Are you considering adopting a dog in Oregon? We think that’s a great idea, and we’re here to help you do it right. Rescuing a dog is its own reward, and we’ve got the low-down on giving your pet a fun, healthy, and fulfilling post-shelter life.
Oregon is full of animal lovers, so you’ve got your pick of canine companions. Use this guide to help you find, adopt, and care for the pet that’s perfect for you.
Did you know that, according to The Humane Society, 68% of U.S. households have at least one pet? We’re willing to bet a sizeable number of those people live in Oregon. With the breathtaking natural landscapes of oceans, forests, and mountains, this state is a paradise for outdoorsy types. What better hiking companion than a dog?
But first, you need to find your new pet!
Start by looking at the available dogs in Oregon shelters (check out the list to get started). Be sure to read their descriptions, as this will help you get a feel for the dog’s personality.
If you want to increase your chances of finding the perfect pet, shelters typically see higher intake numbers during the spring and summer months. You may even be able to take advantage of discounted fees during these times, as shelters may run adoption drives to free up space. They may also reduce fees during specialty holidays like National Dog Day and Adopt a Dog Month.
If looking at each individual shelter’s website is overwhelming, there are a few ways to simplify the process:
- Search for a specific breed. Head to the American Kennel Club website to learn the characteristics of different types of dogs. While it’s hard to determine a shelter dog’s breed without expensive testing (and not all dogs of a breed share its characteristics), knowing traits of certain canine genetic types can help you narrow your search.
- Look only at one rescue to keep your search narrow.
- Search through aggregated websites like Adopt A Pet or Petfinder for maximum options.
Banned breeds in Oregon
While the state doesn’t ban certain dogs outright, a few cities in Oregon place restrictions on specific breeds.
Both Malin and Heppner classify pit bulls as “dangerous,” while Malheur County bans “fighting” dog breeds, including pit bulls, bulldogs, canary dogs, and tosas. Don’t worry, your shelter will have the lowdown on what dog breeds are allowed in your area.
The adoption process in Oregon
Each rescue has its own adoption process. Some are happy to perform same-day adoptions, while others require a home visit first. That said, all shelters include some variation of the following:
- First, find a dog that interests you and fill out an adoption application. Looking online lets you find a dog at your leisure, but going to a shelter in person allows you to meet with the dog immediately.
- Select a dog, and an adoption counselor tell you if that pet is still available. If so, schedule an introduction.
- Meet the dog to observe its behavior and how it interacts with you and others in your home. Unless the shelter requests otherwise, try to bring everyone who will live with the new pet (including other dogs) to this meeting.
- If it’s a match, start filling out adoption paperwork. The shelter will use the information you provide to contact your veterinarian and landlord (if you rent).
- After the paperwork comes a counseling session to prepare you for dog ownership. You and a member of the shelter staff will go over proper diet, training, medical care, and more for your dog.
- Once that is complete, you will pay the adoption fee and can take your pet home!
Easy, right? In fact, the hardest part of adopting a dog is finding the right one. Some people stumble upon the perfect pet the day they decide they want a dog, while others take a few weeks to find their match. Trust us, the search is worth it no matter how long it takes.
You should license your dog in Oregon as soon as possible. In fact, many shelters will allow you to complete this process the day you adopt.
Licenses are handled by local governments, so the fee you pay will vary depending on the county you live in. Most licensing fees are processed by and directly benefit that county’s animal care services. Check their website for prices and licensing guides.
During your shelter visit, the adoption counselor should provide you with a copy of all the medical information the rescue has pertaining to your dog. These records should include any treatment your dog received while staying in the shelter as well as any details known or inferred about its history.
Bring this information with you to your first veterinary visit, which should take place within a week of adoption. Your veterinarian will input these details into their system, which can help when diagnosing future ailments. What’s more, a vet check within the first week will catch any minor ailments the shelter was unable to treat, such as kennel cough.
Adopting a dog generally costs a few hundred dollars. That price can vary according to age, size, and rarity of the breed.
Below are adoption fees from some of the most frequented rescues in Oregon:
Puplandia Dog Rescue
- Cost: $250 for adult dogs that are at least 1 year old, $350 for puppies younger than 12 months. Puppies younger than 4 months have a spay/neuter deposit of $200.
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, micro-chipping
Oregon Dog Rescue
- Cost: $160-$460. Fees are based on the dog’s age, breed, and other traits. Adopters of unaltered puppies must pay a $500 deposit, refunded when the pet is brought back to the shelter for spay/neuter surgery.
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, micro-chipping, flea and deworming treatment, complimentary visit at Willamette Valley Animal Hospital, complimentary coupon for dog training
Oregon Humane Society
- Cost: $55-$600, depending on the dog’s age, breed, and health
- What it covers: spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, micro-chipping, 30-day pet insurance trial
Curious about where to start? Take a look at these top-rated animal shelters in Oregon:
- Family Dogs New Life Shelter: A same-day adoption rescue that primarily serves the Portland area.
- Oregon Dog Rescue: A dog-only shelter that socializes homeless animals prior to adoption.
- Oregon Humane Society: With a 150-year history, OHS adopts more animals than any other shelter on the West Coast.
- Puplandia Dog Rescue: A foster-based rescue serving the Portland area.
- Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon: A foster-based rescue that helps dogs ages 6 years and older.
- Seva Dog Rescue: A rescue in Willamette Valley that aids dogs in California and Washington state.
Your adoption counseling session will likely cover the annual cost of caring for a dog. Budgets vary depending on the person and the dog, but here’s an idea of the types of things you’ll need to buy.
Recurring purchases include:
- Dog walking services
- Dental care
- Exams and vaccinations
- Boarding/pet sitting
- Waste bags
- Parasite and flea/tick preventative
- Pet insurance
One-time purchases include:
- A collar or harness and a leash (the shelter may provide one or more)
- Grooming products
- Pet-friendly cleaning products
- Puppy pads
- Training sessions
Pet insurance isn’t a requirement, but it can give you peace of mind. Some dogs are prone to more expensive health issues than others, and insurance can save you from a hefty, unexpected bill. Compare quotes to your dog’s medical history, and see if your employer offers pet insurance as part of its benefits package.
A pet-ready home will make the transition from shelter life to new best friend that much easier for your new dog. Pet-proof your space, and add these items to your shopping list:
- Food, bowls, and treats
- Collar or harness and leash
- A crate that’s neither too small nor too big
- Grooming tools
- Enzyme cleaner for accidents
Congratulations! You’re in for a great time with your new dog. And don’t worry if you need a helping hand. Rover can connect you with dozens of qualified dog walkers and dog sitters in Oregon.