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Five Tips for a Successful Dog Adoption

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Five Tips for a Successful Dog Adoption

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month.  If you’re considering adopting a new canine best friend, our doctors and veterinary care team members recommend these five tips for a successful adoption.

  • Choose a breed that matches your family’s personality and lifestyle.  Puppies are generally more active and require supervision so may be a good option if you’re energetic and have time to monitor their activities throughout the day.  On the flip side, senior dogs are typically less active and may prefer a regular routine in a quiet home.  Consider how your new four-legged family member will respond to household activities, young children, and other pets in the home.  Adoption counselors will be available to offer advice on which dog breed would be the best match for your family and details about your adopted pet’s previous experience in a home or in the shelter.
  • Dog-proof your home.  Dogs and puppies love to explore so carefully look at your home from their eye level to see what might be of interest to them.  Food, a child’s toy or a remote control left on a coffee or end table, electrical cords, and closets with open doors may prove too tempting for your new family member to resist.  If you have a fenced-in yard, make sure the gate is secure and block off any areas large enough for a puppy or small dog to squeeze through.
  • Stock up on dog-related supplies before bringing Fido home.  You’ll need a soft collar or harness and non-retractable leash, a pet carrier or harness system for the car, nutritious and age-appropriate food, food and water bowls, safe and stimulating toys, a comfy bed, nail clippers, and a grooming brush or comb specifically for your pet’s coat.  You may also need baby gates or a dog kennel so your new canine best friend has a safe and quiet area to rest.
  • Restrict the puppy or dog to a small household area for the first few days.  New sights, sounds, and smells may make a dog uneasy, so plan to spend short amounts of time in this small area to help it adjust to your home environment.  You may also use Adaptil, a dog-friendly pheromone spray, in the area.  People can’t smell these pheromones, but dogs can – and they are clinically proven to be calming.  Most importantly, if you have other household pets, introduce them to the new dog slowly using closed doors, screens, gates or other separation devices so everyone feels safe and comfortable.
  • Schedule a vet visit within the first two weeks of adoption.  It’s important to bring any medical records you received at adoption to the first visit so we have a complete history of any health issues, vaccines, and treatments.  Puppy and dog wellness exams include a complete physical examination from nose to tail.  We’ll check the eyes, nose, ears, and teeth, listen to the heart and lungs, palpate the abdomen, and assess bone structure and muscle tone.  Our doctors and veterinary care team members will ask questions about your pet’s appetite and activity levels and determine if there are any other medical issues that need to be addressed.  Based on your new four-legged family member’s lifestyle and risk factors, our doctors will recommend vaccines and parasite preventatives to ensure Fido is protected from contagious diseases and pests.  Wellness exams also allow us to get to know you and your pet so we can work together to help ensure a lifetime of good health.

For more information about helping your adopted canine best friend feel more comfortable in its new home, please call us at 630-598-0600.