How to prepare your home (and yourself) for adopting a shelter dog
Bringing home a new (and furry) addition to your family can be a wonderful time indeed, but there are some things you should know to make the entire process a smooth one
So, you are going to adopt a dog from your local shelter - what wonderful news! Doing this is a great act of kindness as you have quite literally saved your soon-to-be dog’s life. You have no chosen your future furry bestie and now you need to prepare yourself and your house for his or her arrival.
When you bring home a puppy or an adult dog from a shelter, your experience will be completely unique and depend on your dog and his personality and background. Obviously, older dogs may come with a little more baggage and puppies have to be house trained and so on. But, the more prepared you are, the smoother this transition will be.
How to prepare for your new pooch
Preparing your home
Before you bring Bruno home, you need to make sure that you have dog-proofed certain areas with a doggie gate or fence (such as your garden and certain rooms he can’t go into). Make sure your dog cannot get out of your garden and that there are no poisonous plants in your garden. This also includes ant and rat traps in your house - ensure your dog cannot get to these if you have them.
Make sure your dog has a new bed, bowls, and toys.
Here’s what you need:
● New dog bed (big enough if he grows)
● Water and food bowls
● Dog food
● Collar, tag and a leash
● Vet records
● Organise for your dog to be chipped with the shelter (most shelters will do this for you)
Having your dog chipped and ensuring he or she wears an ID tag will help if the little (or big) guy somehow gets out of your garden and is lost. Remember, your house is new to him and it might be a little overwhelming at first, these factors often cause new dogs to run away.
Transition the dog food
Find out from the shelter what food your dog is currently eating and make sure you have enough of this for the first few weeks he comes home. If you then plan on changing this food (always good to get your vet’s advice), then slowly start to mix this new food with the old one after a week or so.
The stress of a new home and change of diet can cause an upset tummy - so keep this in mind during the first few weeks.
Introduce him to your other dogs
If you have other dogs at home already, then make sure you read this article on how to safely and comfortably introduce your dogs to one another.
Bonding with Bruno
You should do your best to spend the first few days bonding with your dog and of course, give them space to play on their own too. Maybe even take a day or two off from work so that your dog is not left alone all day for the first couple of days. The best idea is to try and bring him home on a Friday so that you have the weekend to spend together and bond.
Start to establish the routine of feeding, walking and sleeping times so that Bruno can get used to this.
Start training ASAP
This point is rather vital - you need to start training immediately, but the trick is to start slowly. House training for puppies and some older dogs who have lived in the streets their whole lives should come first. Then move onto basic commands and walking on a leash. Here’s a great article to teach you some basic commands.
See your vet
A few days or a week or so after Bruno comes home, make sure you book an appointment to see your vet so that the two of them can establish a bit of a bond and get to know one another. Make sure your vet has your dog’s health records and that Bruno is comfortable with him or her.
Get pet insurance
Lastly, make sure you get pet insurance. And better yet, make sure you have insurance with Oneplan as they pay you BEFORE you see the vet of your choice and cover routine and emergency care.
Trust me on this one - owning a pet is expensive. Having pet insurance (which is basically health insurance for our pets) ensures that you have extra cash for pet toys and holidays away together don’t have to go into crushing debt in the case of an emergency.
Congratulations and well done on adopting a shelter dog. It really is a marvellous thing to do and your new furry bestie is going to change your life for the better.