The Secret Life of Pets is coming to theaters this week. The movie tells the story of what adventures our pets have while we are at work all day. In the film, the main character Katie has a terrier named Max, who is king of the castle. Things get wild when she adopts Duke, a mutt from the pound.

If you're taking your family to see The Secret Life of Pets, there is a good chance you're going to want a new addition to your family when you get home. Adopting a pet is a great way to help save an animal's life and add a member to your family, but it's important to check your local shelters before shopping at a pet store or breeder.Group of pets, isolated on white

Here are 5 reasons to adopt a pet from a local shelter instead of buying one.

  1. Adopting is affordable. Pets from shelters and rescue groups tend to cost less and are sometimes even free. Shelter animals are often already spayed, neutered and vaccinated. Those are vet bills you won't have to pay in the future.
  2. You're fighting puppy mills. When someone buys a dog from a store, they are likely supporting puppy mills, which are cruel, large-scale breeding operations. The dogs in these places are forced to have litter after litter and often don't get to leave their cages.
  3. Many shelter dogs or cats are already house trained. Depending on where your pet came from, it might already be housebroken or trained to use a litterbox. Some pets also may know basic commands, so you won't have to spend money on training and you won't have to worry about your rugs being chewed.
  4. Shelters are overpopulated. Many shelters require animals to be sterilized because it is the only 100% effective form of birth control. This helps ensure the pets are not contributing to the serious overpopulation problem. So many stray animals are brought to shelters and more than 2.7 million animals are euthanized each year. Instead of turning a blind eye to this problem, save an animal from euthanasia and adopt today.
  5. You can choose from many different breeds, ages and sizes. You can get the animal that fits in your family. If you already have a pet, ask if you can bring your pet to the shelter to interact with your new pet. By the time you bring them home, they will already be great friends!

Visit your local shelter or check online to find pets looking for a home like yours. Petfinder.com and AdoptAPet.com are great options to search for pets near you.

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