10 Things You Need to Know Before Adopting a Rescued Dog
If you’re thinking of adopting a rescued dog from a shelter or rescue, whether it’s from the humane society or one of your local rescues, there are several things to consider before taking on this new responsibility in your life.
While rescue animals are often some of the most affectionate, loving, and fun-loving dogs out there, they also often come with their share of issues that may not be so apparent in their first few days in your home. PETstock is here to help by narrowing down what you need to know before bringing home that newly rescued dog into your life and home.
1) Size Matters
Big dogs take up more room, so you’ll want to make sure your house can accommodate him. Once he’s in his permanent home, give him time to adjust; don’t bring any other pets into your home right away. Take things slowly and let him get used to his surroundings before rushing off with you for long walks and hikes he’ll come around in no time at all! If you have children, introduce them gradually as well.
2) There May be Issues with Vet Visits
You will likely have to visit your veterinarian more often than you would if you adopted a dog that was already in good health. Dogs who are rescued from bad situations may have long-term health issues that, even after treatment and recovery, still require vigilant monitoring.
Be prepared for regular visits with your vet so that your dog can receive preventative care and ongoing treatments as needed. You may also want to consider pet insurance if not already offered by local pet shelters or rescue organizations for added peace of mind.
3) Long Walks are Crucial
While it’s true that dogs should be walked every day, long walks are especially good for rescued dogs. Many of these animals have been in shelters or on chains their whole lives and so may not know how to walk with you yet.
Make sure you take your dog out for at least 30 minutes twice a day. If he doesn’t seem interested in walking, try playing fetch first. Fetch helps build up his muscles, which can be sore from months of being still. Your vet may also recommend joint supplements for your pet as he adjusts to his new life.
4) Crate Training is Important
One of your top priorities, when you bring home your new dog, should be crate training. Crate training is a great way to housetrain dogs, create predictability in your dog’s schedule, and keep her out of trouble while you’re away. Dogs need time alone every day, whether it’s for sleeping or simply relaxing after an active play session.
Your crate should be big enough that your dog can lay down comfortably and be just large enough so she can’t use one area as both her bathroom and playpen at once. A good rule of thumb is one crate per dog plus one, plus an additional 5-10 percent if they are puppies or recently adopted from shelters.
5) Treats are Good, but not Indispensable
Training treats can help speed up training, but they’re not necessary. All dogs are naturally motivated by being with and pleasing their people. A treat might also provide your puppy with an extra boost of motivation when he starts getting distracted for example, while you’re trying to teach him a new command like sit at dinner time but don’t overdo it.
If you notice that your dog is salivating more than usual during training sessions, slow down on using treats for motivation; he might be developing an unhealthy association with food, which could lead to weight issues later in life.
6) Having Multiple Dogs Helps
Having more than one dog means that your dogs will become used to being around other dogs. This is beneficial because if you ever want to get two dogs, it won’t be as hard for them as it would be for a dog who has never been exposed to other dogs.
It also gives your dogs someone with whom they can socialize. If you plan on adopting multiple rescues at once, take into account that it might take some time for them all to adjust and bond together!
7) Make Sure the Dog Has All of its Vaccines
As with any rescue, make sure you know what shots your new dog received before you bring it home. Knowing whether or not your dog is up-to-date on its vaccines will ensure that it’s healthy and ready for new adventures with you!
Even if a rescued dog has all of its shots, though, make sure you get its immunization record from the shelter or rescue organization so that you can show your vet. Remember, if your dog isn’t current on its shots, don’t let it anywhere near other animals it could expose them to illness.
8) Invest in Quality Beds and Mats
What you put in your dog’s sleeping area is just as important as what you put in their food bowl. Cheap, dirty dog beds and mats can introduce dangerous chemicals into your home or your new pet’s body. Plus, it could take her some time to adjust and get used to her comfy bed giving her skin rashes and hot spots from being stuck on scratchy plastic.
If she has allergies, a low-quality bed could exacerbate them. Investing in quality items for your new furry family member will go a long way toward reducing his stress levels during his transition period. It’ll also save you money in veterinary bills down the road!
9) Always Walk on the Leash, Unless Appropriate
Most people let their dogs off leash while they’re at home. For example, if you live in an apartment with an open yard, it can be easy to give your dog a free run of things. However, in most cases even if it’s legal for you to do so leaving your dog unleashed is not going to help him/her learn proper behavior.
Letting your dog off leash when not appropriate is one of the biggest reasons why rescued dogs have problems assimilating into families. Do you want all that time and money you spent on training wasted?
10) Enjoy Every Moment
When you bring home your new dog, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of constantly caring for them: feeding them, walking them, and providing play and exercise. Make sure that you also spend time enjoying your dog. Play with them or go on walks when they aren’t hungry or tired.
By spending quality time with your new pet, you help to strengthen your bond and get in touch with their needs while also unwinding from all of those daily caretaking tasks. And taking breaks from routine is good for both of you. Try not to become so consumed by caring for an adopted dog that you miss out on all of the fun!
Adopting a rescued dog is the best thing you can do for both yourself and your new pet. Not only will you be bringing home a new family member, but the dog you choose could also save your life and reduce the risk of heart disease. Adopting a rescued pet is simple, heartwarming, and life-changing, but it’s important to be prepared before making this decision.