Helping a Shelter Dog Adjust

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month! If you’re planning to adopt a shelter dog, you definitely have our support! Here, a Flat Rock, NC vet offers some tips on helping Fido settle in. 

Be Prepared

Once you’ve picked your dog out, and you know his age, breed, and size, you’ll want to hit the pet store. Fido will need food, toys, treats, bedding, a leash, a collar or harness, grooming supplies, dishes, more treats, a tie-out line, waste baggies, a first-aid kit, and a crate or carrier. 


To make your home is safe, remove or secure things like ropes and cords; personal belongings, such as shoes and purses; plastic bags and ties; chemicals; medications; and small or sharp objects. Keep closet doors shut, and use trashcans and hampers that close tightly. If you have a yard, make sure that your fencing is secure. It’s also a good idea to get a self-latching gate. Don’t forget to check for and remove toxic plants. (Tip: the ASPCA has a great resource here.) 

Coming Home

Take your canine buddy for a long walk before you bring him in. This will help him stretch his legs, burn off any excess energy, and ‘reset’ a bit. 

Settling In

Put Fido’s things in a quiet back room at first. This will give him a safe spot to settle in. You can put a baby gate at the door, so he can see and hear you. 

Veterinary Care

Your canine companion may sleep a lot at first. That’s normal. Being in a shelter is very stressful, so Fido may just want to recuperate. The main thing on your agenda for that first week should be going to meet his new vet. Aside from that, just let him relax.

Ground Rules

Lay down the law of the house from the start. If you don’t want Fido on the couch, make that clear on Day One. Don’t punish your furry friend for misbehaving. Instead, focus on rewarding good behavior. 

Tail Wags

Going to a shelter, and then getting adopted, are huge changes for dogs. Your canine pal will need time to adjust. Don’t expect perfection right away. With time, patience, love, and great care, you’ll see an amazing transformation. 

Please contact us, your local Flat Rock, NC vet clinic, for all of your pup’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help! 

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