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October 25, 2019 4 min read

If you recently adopted a dog from a shelter or rescue organization (or if you’re getting ready to), congratulations! Bringing home a new member of your family is a big deal for you, and an even bigger deal for your new furry pal.

There are many things to think about when you’re adopting a rescue, including immunizations, training, and socializing. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect when adopting a rescue dog.

Bringing your new dog home

Once you’ve chosen and adopted your new pup, you’ll likely be excited to bring them home and get them settled. But it’s important to make sure your home and backyard are ready and that you have everything you need before you introduce them to their new environment.

White Rescue Dog Happily Playing

Here is a list of essentials to get you started:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Dry and/or canned food
  • Treats (small training treats as well as something to chew on, like bully sticks)
  • Collar, ID tag, and leash
  • Poop bags
  • Crate and dog bed
  • A variety of toys (chew, rope, ball, and puzzle toys)
  • Brush or comb
  • Shampoo
  • Nail clippers
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Paper towels, non-toxic cleaner, and enzyme odor-neutralizer

You may also want to consider whether you need baby gates and/or doggie doors. Depending on the size of your home, it’s a good idea to introduce your new pup to a room or two at a time, rather than giving them free rein of the house all at once.

Expect an adjustment period

It’s important to remember that rescue dogs and puppies come with a past. Your new pet may have been through a lot, and you might not have a lot of information about their history. Even though it’s an exciting time, it can also be stressful for a dog to leave the shelter and move into a new home.

Shelter Dog with anxiety hiding under table

The process of moving, in combination with any abuse, abandonment, or neglect your dog may have experienced in the past, can be very overwhelming. Depending on your new pup’s past, age, and personality, it may take anywhere from just a few days to a few months to adjust to their new home and family. 

The best thing you can do for them during this adjustment period is to give them the time they need to learn to feel comfortable with their new surroundings and trust that they have finally found their forever home.

Set up an initial vet visit

The shelter may or may not have taken care of neutering or spaying, vaccinations, and immunizations. Either way, you’ll still want to take them to the vet fairly early on to make sure they’re in good health and to establish a relationship with a clinic in case your pet gets sick or injured.

Golden Retriever Rescue Dog Walking with New Owner

Because they’re usually living in close proximity to other dogs, it’s not uncommon for pups to develop kennel cough and/or other treatable conditions at shelters. If you notice your dog hacking, take them to the vet as soon as possible to get them checked out.

Your vet may also be able to implant a microchip in your new pup if they don’t already have one. This can help you find them should they ever get lost and can typically be done in the office with no anesthetic.

Start training right away

Many people worry that adopting an adult dog, as opposed to a puppy, will make training more difficult. You’ve probably heard the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Thankfully, this is a myth. In many ways, adult dogs are actually easier to train than puppies because they typically have more control over their bladders and can concentrate for longer periods of time without getting distracted or overly excited.

Reed Shepherd Rescue Dog Being Trained

It’s important to start establishing routines and being consistent with mealtimes, potty times, sleeping routines, etc. as quickly as possible. Dogs thrive on consistency and routine, so your new pet will be happier and more well-behaved if you begin training right away.

Help your rescue cope with anxiety

Anxiety is not uncommon in dogs, especially rescues. They may have gone hungry, been abandoned, or suffered abuse or neglect. With you, they know they’ll be safe, loved, fed, and cared for, so it’s likely that they will experience separation anxiety when you leave the house (or even when you leave the room) for the first few months.

Black Shelter Dog with Anxiety in New Home

Not sure you’ll be able to tell when your dog feels anxious? Common symptoms of anxiety in dogs and puppies include shaking or trembling, excessive licking and drooling, diarrhea, destructive or hyperactive behavior, hunched posture, and hiding or trying to escape.

So how can you help your rescue dog cope with anxiety? Here are a few strategies:

  • Take your pup outside for some exercise.
  • Give them a familiar, comfortable blanket.
  • Play calming music.
  • Give your dog a toy to chew on.
  • Try a natural remedy like CBD or Hemp Oil for Dogs (King Duke’s products come in chewable, oil, capsule, and cream forms that are specifically formulated to help calm anxious dogs).

Planning to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group? Let King Duke’s help you prepare for your new family member’s arrival!

We know how exciting it is to bring a new pet home! We also know how much you want to provide a comfortable, safe, and loving home for your little one. At King Duke’s, we treat your pet like family, and we can’t wait to help you find all the products you need for your new rescue dog’s homecoming.

Shop with us online or stop by and visit us at King Duke’s in Beaverton, OR!


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