Dog Tips - FAQ's for OPHS Adopted Dogs


Congratulations on adopting a new dog!  We know that adopters often have questions about policies and other adoption-related topics, so hopefully this will help answer some of the most common questions!



  • All dogs and cats that are adopted from OPHS will have a microchip.  Microchips are most often located between an animal’s shoulder blades; however, there is a small possibility the chip could migrate to another location around the animal’s neck or chest. 
  • Microchips implanted by OPHS will be Home Again microchips and OPHS will send in the new owner registration for these microchips at no charge to the adopter. 
  • However, some animals will come in with microchips already implanted that are of a different brand (i.e., Avid, 24hrpetwatch, ResQ, etc.), and registered to someone else.  In this case, OPHS will keep record of this microchip number (with the new adopter’s information) in our own computer system and will also re-register that chip number with the Home Again database regardless of the brand of chip.  But, it will be the responsibility of the adopter to re-register the microchip with the original company it came from.  Be aware, there may be an additional cost involved with re-registering the microchip with its company. 

Important details

  1. If you move or change your phone number, PLEASE remember to update this information with your animal’s microchip company!  Otherwise, the microchip will essentially be useless if your phone number and contact information is not up to date.
  2. If you need to rehome your pet in the future, remember that the microchip information will be in YOUR name and any new owner will need to update that pet’s microchip information or it will not be correct or useful if that pet happens to get lost. 
  3. You may get information in the mail from Home Again asking for a yearly membership fee.  You do NOT have to pay this fee if you do not want to have the extra membership services.  The microchip number will always be registered for life even if you do not pay membership fees! 
  4. A microchip acts as a permanent means of identification and legal proof of ownership.  It does not act as a tracking or GPS device.
    1. Each microchip has an individual number that will be linked to a profile containing your contact information.  If your pet happens to get lost, and they are picked up and scanned for a microchip (or they have a tag with their microchip number), the microchip company can be contacted and then they can contact you about your pet being found (as long as your phone number is correct!).
    2. Microchips cannot be deactivated and can only be removed via surgery at a veterinary clinic.  However, there are very few circumstances that a microchip would ever have to be removed.
    3. Microchips also serve as legal proof of ownership.  If the animal is registered in your name, it is YOUR animal.  Also, if your pet goes missing or is stolen, you can call your microchip company and inform them of your pet’s status.  They can then flag your pet’s profile as “missing” or “stolen” so another person cannot claim that pet is theirs.

Microchips for the Public:  OPHS can microchip owned dogs and cats for a fee of $35.  This fee also includes OPHS sending in the registration information.  You can ask the staff at the front office if you have any questions about microchipping your other animals. 


  • Each adoption includes a free veterinary visit from one of our local participating veterinary clinics.  You will need to call your clinic to set up the appointment.  We encourage you to call soon after the adoption (within 2 days) so you can get your animal seen quickly. 
  • This free visit will help you get your new pet set up with the veterinary clinic and will be a chance for your pet to be examined and have any potential health issues identified.  Keep in mind that this free visit ONLY covers an examination and does NOT cover any additional diagnostics or medications.  If you decide to proceed with any extra veterinary services for your new pet, it will be at your cost and OPHS will not be responsible.
  • While we do our best to check out all of our animals for health problems and communicate any known issues to the adopters, we can occasionally miss things that your veterinarian might find upon the exam.  If your veterinarian identifies a health problem that you are not willing or able to take care of, you can contact OPHS to see if we *might* be able to assist you in treating the animal, or you can return the animal within 2 weeks to OPHS for a refund of the adoption price.
  • After the 2-week window, OPHS will still take an animal back if there is a health problem, but there will be no refund of the adoption fee. 


  • Strategies and protocols for vaccinating animals in a shelter setting are different from those for a privately-owned pet.  The likelihood of exposure to disease is often very high in a shelter setting and the consequences of potential infection can be severe for both the animal and the rest of the shelter.  Therefore, it is our policy to vaccinate every animal on intake with a species and age appropriate vaccine schedule (unless: they are surrendered with proof of recent vaccination, are too dangerous to handle, or are not healthy enough for vaccination). 
  • For dogs/puppies this includes, at the minimum:     
  1. One injectable DA2PP (distemper, adenovirus 2, parainfluenza, parvovirus) vaccine.
    1. OPHS will booster this vaccine in 2-3 weeks for puppies under 6 months old if they have not been adopted yet.  Vaccinations after adoption are the responsibility of the adopter. 
  2. One intranasal Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine
    1. This vaccine is not boostered at OPHS
  • OPHS will also provide a rabies vaccine for all dogs and cats adopted.  Most animals will have a rabies vaccine given to them before they go home with their adopters.  Those adopted animals that do not receive a rabies vaccine at the shelter can get one for free at one of our participating veterinary clinics (you must call to make an appointment).
  • The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that all dogs and cats (ages 4 months and older) are vaccinated for rabies upon release (i.e., adoption).  While the administration of this vaccine would ideally be separated by at least 14 days from the administration of other vaccines, AAHA still recommends that shelters vaccinate for rabies upon adoption regardless of when previous vaccines were given.   
  • This protocol may not match the policies held by your own veterinary clinic and they may recommend that you vaccinate your animal for rabies again after waiting for the ideal span of at least 14 days.  If they do recommend this, OPHS will not be responsible for covering the cost of re-vaccinating.


