What’s important to you when you’re looking to adopt a pet? Some of us want a pal who is going to keep up on our runs around the neighborhood. Others want a companion who will snuggle up on the couch with snacks while we binge watch our favorite series. We choose our dogs based on who barks and who doesn’t. Who sheds and sheds less. But there are those out there who have other priorities. It’s said that we should never judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what is happening in shelters all over the world.
It may be hard to believe, but up to 44% of people say that a cat or dog’s physical appearance is important to them when considering which pet to adopt. It’s not unusual to fall in love with a furry face you spot online or through a kennel door – but that isn’t what we’re talking about. According to a study done by the RSPCA, many potential adopters will disregard shelter pets who they don’t think are photo-worthy. 56% of people surveyed admitted that they would pass on an adoptable pet if they didn’t think it was “cute” enough. To many people, having a dog that photographs well for social media is a top priority.
“Cute” breeds may be more difficult to find in shelters, but there are still plenty of “less desirable” breeds waiting in kennels for their families to find them. These are the less-cuddly breeds, or the dogs who have had troubled pasts. These dogs deserve homes and families just as much as any pup, but get passed over because they’re not “pretty.”
Why is choosing a dog based on appearance a bad idea?
Adopting a pet is a life-long decision. There are several things to take into consideration, the least of which is how many likes your new pet will get from your followers. When you choose based only on appearance, you’re setting yourself and your new pet up for failure. When people find that their new, super-cute pet doesn’t really fit into their lifestyle, these adorable faces tend to turn up in shelters.
This trend has played out with different breeds over the years. There was recently a surge in demand for French Bulldogs, which is thought to be in part because of their popularity with social media influencers on Instagram. These dogs are very cute, however, they’re also brachycephalic, and often need surgery to correct elongated palettes. They’re also known to be prone to separation anxiety, so they may not be the best choice for someone who prefers to spend their time away from home.
To fill demand, irresponsible breeders ignore health issues in favor of breeding more puppies quick. Someone who is looking to get a few cute pics for their Instagram profile gets a lot more than they bargained for in medical bills and destroyed furniture.
As the popularity of Game of Thrones rose, several people fell in love with the Stark families’ dire wolves, played in the series by Siberian Huskies. Many people rushed to adopt the breed, not knowing what they were getting into. Siberian Huskies are often found in shelters because people love their look, but not the endless shedding and endless energy the breed possesses.
What should you be looking for in a pet?
It’s not wrong to take a pet’s looks into consideration if it matters to you – however, it should not be the only thing that matters. When you’re looking to bring a new pet home, consider whether you have the time to give that pet the exercise and attention they need. Can you handle the financial responsibilties? Not just food and toys, but also medical care and grooming. Will they do well with other pets or children you have in your home? How many ties a day will they need to exercise and are you up for it? There’s so much more to think about than just looks.
Furthermore, remember that no matter what pet it is that you decide is the right fit for you, just about any breed can be found in a shelter, so adopt, don’t shop! You’ll have a new, loving member of the family who is happy to find a place where he can be forever – not just the time it takes to get a few selfies in.
The post RSPCA Study Shows People are Adopting Dogs Based on Looks for Social Media “Likes” appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.