your area to find out their specific fees, application process, and adoption rules. Often overlooked, but one of the most important when it comes to the health and safety of every pet, are the age limits for adopting dogs in your area.

Why do rescues have adoption fees?

???? Many rescues operate as non-profit organizations, rescuing dogs and cats from local animal shelters to give them a better chance of adoption or, in some cases, avoid euthanasia; an underlying goal of many parts of the United States to receive No town to kill status. Rescues rely heavily on donations and volunteers for much of the necessary animal care they provide. Adoption fees cover the rest. Some things adoption fees go towards are things like:

  • Veterinary checks
  • Vaccination
  • ?Sterilized and sterilized care
  • microchip
  • Flea and Tick Treatments
  • Deworming
  • Necessary health care

Since rescues care most about animal welfare, they will take in pets that are considered difficult cases. Unfortunately, some of these animals may be deemed lost causes by state-run facilities and immediately euthanized. Yet rescue groups are doing everything they can to care for, cure and rehabilitate the animals. For example, if a dog arrives with broken legs and needs surgery, in addition to regular care, the money for this procedure comes from donations, so the total cost does not go to whoever adopts the puppy. Rescue furry friends in San Francisco states on its webpage that the typical cost of animal care is between $300 and $600. However, it depends on the animal, and older dogs and cats may cost more depending on their needs.

Navigate Rescue Adoption Apps

woman kneels before a dog through the bars

RELATED: How to Know You’re Finally Ready to Adopt a Puppy

Potential adopters may feel completely overwhelmed by the adoption requests from rescue groups; they are about as long as a rental application and very comprehensive. Most rescues try to figure out what type of pet owner you are and what type of dog will be best for you and your family. Some pet owners will do best with adult dogs, while a large dog may be out of the question depending on a potential living situation. Other adopters can do better with a cat, and many adult cats are available for adoption from shelters across the country.

Most rescues offer online applications that potential adopters must complete before meeting potential pets. Prospective owners can note which new dog or cat they would like to adopt, although there is no guarantee that they will be matched with their first choice. The rescue will review the potential adopter’s application to see if it matches the animal’s breed, age and health needs. If they agree, the rescue will email or – as the Oregon Dog Rescue — call to make an appointment with the family. All current pets will meet with the potential new dog to ensure they are a good fit. Cat adoptions are a little different; existing cats usually don’t come to meet their potential best dog friends. Cats feel most comfortable in familiar surroundings, but adoption staff can give you some pointers.

If the interview is successful, the rescue will schedule an appointment for a home inspection. First, they want to see where you live and if it’s a good fit for your potential new pet. If the family environment suits you, you can sign a contract with your rescuer and have a new member in the family! Rescues try to complete the whole process within days, with many happening in less than a week.

Why Dog Rescues sets age limits for adoption

girl hugs dog
Many rescues have strict rules regarding the age of the potential adopter, including age limits for potential adopters. Many will not allow anyone under the age of 21 to adopt a pet, while others have rules about the age of children in the home. Some rescues won’t adopt families with children under 6, while others go up to 10 and under.

According to Furry Friends website, 80% of puppies returned within a year of adoption came from families with children under the age of 8. However, they have good reason to limit the age of adopting a dog; for them, it is due to the rate of return. Unfortunately, many returning puppies weren’t properly trained before adoption, and the families didn’t have the time either. Conversely, older pets may not have the patience for small children and the noise and energy that comes with these settings. An older dog may also be used to attention from children and may not know how to handle it, especially if his ears and tail are pulled.

According to human society from Silicon Valley, children under 12 are the most frequent victims of dog bites; remember if you have children in this age group to educate them about approaching and handling dogs long before you bring a new one into your home. Unfortunately, you can’t fully guarantee that a dog will be tolerant of your children, so rescues simply eliminate that risk by setting age limits.

Did you adopt through a pet rescue? Let us know on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page.

READ MORE: Pet adoption failures happen, and even good owners aren’t immune

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