National Pet Day: Adopt an Unlikely Companion

"Less adoptable" animals spend nearly four times longer in a shelter than the average pet, according to PetFinder

Baby Bunny Rabbit
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Monday marks the 10th annual National Pet Day, which celebrates four-legged friends around the country and helps find homes for adoptable animals.

Popular dog breeds such as the schnauzer and golden retriever are most likely to be adopted, along with tabby cats and gray cats, a Priceonomics study found

But according to a PetFinder survey, "less adoptable" animals spend nearly four times longer in a shelter than the average pet. The wait time can be years.

Common Shelter Breeds
The American pit bull terrier and the Chihuahua are the two most common dog breeds found in animal shelters, with thousands available for adoption, according to

Although pit bulls have a reputation for being aggressive, the American Temperament Test Society says the breed has a friendly demeanor, with a temperament rating of 86.9 percent.

Chihuahuas, which have been appearing more frequently in shelters due to their pop culture popularity in the early 2000s, are extremely loyal and love people.

Senior Pets
Often overlooked for wiggly puppies and furry kittens, older pets can spend years living in shelters. Many senior pets are already potty trained, know basic commands and have fewer needs than their younger counterparts.

They're generally calmer than puppies and kittens and adapt faster to family environments and first-time pet owners, according to the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Older pets are also less likely to damage your home or keep you up at night.

Over 4,000 adoptable rabbits are available through PetFinder. According to SaveABunny, a nonprofit rabbit rescue, rabbits are the third most common type of animals euthanized at shelters. They make great companions, but require a different type of work and attention than cats and dogs. Before making the decision to bring home a long-eared friend, be sure to know what to expect.

Unlike cats and dogs, rabbits require a specific indoor, caged environment. The ASPCA suggests having as large a space for your rabbit as possible, with room for a litter box with hay and plenty of food. Cages must be cleaned once or twice a week and litter boxes should be changed daily.

Rabbits need toys to chew and must also get plenty of exercise outside their cages. They need several hours a day to run and jump in a safe area, either inside or outside the house, according to the ASPCA. 

The number of people who own reptiles has doubled over the past 10 years, according to an American Pet Products Association report cited in Animal Sheltering Magazine. As a result, shelters are seeing a large number of reptiles abandoned by owners who find themselves unprepared.

It's important to research the type of reptile you plan to adopt. Familiarize yourself with the animal's required living environment and make sure you can accommodate the reptile when it's fully grown.

Though specific care depends on the type of animal, home environment is an important factor for all reptiles. These pets are cold blooded and require specific temperatures and lighting, according to Pets at Home's guidelines

For a good family pet, Reptiles Magazine suggests the bearded dragon and a variety of gecko species.

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