Approximately 1.6 million dogs in the US are adopted from shelters every year, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). A separate study showed that 44 percent of dog owners adopted their precious pups from a rescue or shelter in 2018, up from 35 percent in 2012. Rested Paws states that 6.5 million animals enter a shelter yearly, which means the difference between sheltering and adoption is too big. But before you rush to adopt a shelter dog, arm yourself with the information you need to ensure you’re able to provide for a new dog.
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and to support all of you considering pet adoption this month or any month, Petcurean has five tips to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
1. Give your new dog a dedicated space.
Before you bring home the newest member of your family, create a dedicated space for him to settle and call his own.
Pick a room that’s central to your home (like the kitchen or living room) where your dog can hang out in a comfy bed.
Because it might take a while to feel comfortable playing with you or other members of your family, it’s also a good idea to leave some toys nearby to keep him interested as he adjusts to his new home.
2. Consider making lifestyle changes.
Adding a pup to your daily routine can cause a more significant shift in your life than you might think. From a lifestyle perspective, choose a dog that will be compatible with your interests: are you active and outdoorsy, or are you more of a homebody that prefers staying indoors in your downtime?
Who will supervise your dog while you’re at work (especially at the beginning when anxiety levels might be higher), and when will you schedule their daily walks (generally, at least one long walk a day is recommended for most dogs)? There are dogs out there for all energy and activity levels, so be realistic about picking a BDFF (that’s best dog friend forever) that will suit your lifestyle.
3. Food for thought.
Shelter dogs, like all dogs, can have allergies or adverse reactions to certain ingredients in their food, with symptoms including scratching, excessive licking, coughing, and sneezing. In many cases, they may have been abandoned because their former owners could not deal with these conditions, so it’s essential to be prepared for this possibility.
If you suspect that your dog has a food sensitivity, first, take him to a veterinarian for an expert opinion. It can take some time to figure out but know that there are solutions that can make a big difference for your precious new pooch. For instance, Petcurean’s GO! SOLUTIONS SENSITIVITIES recipes are specially formulated for pets who need to avoid certain ingredients to deal with food allergies or sensitivities.
4. Dog-proof your home.
In the beginning, it’s an excellent idea to dog-proof the areas your dog will be spending most of his time. Until you get used to each other and you get a better sense of his behavioral tendencies, it’s a good idea to tape up loose electrical cords, store household chemicals out of reach, move breakables to a safe spot, and even consider baby gates to keep your dog contained to one area if necessary.
5. Do your research.
Adopting a new dog requires a commitment. When you adopt a shelter dog, find out as much about that dog as you can (i.e., his personality, background history, health history, etc.), and consider all of this as you get to know each other in the first few crucial months.
By putting in the time and energy to plan and prepare before bringing your new dog home from the shelter, you can make the process as seamless as possible.
Above all, be patient. Getting adopted into a forever home is an amazing thing, but it’s another change and something new for your new friend to get used to when they may have already been through a lot of change and stress in their life.
Patience and a lot of love and understanding will pay off! Before long, you won’t even remember what life was like before you brought home your newest family member.
Christine Mallier, Community Relations Manager, Petcurean