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5 Essential Tips to Adopt a Rescue Dog
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5 Essential Tips to Adopt a Rescue Dog

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Congratulations! If you've committed to adopting a dog from an animal rescue or shelter, you'll be helping them live their best life in their new forever home, and we have the tips to make you the best pawrent ever!

Want help navigating the application process, budgeting future costs as a dog mom or dog dad, and more?  Get the complete guide now.

guide to adopting a dog

In many ways, raising a dog is not unlike raising a child. You have made a commitment to sacrifice your time and resources to ensure your new pup feels safe and happy in their new home. These tips will help you provide a proper welcome when your furbaby comes home. 

Connect with the vet

When you leave the shelter or rescue, your first conversation should be with the last veterinarian who treated the dog. The rescue organization most likely had the dog screened for underlying illnesses or conditions.  Find out if the dog is up to date with their vaccines and whether they need a special diet. If you are willing to bring the pup to any needed medical visits and provide proper nutrition and exercise, you are halfway to becoming the best pawrent!

Dog-proof your home

You may have to make some minor home makeovers to ensure your new dog is safe and happy in their new home. If you have any electric cables lying around, some cable management might be required. Store all detergents, medication, and toxic chemicals away from your dog’s reach. Seal off any openings that may tempt your pup to escape. Take care with dangling collar tags if the dog will be left alone as these have caused entanglements that left dogs unable to free themselves.

Keep them well groomed

Grooming time can be the best time to bond with your dog. Wash and brush their coat regularly to keep it clean and tangle-free. Read our blog post about whether organic dog shampoo is worth it.  Keep their nose moist and paws comfy and protected against the elements with your choice of Pup Wax, our high quality collection of dog nose balms and paw waxes made from the cleanest ingredients. Grooming helps your new pup feel appreciated and loved and the hands on touch is sure to strengthen your bond. For any grooming needs that you're not comfortable taking care of at home, check with the rescue organization first. Your pup may have experienced a lot of changes in a short period of time and a visit to a groomer could be too overwhelming for them if they were just rescued or be contraindicated due to health reasons.

Proper nutrition and exercise for your dog

Come up with a feeding plan for your new rescue dog. Puppies usually need to eat at least three times a day. Large dogs can often make do with one or two meals a day.  Check with the veterinarian to confirm the best recommendation for your rescue dog. Take the dog out for walks every day and schedule a time for play and exercise in your fenced-in yard or at the dog park if the rescue has okayed the socialization. This is important for their physical and emotional well-being - and yours!

Shower them with fun gifts

Provide your dog with a clean bed, feeding and drinking bowls, doggie blanket, crate, or dog house. Create some space inside your home for this new pup to call their own while they are staying in your care. There are a lot of fun toys to help keep dogs entertained.  Look for a mix of toys that are safe and also provide intellectual stimulation or promote physical activity such as tugging, chewing, or fetching.

Final thoughts

Becoming a dog parent is one of the most rewarding decisions you can make in life. The above tips should prepare you to be the best pup parent to a new puppy or older dog in need of a loving home.

If you are thinking of adopting or fostering, click here to download our Ultimate Guide to Adopting a Rescue Pup  We've put together the best information on how to decide between fostering versus adopting, budgeting for future costs including food and medical care, and succeeding in the application process!

Download our free guide for all the extra must-know details and adoption hacks now.

ultimate guide to adopting a dog