Are Shelter Dogs SAFE? – Answered (With Adoption Tips)

Are shelter dogs safe?

There is lots of debate about dog shelters and whether or not they do more harm than good. While shelters are generally safe places for stray dogs, they can pose some risks.

By looking at the pros and cons, we’ll provide you with all the information you need for an informed decision.

Are Shelter Dogs Safe From Disease?

Diseases can easily spread among shelter dogs due to the close quarters.
If not properly managed, diseases can easily spread in dog shelters due to the close quarters.

First-timers and lifelong dog owners alike are concerned about the safety and hygiene standards of dog shelters.

Let’s start with diseases.

Are shelter dogs safe from disease?

This is a common and valid question among potential pet owners. The truth is, that all dogs – regardless of where they come from – can carry diseases.

While many shelters take great care to ensure that their animals are healthy and free of illness, because dogs are in such close quarters, it can be easy for disease to spread.

That said, when a dog is first brought to a shelter, they are typically given a health check by a veterinarian.

This check will look for any obvious signs of illness or disease and if any problems are found, the dog will be treated before being made available for adoption.

In addition, most shelters require all dogs to be up-to-date on vaccinations before being adopted, helping to protect the animal and the adopter from any potential illnesses.

While no dog is guaranteed to be 100% healthy, shelter dogs are generally safe from disease with vaccinations.

So, if you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, don’t be afraid to visit your local shelter – you just might find your new best friend waiting there for you!

Read our related article, Are Shelters Bad for Dogs? Discover more about the potential downsides to shelters in this guide.

Are Shelter Dogs Spayed or Neutered?

Shelters do spay and neuter to prevent overbreeding.
Spaying and neutering dogs help to prevent overbreeding, which leads to more dogs being abandoned at shelters.

All dogs brought into shelters are spayed or neutered before being put up for adoption.

There are many reasons for this practice, the most important of which is to help reduce the number of homeless animals.

Spaying and neutering also have health benefits for dogs and can help to make them more even-tempered.

Sterilized dogs are also less likely to roam, which reduces the risk of them being hit by cars or getting into fights with other animals.

As a result, spaying and neutering is an important part of responsible dog ownership, and all shelter dogs are spayed or neutered before being adopted.

Read our related article, Are Shelters Good for Dogs? to explore how shelters can benefit stray and lost dogs.

Are There Any Behavioral Issues With Shelter Dogs?

Some shelters may put dogs through behavioral training.
Some shelters will provide obedience training to dogs to make them more adoptable.

Behavioral issues with shelter dogs are not uncommon as many of the dogs that come into shelters have never had proper training or socialization.

As a result, shelter dogs may exhibit various types of bad behaviors, such as barking, chewing, and jumping.

While some of these behaviors can be corrected with training, others may be more difficult to change.

For example, a dog that has never been taught not to jump on people may continue to do so even after he is adopted into a new home.

In addition, a dog that has been poorly socialized may be fearful of new people and situations and as a result, he may bark excessively or hide when approached.

If you’re considering adopting a shelter dog, it’s important to be aware of these potential behavioral issues and be prepared.

However, with patience and training, most shelter dogs can learn to overcome their bad habits and become loving, obedient companions.

Read More: How Long Does a Shelter Keep a Dog? Shelters can only keep dogs for a certain period of time. Learn why.

The Adoption Process

The adoption process for a shelter dog can vary depending on the shelter, but there are some common steps.

  • First, potential adopters will fill out an application, which includes questions about their home, lifestyle, and experience with dogs.
  • Once the application is approved, adopters will meet with a shelter representative to discuss which dog would be the best fit.
  • Adopters will then have a chance to meet the dog and decide if they would like to go through with the adoption.
  • The final step is to sign an adoption contract and pay the adoption fee.

Some shelters also offer trial periods, so adopters can take the dog home for a few days to see if it’s a good fit before completing the adoption.

While you are meeting the shelter representative, be prepared with questions of your own.

If you’re not sure what questions to ask, watch this video for ideas:

Read More: Do Dog Shelters Kill Dogs? Here’s what to know about euthanasia in shelters.

Are There Any Benefits to Adopting a Shelter Dog?

There are many benefits to adopting a shelter dog.

  • Shelter dogs are typically already house-trained, which can save new owners a lot of time and effort.
  • Most shelter dogs are already accustomed to living with other animals, making them a good choice for families with pets.
  • Adoptions from shelters typically cost less than purchasing a dog from a breeder or pet store.
  • Most importantly, by adopting a shelter dog, you’re giving an animal in need a loving home.

Many wonderful shelter dogs are waiting to be adopted and eager to find their fur-ever home.

Read More: Do Dog Shelters Have Puppies? If you’re searching for a puppy, your local shelter may be a good place to find one!


There are many factors to consider when determining whether or not a shelter dog is safe.

The first is the health of the dog. If the dog is sick, it may pose a threat to other animals or people.

The second is personality and temperament. A shelter dog may be aggressive, but it may also be scared and anxious.

The third factor is the history of the dog. If the dog has a history of violence, it may not be safe to adopt.

Overall, adopting a shelter dog can be a safe and rewarding experience, but it’s important to do your research before making a decision.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

You can read more about me in our about us page

Connect with me:

Leave a Comment