If you are thinking about adopting a pet, it is worthwhile looking for your new companion at an animal shelter. As well as dogs and cats, other animals that you perhaps wouldn’t expect to find there are also waiting for a new home. Have a look at our list to see the sorts of animals available for adoption from shelters throughout the UK.
Often the first animal that springs to mind when people think about a shelter, there are many dogs that need loving homes in shelters all around the country. Pure breeds, cross breeds and mixed breeds of every age, size, colour and temperament can be found, from tiny puppies to elderly dogs. Although you are not always guaranteed to find the exact breed you want in a shelter, it is worth considering adopting a dog that deserves a second chance rather than adopting a puppy from a breeder. You would also be helping to stop puppy farming.
Cats are another popular choice of pet to rehome. Although there are a wide variety of cats available at shelters, not many are pedigrees because the majority of UK cats are non-pedigrees. However, the amount of choice available means that you are bound to find the cat with the right temperament and personality for you at a shelter.
Many shelters rescue rabbits and there are many breeds, sizes and colours to choose from. Since they are sensitive creatures that don’t always enjoy being handled, they may not make good pets for children. Their need for stimulation means that rabbits are not always the easiest animals to care for, so if you are thinking of adopting one you need to take the time to research their requirements and whether you will be able to meet them. That’s not to say they don’t make brilliant and worthwhile pets as long as you are willing to devote the amount of time and effort needed to keep your rabbit happy and healthy. Rabbits are intelligent animals, and can provide the right person with a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment. Since they are highly social and enjoy company, consider whether it would be in the best interests of your rabbit to adopt two.
4. Horses and ponies
The amount of care a horse or pony requires must not be underestimated. Some can live longer than thirty years, so deciding to rehome one is an enormous commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Often horses and ponies are abandoned because their owners are unable to provide them with what they need. They can be very expensive to care for on a day to day basis, and vet bills need to be taken into account too. Make sure you calculate whether you are financially able to provide for a horse before deciding to adopt one.
5. Small animals
Sometimes people don’t realise that small animals can also be adopted. Guinea pigs, mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils can all be rehomed from various shelters around the UK. Many of these animals prefer not to live alone, so consider whether you would be able to adopt more than one. It is important not to underestimate the amount of care a small animal requires. You need to do your research so you can make your pet’s home as comfortable as possible, and to ensure that they will be free from anything harmful. For instance, lining your pet’s cage with the wrong type of shaving could prove lethal when they breathe in the fumes. They also need plenty of stimulation, so invest in many toys. Rather than buying your pet from a pet shop, consider all of the small animals at shelters that need a home.
Birds are often given up because their owner didn’t realise the amount of care they require. They are often seen as uncomplicated and low maintenance pets when they are actually the opposite. Whether you are looking for a parrot or a budgie, there are shelters throughout the UK that rescue unwanted and abandoned birds of many sizes and colours. Some birds can live for over thirty years, whilst certain types of parrot can live up to a hundred years, so bear in mind that adopting a bird is a long time commitment. Their intelligence and love for socialising means they have very specialised needs, so ensuring those needs are met is paramount in providing the best home you can for them.
Reptiles including snakes, bearded dragons, iguanas and terrapins are available to adopt from some shelters. Research is vital as many often grow to be very large, so you need to consider whether you would be able to accommodate them once they grow to their full size. Many reptiles need their tank to be constantly cleaned and set at a certain temperature at all times, as well as regular health monitoring and pesticide application to deter mites. They have very specific needs, so think about whether you are fully committed to providing them.
8. Barnyard animals
Animals typically found on a farm, such as pigs and goats, are sometimes available for rehoming at certain shelters. Some of these animals have been rescued from terrible cruelty or were victims of the live export trade. Others were neglected because their owners couldn’t look after them. However, you must not adopt an animal of this sort for the novelty value of having an unusual pet. You need to be sure you can provide the appropriate amount of care the animal will need, including enough space for them to live and sleep in as well as the correct food. Most will not be able to live indoors so they will require ample outdoor space. It is important that extra factors such as these are considered when adopting such an animal.
9. Large rodents
Some shelters have large rodents for rehoming such as chinchillas and degus. However, it is vital you research the type of rodent carefully because they all have different needs and preferences. Chinchillas are often timid creatures that like a quiet home and don’t always enjoy being handled, so for this reason they are probably unsuitable for a home with young children. They are also nocturnal, whereas other rodents such as degus are more active during the day. Degus prefer living in busy homes with lots of human interaction but similar to chinchillas, they don’t like to be handled much. Both rodents are social and prefer living with others of their species, and they both need large wire cages with varying levels and plenty of space to run around in, complete with lots of things to gnaw and chew. There are some shelters in the UK that specialise in rescuing large rodents.
Ferrets are a surprisingly common resident at a lot of animal shelters throughout the UK. They are part of the mustelid family along with badgers, otters and weasels, and are thought to be descendants of the European polecat. Their poor eyesight means that they are prone to biting a lot so they may not make the best pets for children, but if handled from a young age they can be socialised. They are sometimes considered to be notoriously difficult pets because of their chewing and digging, but they enjoy sleeping for as long as twenty hours a day. Animals of all species have individual personalities and ferrets are no excpetion, although they are often described as ‘cheeky’, ‘inquisitive’ and ‘mischievous’. If you are considering adopting a ferret, bear in mind the challenges that owning one may bring and decide whether you are prepared.
Insuring your pet gives you peace of mind that you and your pet will be covered if anything were to happen. Animal Friends offer a range of policies for you to choose from.
This is a sponsored post for the Love Rehoming campaign.