What You Must Remember Before Adopting a Puppy from a Shelter From possible medical problems to behavioral issues, everything you should know before adopting a shelter puppy

BY | December 07 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
What You Must Remember Before Adopting a Puppy from a Shelter

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Adopting a puppy from a shelter is quite admirable. However, itโ€™s not an easy task. Therefore, you must prepare yourself accordingly before adopting a shelter puppy.

Around 69 million households in the U.S. own a dog. Many of these dogs are brought from stores and pet shops, especially those from an exotic breed. Some of the dogs are rescued, while others are adopted from various animal shelters. 

When you adopt a puppy from a shelter, there is a lot of work to do. The good news is that the work starts before you ever bring the puppy home. Consider these tips and tricks for preparing yourself, your family, and your new pet for life together.

Get Your Puppy to the Vet

The first thing you need to do when adopting a puppy is you must take it to the vet. Your new dog will likely be checked for parasites, injuries, and illness and vaccinated before you can take him home. 

A veterinarian should also assess any health conditions your puppy may have as well as whether it is fit enough to travel with you or would benefit from more time in foster care at the shelter.

Puppies Love Routine

Puppies thrive on routine. Thus, start yours immediately. The more consistent you are with your puppy's schedule and the more you follow it, the faster it will learn what to expect. If you feed your pup at 8 o'clock every morning and give water at 10:30 every night, for example, it’ll soon come to expect food and drink at those times. If it does not get its meals or water on time, your puppy is likely to begin barking or whining until it gets what it wants.

It's important to be patient with your new puppy when establishing a schedule. It may take some time before learning that eating and going outside are part of its daily routine. 

Food Allergies are Common in Shelter Dogs

Food allergies are common in shelter puppies. It's possible that the dog has an allergy to something in its diet, but it's also possible that the environment you're keeping it in is causing allergies. 

Some puppies may have a genetic predisposition to developing allergies as well. If you're considering adopting a shelter dog and believe it has food allergies, consider changing its diet slowly. That will help ease the symptoms of the condition until you can get it tested for specific allergens.

Your Puppy Probably Has Fleas and Ticks

Most shelters don't have the resources to treat fleas and ticks. Thus, it's a good idea to bring your puppy home and give it a bath before letting it into your house. This will help you avoid bringing any fleas or ticks into your home, where they can spread to other pets. 

If you find even one flea on your pup when it arrives at your house, that means there are probably many more hiding in its fur. Don't be surprised if you see an infestation of them within just a few days. In such cases, you need effective flea treatment for dogs. Appropriate dog flea medication can help your puppy deal with its fleas. 

For puppies older than four weeks, you can give them dog flea pills, ideally Capstar for Dogs. Capstar contains nitenpyram, a compound that can kill fleas in under 30 minutes. However, some puppies might be allergic to nitenpyram. Thus, if you notice any reaction, consult your vet immediately. 

 If not medication, use a flea shampoo for dogs and puppies. You should also use a flea comb with the shampoo for more effective results.

For preventive measures, you must keep your puppy and its surroundings clean. You could also use a flea collar for dogs, like the Seresto Flea Collar. However, these collars are mostly made for adult dogs and not puppies. 

Your Puppy Will Miss Its Old Friends

In the first few days, your puppy will be very confused and upset because it is no longer with its family and siblings. The puppy may cry when you leave it alone or even when you’re home but doing something else. It can be difficult to watch your new pup cry, but remember that it's only temporary. As soon as your pup settles into its new home and becomes familiar with it, it’ll start feeling more comfortable and secure.

If you think your puppy is feeling sad, you can give it some Milk-Bone Dog Treats. Avoid giving your pup calming treats for dogs, as those are mostly for adult dogs. 

Puppies Can Have Injuries You Don't See

Puppies are delicate. They can be hurt easily, get sick easily, and get injured by other dogs or people. Even though you may not see any injuries right away, a puppy’s skin is still very thin and sensitive. It might take longer for wounds to heal on a puppy than they would on an adult dog. 

If you think your puppy has an injury or sickness after bringing it home from the shelter, contact your vet immediately.

Socialize Your Puppy to New Situations Early on

It's important to socialize with your puppy early on. Socialization is the process of exposing your dog to new people, places, and things so that it can get used to them and feel comfortable in those environments. Dogs are naturally curious about things that are different from what they're used to, and early socialization helps them learn how to handle these situations.

You can do this by introducing your puppy to a variety of different environments and activities so that it learns how to behave appropriately in all kinds of situations. 

Take your puppy out for walks around town or through parks, so it gets used to being around other dogs and people. Teach commands like "sit" or "stay" while you're on walks, so it will know what behaviors are expected when there are distractions around him. You can also introduce your puppy to new people like your neighbors, friends, or even family members. At the shelter, such interactions were likely to be limited. Thus, it’s crucial that you take care of your puppy’s socializing skills.

Between 2019 and 2021, dog adoption from shelters decreased by 23%. Of course, fewer dogs have entered shelters during the same period. Thus, there is somewhat of a balance. However, there are still millions of shelter dogs that are waiting to be adopted and finding a new home for themselves.

There is no greater feeling than adopting a puppy from a shelter and giving it a new home. For that, you deserve a lot of praise. At the same time, you also need to be patient on your end. Raising a puppy is no easy task and there’s a lot to overcome here. Thus, make sure you stick to the things discussed above and make your puppy feel welcome in its new home.

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