  • As mentioned in the vaccination section, the likelihood of exposure to disease is often very high in a shelter setting.  We are an open intake shelter, so we are taking in animals from unknown backgrounds (i.e, stray and abandoned animals) and we sometimes transfer in animals from other shelters that may have been exposed to contagious illness.  This is why we employ the vaccination policy that is outlined above.  We take all steps possible to ensure that each animal has some protection against contagious illnesses.   However, vaccines cannot prevent ALL illnesses, and there is a possibility that your adopted pet has been exposed to the following diseases:
  • Upper respiratory illnesses / Bordetella (“Kennel Cough”) – This is a very common sickness seen in dogs that have been kept in a kennel setting.  Most of the time, in healthy dogs, this presents as a mild cough/sneeze that will eventually resolve on its own – much like a cold in humans.  But, for some less healthy dogs and some senior dogs, kennel cough can turn into a life-threatening pneumonia if it is not treated appropriately.
    • Our dogs are vaccinated for Bordetella on intake, but some dogs may still become sick with kennel cough despite this vaccination. 
    • Kennel cough is very contagious and can be spread via aerosol droplets, physical contact between dogs, and indirect contact via human hands or sharing a water bowl. 
    • If there happens to be an outbreak of Kennel Cough at OPHS, we will notify visitors and adopters of the situation.
    • If your dog is coughing or sneezing, please keep them “quarantined” on your property, or at least kept from exposing other dogs to potential illness (i.e., no dog parks, pet stores, or visits to friends’ houses), until they are not showing any more signs of illness. 
    • If you think your adopted dog is showing any signs of kennel cough, and will need medications, please contact OPHS and we may be able to help you with the treatment of your dog. 
  • Parvovirus – This is a very serious virus that has claimed the lives of many puppies and dogs.  It is a virus that usually only affects puppies, but older dogs can sometimes become ill from this virus, too.  There is no exact cure for parvovirus, a veterinarian can only provide supportive care and hope that the dog survives and recovers as the virus runs its course.
    • All OPHS dogs/puppies are vaccinated for parvovirus and the vaccine is very effective at preventing this disease from causing severe illness in the vast majority of the dog population.  However, puppies are very susceptible to this virus and upon exposure some can test positive for parvo and become sick despite being vaccinated. 
    • While dogs could certainly be exposed to the parvovirus in a high-intake kennel setting, it is a virus that is readily found out in the environment and can stay in the environment for about 30 years.  Your puppy could be exposed and get sick by going to the dog park, going to the beach, or going to a friend’s house that previously had a puppy with parvo.  Because of this, it is very important to get your puppy its full series of vaccines to consider it “protected” from parvovirus.
      • See more info about puppy vaccines on the Puppy Vaccine Info sheet!
    • If your adopted dog tests positive for parvo within 10 days of leaving OPHS, please contact us!


  • Unless we have informed you that your new dog has needed a specific kind of diet, it is likely that your dog has been eating a mixture of “regular” adult maintenance formula dry kibble food.
  • We rely on donations of food to feed our animals, so we receive several different brands and kinds of food.  This means that the kind of food we give to the animals can vary from week-to-week or even day-to-day.  Because of this, you should be able to start feeding your own choice of food to your new dog right away.  Just be aware that any change in diet can cause some mild stomach upset, so give your new dog a few days to get used to any new food you choose to feed. 
  • If you are looking for advice or recommendations on what to feed your pets, you can ask your veterinarian for suggestions. 


  • Many of the animals we receive at the shelter come to us with no known history or background information.  Additionally, some animals come to us with known behavior issues that will require attention and training.  While we do our best to evaluate each animal’s behavior to make sure they are ready for adoption and placed in an appropriate home, we cannot fully guarantee an animal’s behavior once they leave the shelter. 
  • If your new pet has a known behavior issue that will require extra maintenance, OPHS had you sign a behavior waiver to make sure you are aware of your pet’s needs and willing to take full responsibility for them. 
  • If you are experiencing unexpected behavior issues with your newly adopted pet, you can always call the shelter for any information or advice.  Even if we may not individually know how to proceed in a certain situation, we may know someone that we can refer you to for animal behavior issues. 
  • Please understand that it may take a while for your new pet to adjust to you and your lifestyle.  It is advised that you give your new pet at least 2 weeks of calm time at home before you expose your new pet to visitors or other new people (not including your free veterinary visit).  Ending up at an animal shelter and then being introduced to a new home can be extremely stressful.  Adding any more experiences too quickly can end up causing your pet to exhibit negative behaviors. 
  • You can refer to the “Tips for Your Newly Adopted Dog” and “Additional Information” sheets included in your adoption packet for more details.


