Adopting a new dog is exciting and fun. But it can also be quite a challenge. The commitment of dog adoption is a lifelong one; but even though it may seem a tad scary, nothing quite beats a life-long canine companion. As with most things in life, however, a little preparation can go far toward a successful outcome. 

What a Deal!

When you adopt a shelter dog, you literally save a life. An added bonus is that the shelter’s adoption fees help to pay for food, facilities, veterinary care, spaying or neutering, microchipping, and all the other expenses that go into sheltering and caring for homeless pets in your community. 

Before You Roll Out The Welcome Mat…

Before you bring your newly adopted dog home, preparation is needed. You’ll want to consider the following before heading to the shelter. 

  • Are dogs allowed where you live? If you rent, you’ll want to double check!
  • What kind of dog suits your family and lifestyle?
  • How much space do you have for a dog?
  • Which breed fits your family dynamic?
  • Is everyone in your family ready for the responsibility of a dog?
  • Where will your fur pal sleep, eat, and use the bathroom?
  • How many times do you want to exercise your dog each day?
  • Do you have the patience and at-home lifestyle to raise a puppy? Or would an older dog be more suitable?
  • Do you have the financial means to take care of the medical needs of your newly adopted dog? Food, accessories, and veterinary care can add up. Does your budget support that commitment long-term?
  • Have you considered the needs of your current pets?
  • If you live with others, spend some time before adopting a dog discussing who will care for the dog, and how. 

It’s also important to dog proof your home. Electrical cords, cleaning chemicals, certain plants, essential oils, personal care products and medications should be stored away where dogs can’t access them. new dogs are especially curious about their new surroundings, and you don’t want a pet poisoning to sour your first days together. 

Lastly, your new dog will require some gear. Food and water bowls, bedding, leashes, collars, toys and grooming supplies should all be in place before your new dog arrives at home.  

Matters of the Heart

We know that adopting a new dog is not all a matter of practicality. Your heart gets involved, too! To welcome your new family member, be sure to:

  • Introduce the newcomer gradually to existing pets and family, so everyone gets used to one another.
  • Give your new dog her own space with her bed, food and water bowls, and een soft music. Have her stay in her own spot at first (a small bedroom works well) and gradually open up the rest of the house as she gets acclimated. 
  • Keep all vaccination records and medical history safe and establish a relationship with your regular veterinarian within the first few days of adoption. 
  • If you want to give your dog a different food than was being fed at the shelter or foster home, transition slowly over a period of 7 days so as not to upset her digestive system. 
  • Sign up for a basic obedience class with your new dog. This can help you both to learn the basics, and strengthen your bond as you work together. Talk to our Director of Behavior if additional training & behavior consultations are needed. 

Your New Dog

It can take weeks, and even months for everyone to become acclimated to a new dog. Take your time and have patience. With a little preparation and awareness, your new dog will soon become a lifelong friend and companion. If you need a little more help along, please contact our team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital for assistance. 

Congratulations on your new dog!