Adopting a stray dog comes with several challenges. However, knowing these few things can make the adoption process much easier.
You've been thinking about adopting a dog, but there are many different breeds to choose from. You're not sure if you want a small dog or a large one. Maybe you're even considering adopting a stray dog. That way, it's guaranteed to be healthy.
However, what if you get your new pet home and realize that it's not really suited for living in your apartment? Or maybe you do have the perfect space for your new family member?
Here, we’ll share tips on successfully adopting a stray puppy or dog and integrating them into their new home.
#1 Get the Dog to a Vet
Make an appointment with your veterinarian to get the dog checked out and vaccinated. You'll want to ensure that it is healthy and up-to-date on all necessary vaccines before bringing them into your home.
If there are any existing parasites on your new pet, you'll need to treat them right away. Otherwise, they might spread. Your vet can recommend an appropriate treatment plan for this case. If they can't help directly, they may be able to refer you to someone who can.
Your vet can provide you with the basic information on what pet supplies and pet meds to get. They can even recommend a pet pharmacy or a website where you can buy pet meds online.
#2 Watch for Signs of Disease or Illness
If you still have concerns about the dog's health, it is vital to take it to the vet as soon as possible. Make sure you know what kinds of illnesses dogs can get and any symptoms that could indicate an issue with your new pet.
Some common health problems in dogs include fleas and ticks, allergies, and parasites. You should also watch for signs of disease or illness such as coughing, wheezing, breathing difficulty, vomiting or diarrhea, loss of appetite, etc.
#3 Watch for Signs of Fleas and Ticks
If you notice your dog scratching or biting at its fur, that could indicate it has fleas or ticks. Ticks are not just an annoyance for dogs. They can also transmit disease. Fleas can cause irritation and infection in your dog and spread diseases to humans and other pets. It's crucial to keep an eye out for symptoms of these pests if you have a stray dog at home.
Ask your vet to recommend an appropriate dog flea and tick medicine. Apart from dog flea pills, you can also try a flea collar for dogs, like the Seresto Flea Collar.
#4 Watch for Allergies
If the dog you're adopting has skin issues, they may be caused by allergies. Dogs can be allergic to almost anything, from food to fleas. The most common allergies in dogs are flea allergy dermatitis and atopy (allergic reactions caused by inhaled allergens such as pollen). In severe cases of these two conditions, your vet might prescribe antibiotics or steroids to reduce inflammation in the skin and relieve itching.
For skin allergies, your vet is likely to recommend Apoquel for dogs.
#5 Give the Dog Space and Time to Get Used to Its New Home
When you bring a stray dog into your home, it is vital to give the dog time and space to get used to its new surroundings. Sometimes it can take a few weeks for a dog to adjust to its new environment, especially if it has been in an unfamiliar place for a while.
Once they’ve settled in, you should notice that they become more confident and relaxed. If your stray has been wandering around outside for a long time, this could take considerably longer than just a few days.
#6 Gently Establish Yourself as the Leader
Remember that stray dogs are often scared and nervous. So, it’s important to be gentle and assertive. Don’t be aggressive or harsh. This is not how you want your dog to respond when you tell him “no.”
When adopting a stray dog into your home, one of the most important things is consistency. Establish yourself as the leader of your pack right away by letting your new furry friend know what's expected of him (and, of course, vice versa). This won't happen overnight. You need time together for each other's personalities to emerge. Once it does, it will make training much easier because both parties understand each other's roles in the relationship.
#7 Once Your Dog is Comfortable with You, Start Obedience Training
Now that your dog is comfortable with you and knows you are the leader, start obedience training. Remember, you are the leader of the pack and should establish yourself as such. Use positive reinforcement (rewarding good behavior) to train your dog and avoid punishing it for doing something wrong.
This is especially important if you have adopted an older stray. Older dogs can be stubborn and hard-headed because they're used to being in charge themselves. Be patient as you work through this process with your new canine companion, and remember that even if it doesn't seem like learning anything, it might learn more from watching than from participating directly in lessons.
If, at any point during this process, you find yourself unsure of what to do or how much time should pass before moving on to another step in training, contact someone who has experience with dog training for advice.
#8 Get All Family Members Involved in a New Pet's Care
Remember that everyone in your household should be involved in the care of a new pet. Adopting a stray dog is not just about you and your partner but also about the entire family. Everyone who lives with you should share responsibility for feeding, walking, grooming, and training the dog so that they can all bond with it. This will help ensure that the dog feels comfortable around all members of your household.
#9 Make Sure the Dog Eats the Proper Amount of Food
You should feed your dog the proper amount of food each day to maintain a healthy weight. How much food is right for your dog depends on many factors, including its age and activity level. If you have a puppy, it may need more calories than an older adult dog to help it grow into its full size and strength.
The Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food will be the perfect dry dog food for your pooch if you want to ensure a healthy and nutritious meal for it.
If you're not sure how much food to give your pooch, ask your vet for advice or read some online articles about dog nutrition.
If you’re not sure if adopting a stray dog is the right thing for you, it may help to talk with an animal rescue organization. They can provide guidance and resources to help make the transition to a new pet easier. Also, don’t forget that there are plenty of other ways to help out stray animals in your community besides taking one home. However, if you must adopt one, these tips will help make the adaptation process much easier for you.