Before You Adopt: Consult a Vet

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If you were planning to buy a horse, of course, you’d have the animal examined first. For horses, a veterinarian’s inspection is normally expected before the sale, so why wouldn’t you do the same for a dog or cat? Having a pet checked out at the time of adoption can save pet owners a lot of time, money and heartache.

Yes, rescuing a pet should make you feel good, but before you let your heart decide, consider an inspection by your veterinarian to check the pet’s health. This is especially important with older pets. Many shelters have veterinarians on staff, so be sure to request a copy of any veterinary inspections that have been done.

It’s smart to do the inspection right away. Make it your next stop after the adoption. Otherwise your attachment will overwhelm any problems discovered.

Unfortunately, pet lovers tend to make adoption decisions with their hearts, not with their heads. Sure, that puppy in the window may be adorable. That kitty’s eyes may call out, “save me!” But often, by the time an owner finally gets around to taking their new pet to the veterinarian’s office, a bond has been formed; when they discover that their new pet has health issues that may cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to treat, it’s too late to make a rational decision.

A veterinary inspection will let you determine your new pet’s overall health, make sure their vaccinations are up to date, learn about proper nutrition for your specific pet and any behavior problems that you might expect. It will arm you with knowledge.

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Even if you end up deciding to adopt a pet who has medical or behavior issues, you’ll be better prepared to address the situation. Pets with health issues or modest behavior issues can be wonderful if you are aware and well-equipped.

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