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Clear the Shelters 2020: What to know before adopting a new pet

We ask a vet all the questions you're probably wondering.

CLEVELAND — COVID-19 has many thinking about taking home a new friend from an animal shelter, and that's the mission of NBC and Telemundo's current Clear the Shelter's campaign. There is a lot to think about before you adopt, though, no matter what kind of animal you plan to bring home.

Using the example of a dog, 3News took a series of questions to veterinarian Stacy Bridges, who works for the Stark County Sheriff's Office dog warden. The first question: How to know which pet is the right fit?

"So a lot of people don't realize, when you get this cute little puppy that's so calm, in about 6 to 12 months that puppy is going to get a lot bigger. Sometimes if it's a rescue, you don't know the size, or if you do, you don't know how much they play, how much they mouth, how much they jump."

Bridges says using tactics -- like actual yelping to slightly scare an animal -- can stop them from doing all those little things. Some of those annoying habits can also just be credited to the "puppy stage," so it's important to train your animal. But remember that right now, you and your family are the trainers.

"Some people are doing agility courses in their back yard, which I think is phenomenal, because it's fun for you and it's fun for them," Bridges says.

She recommends 30 minutes of training in the morning and evening, or exercises throughout the day. The more repetition, the better.

A family looking to adopt also needs to consider the shots and medication your animal will need. For dogs, flea prevention and tick medication guidelines can be confusing and full of myths. 

"So heartworm prevention should be year-round, and it's spread by mosquitoes. So many people say, 'I only take my dogs out to go potty, he's got really think fur, it's always indoor only so there's no concern for heart worm disease,' and those are all myths," Bridges explains. "So another myth is that if you don't have lakes behind you or near you, there's no mosquitoes and that's not true. I work at the shelter and we have a lot amount of heart worm positive dogs."

Be sure to find a good vet when you plan to adopt. For all information on how to adopt during the Clear the Shelters campaign, click here