  • While we try our best to make sure each adoption is a good match for a forever home, sometimes you never know how an animal will adjust to a new house/owner/life.  Because we know that some adoptions just don’t work out (for a variety of reasons), we do allow each adopter two weeks to return an animal for a full refund.  Outside of that two weeks, we will absolutely take any animal back, and we do encourage adopters to return an animal to OPHS rather than re-home them to someone else.
  • Refunds will likely be in the form of a check.  Please be aware that it may take a few days for a check to be mailed to you.    


  • Every dog and cat adopted from OPHS will have been spayed or neutered before going to their new home. 
  • Animals that come to us with no known medical history are checked for evidence of being spayed or neutered before being placed up for adoption.  For males, this evidence is found in lack of testicles and testosterone linked characteristics.  For females, we look for a scar on their belly – below their “belly button” – as well as other characteristics that would indicate that an animal has been spayed.  If we feel there is sufficient evidence to determine an animal as spayed or neutered, we will mark them as such and place them up for adoption. 
  • However, it is possible that an animal could come in to us with “evidence” that they have been previously spayed/neutered, but they actually have NOT been.  In these cases, if your veterinarian has determined that your adopted animal has NOT been previously spayed/neutered, please contact OPHS to arrange how to get this surgery done for your animal. 
  • Animals that have been determined to be still intact (not “fixed”) will have a spay/neuter surgery at OPHS before going up for adoption. 
  • If you have adopted a dog that has recently had surgery, you may need to monitor their incision to make sure there is no excessive swelling or infection.  Please keep your animal from licking its incision and contact OPHS if your animal seems to be having problems with the surgical site.  Shelter staff will talk to you about whether they may be an issue with your dog’s surgical incision.
    • It is normal for dogs to have a “bump” under their incision for a while.  This is likely a suture reaction and will slowly resolve with time.  If the bump is red, sore, bleeding or oozing in anyway, please let OPHS know immediately!
  • Animals that are spayed/neutered while at OPHS will be given a green line tattoo next to their incision as proof of being surgically altered. 


  • We encourage adopters to send photos and updates of how their new adopted pets are doing!  Occasionally, we can share these happy stories on our facebook page, or we pass on the message to the staff that worked closely with that particular animal. 
  • We are also OK with visits to the shelter!  As long as it doesn’t stress out your dog, you could bring them by for a quick hello and a dog treat!


  • Yes, it’s true, you need to license your dogs AND cats in Clallam county! 
  • Not only is licensing your pets a county requirement, but license tags serve as a form of identification and help to reunite lost pets with their owners and avoid impound fees if your pet happens to be brought into OPHS. 
  • 100% of the fees collected for licenses goes directly to OPHS!
  • The pet license is the same for all of Clallam county whether you live in city limits or not, so you don’t need to get a new one simply because you move to a new location.
    • But!  If you do move, it would be best to update your contact information with OPHS! 
  • We recommend you wait to license your newly adopted pet until you know the adoption will work out.
  • Licenses can be purchased at the following locations:  OPHS, Sequim Animal Hospital, Family Veterinary Clinic, Port Angeles City Hall (only if you are a city of Port Angeles resident), Sequim Police Department (only if you are a city of Sequim resident), the Clallam County Sheriff’s office (only if you are a county resident).
  • Failure to license your pet is a civil infraction that can come with a $250 fine.



  • Intact (not spayed or neutered):  Only the yearly license is available = $55/year
  • Spayed or Neutered:
  • Yearly license = $10/year
  • Lifetime license (dog needs to be microchipped) = $50


  • Intact (not spayed or neutered) – only yearly license is available = $55/year
  • Spayed or Neutered: 
  • Yearly license = $10/year
  • Lifetime license (cat needs to be microchipped) = $50
  • If you purchase a license for your pet, but you lose the tag, new tags can be purchased for $5.


It is recommended that you talk with your choice of veterinary clinic about what to do if your animal has a medical emergency.  Some clinics will have on-call hours, some do not.  You don’t want to be stuck not knowing who to call when you need help! 

Even with emergency on-call hours, it might be recommended that you take your animal to one of the 24-hour emergency animal hospitals located in Kitsap county.  You can see the information for those hospitals below.

VCA Central Kitsap Animal Hospital

2238 NW Bucklin Hill Road, Suite 100

Silverdale, WA 98383

Phone:  360-692-6162

Animal Emergency and Trauma Center
320 Lindvig Way
Poulsbo, WA 98370

Phone:  360-697-7771