7 Things To Consider Before Adopting A Shelter Dog

Importance of Fostering Pets
Family at animal shelter adopting a dog

Adoptions from animal shelters have seen a sharp spike in recent months, with some shelters seeing a 70% increase in adoptions.

Pet ownership is a big responsibility, so if this is your first shelter dog adoption, there are a few essentials you’ll want to consider before welcoming a new furry companion into your home. This quick review can help…

1. Pet-Proof Your Home

As a pet lover, you know that keeping your animal safe from harm is a top priority. If you’re considering adopting a new puppy, there are some things you can do to help keep your animal (and home) safe. Dogs are naturally curious, especially as puppies, and they love to chew. So place electrical cords out of your pup’s reach. Also, store any potentially toxic substances (cleansers, auto fluids, etc.) away from places your pet frequents.

2. Provide a Safe, Comfy Resting Spot

Dogs are den animals by nature and will retreat to a safe and comfortable place when they’re tired or just want to escape the family commotion. Many owners choose to crate their new adoptees, at least for the first few weeks, until they learn house manners. If you don’t plan to use a crate or cage, a box lined with a soft blanket or sweatshirt can become a great cozy spot for your pet.

3. Choose a Nutritious Diet

Dogs are omnivores, which means their diet consists of both meat and vegetable matter. Still, a kibble that’s heavy in protein and light on carbohydrate fillers is recommended. You’ll also need food and water bowls, and an ample supply of treats (they make a great training reward!). Need dietary recommendations? Ask the shelter what they feed their animals or consult with your vet.

4. Plan an Exercise Regimen

Dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy, build muscle, and control weight. It’s also a fantastic way for your pet to release nervous energy, so plan a regular exercise schedule—whether it’s a jog in your neighborhood, a game of Frisbee on the lawn, or some dog-park time, your dog will be less stressed and more amenable to training. Exercise is also a great way to bond with your new pet!

5. Plan for When You’re Not Home

As many parts of the national economy are revving up again, you may find yourself back at work. Separation anxiety can be a real problem for some dogs, so pay close attention to your pet’s behavior. Unwanted or destructive behaviors (e.g., toileting in the house, chewing pillows) may be a sign of anxiety, especially if your pet acts out only when you’re out. A good supply of entertaining and distracting playthings can help dogs cope with separation anxiety. From chew toys to high-tech interactive ball-toss machines, your options are endless. Ask your vet about behavioral modification and stress reduction techniques that can help reduce problem behaviors.

6. Prepare your Family

If you have young children, it may be worth taking a few moments to outline the dos and don’ts of safe and responsible dog ownership. Show your kids how to interact with a new pet safely and gently to help build trust. If you already have other pets in the home, make introductions slowly. Some owners prefer to sequester the new pet in an area other pets cannot access (i.e. a guest bedroom), just for the first few days, so other animals in the house can get acquainted with the new arrival at their own pace.

7. Select a Vet

Your veterinarian is your pet’s primary care physician, so you’ll want to select one with a proven track record of both clinical excellence and customer satisfaction. Your vet is not just a go-to when your pet is sick. They’re an essential resource for well-animal checkups, inoculations, nutritional consultation, and more.

At Richmond Road Veterinary Clinic and Tates Creek Animal Hospital, we understand the importance of giving each pet a healthy and happy home. Our skilled and compassionate staff members are eager to help. From wellness checkups and immunizations to medical and surgical care, we adhere to the highest standards of veterinary care. We are the proud Adoption Program Sponsor for the Lexington Humane Society here in Kentucky, and any pet adopted from there is eligible for a free Wellness Exam.

We hope you’ve found this checklist helpful. We wish you all the best with your new dog adoption and encourage you to come to see us for all your veterinary needs.


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