Generally, shelter dogs are checked over for any illnesses or imperfections that they may have and they display these things on his or her kennel card. But, with the amount of dogs that circulate through a shelter at any point in time, it is a wonder that they can do the amount of work they already do for the dogs. Some things will not be known and these are things that you, as the adopter, need to keep in mind and watch for when you’re looking for a dog to adopt.
Always make sure that the dog is not jumpy from sudden movements or the lift of your hand. This may be an indication that he was abused and it is something you will need to work with if you adopt him. However, don’t let this steer you away from him. Learning the trust of an abused dog is often a very rewarding thing to do.
Other important signs to watch for are those that indicate that the dog is sick. He may have eye goop, diarrhea, or he may be sneezing or coughing. These are signs that the shelter usually notices, but if they don’t, it is a good idea to have the dog seen by the shelter vet and have him cared for by them, either living with you or at the pound –depending on his illness of course. Nobody wants to bring a dog home and then realize that they are sick. Also, if you have dogs at home and this dog at the shelter is contagious, you do not want to bring home the illness to your dogs.
Always make sure the dog you are looking into is healthy and that he fits well with your family.