Adopting a Rescue Dog? Here Are Some Tips!

If you are thinking about rescue dog adoption, please read about some tips that can help.

Adopting a Rescue Dog: 7 Tips To Help You Through the First Few Weeks

If you’ve made the big decision to adopt a rescue dog, it’s normal to feel both excited and scared for what’s to come. Here are a few basic tips to help you out during the first few weeks after you’ve adopted a dog:

1. Many rescue groups will have already given dogs and cats the vaccinations they need before adopters can take them home; if this is the case, you may be asked to pay higher adoption fees to cover the cost of the shots. These are usually just the basic vaccines, such as rabies, Distemper-Parvo Combo, and bordetella (i.e., “kennel cough”), so you may want to bring your pet into our clinic for additional vaccines (depending on where you live).

2. Most rescue groups will also take their rescue animals to a spay and neuter clinic before adoption. If a dog or cat has been spayed or neutered, some spay and neuter clinics make a small tattoo, which is a short green line, near the incision. Spaying or neutering your dog is very important: it typically extends their lifespan by one to three years, it decreases (or eliminates) the risk of uterine/testicular cancer, it decreases aggression (especially in male dogs), and it ensures that you don’t become the owner of a litter of puppies!

3. When you first bring your dog home, it’s normal for both of you to be nervous. If you find that your new pup is especially anxious around people (especially if he/she was abused before), try to give him/her some space to explore. Simply talking to your dog in a calm voice will help him/her feel comfortable around you.

4. Many rescue dogs actually feel more comfortable in a crate because it’s their own safe space. (If you don’t have a crate on hand, a large cardboard box tipped on its side can be a decent stand-in.)

5. Instead of buying new blankets and towels, fill the crate with some old shirts or blankets that you’ve used for a while; these will help your dog associate your “person smell” with safety and comfort.

6. Try to make your home as consistent as possible in the first few weeks. Dogs respond very well to rules and your pet needs you to be the “pack leader.” Everything from bedtime to mealtimes should be kept consistent until you both adjust to a new schedule.

7. Registering your pet in your town or city, or county, is very important, and you’ll need to have proof of vaccinations in order to get a dog license. This license is usually pretty inexpensive (around $10-$15) and many town offices provide a discount if your dog has been spayed or neutered. This proof can be obtained from your dog vet clinic or from a dog spay and neuter clinic.

Most importantly, remember that you are making a difference by opening up your home to an animal in need. You both have plenty of fun adventures ahead of you!

Thank you.