What Should I Expect when I Adopt a Dog from a Shelter?

Adopting a dog from a shelter is a great choice, but you may have some questions on what to expect when taking this route. As any new parent or pet owner, you might be a little nervous! That's perfectly okay and very normal. Here are some things to expect when adopting your dog:

1. They Will Not be Perfect

Don't expect too much from your new dog. Your new dog came from a stressful situation and will need some time to calm down. You have to keep in mind that your routine may be different from their last owner's routine. Your dog may be confused for a while, but will adjust. Make sure to supervise them at all times, especially around children.

2. They Need Time to Adjust

Your new dog will need time to adjust to you and its new surroundings. Everything is new to your dog, just like your dog is new to you. Giving your dog some space is also a good idea, unless they approach you. You can start making small changes over time and craft your own routine from there.

3. If You Adopted from a Foster Home...

If you adopted from a rescue that is maintained by fosters, this can make the transition a little easier or a little harder. It depends on each individual situation. If you chose this route, you may want to get a list of how they run their daily routine with the dog. Bringing along a couple of their favorite toys, their bed, etc. will make the transition easier for both of you. If you are able to get a bag of the food the fosters were feeding the dog, it will be easier for your dog to adjust to a new food. Mix in the old food with the new, then slowly decrease the proportion of old to new.

4. Avoid too Many Stressful Situations in a Row

You may be excited about your new dog and rightfully so! However, if you're planning on taking your new dog to a party or to meet some friends, you may want to hold off. Your new dog went from a home, to a shelter, and to a new home all in a very short time span. This can be very stressful for your dog. Avoid taking your dog to new places and meeting a lot of new people. This should be avoided until your dog is comfortable with you and comfortable in your home.

5. You Will Need to Take Them to the Vet

Most shelter dogs nowadays are carefully vetted before they're put up for adoption. Through the stressful adoption process, your dog could still fall ill. Scheduling a routine appointment when you first get your dog is the first step to preventing any diseases or illnesses. This will also get your dog and your vet acquainted.

We hope this answers most questions or concerns you may have when considering a shelter pet. If you have more questions or concerns about adopting a shelter dog, please enter them in the comments below! You can also reach out to your local shelter or rescue with any concerns you may have.