If you’ve decided to rescue a dog, congratulations! Bringing a rescued pup into your home is an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only do you gain a new family member, but you also help to save a life

There are, however, different considerations at hand when adopting vs. going to a breeder. In this post, we’re providing you with insightful questions to ask so that when you bring your new friend home, you’re as prepared as possible for a smooth transition for both your family and your adopted pup. 

A few key things to know before you visit a rescue shelter

Rescuing a puppy is somewhat different than buying from a pet store or breeder. One of the biggest differences is that it may take longer for a rescue to become comfortable in your home. Dogs that end up in shelters may have had less than ideal prior experiences, so it will be up to you to provide a stable, peaceful home where your pup can feel comfortable.

Prepare before bringing your new pup home

Just as you wouldn’t bring a baby home without being prepared, the same goes for your new pup. The more prepared you are for your furry family member, the better. Here are some necessities to have in place before you bring your new dog home.

Puppy proof. Inspect your home for dangerous situations, such as hanging electrical wires and small items on the floor that your pup could chew on. Gate off areas when necessary.

Check your yard. Ensure that gate locks or latches are secure. Look for any potential escape routes and patch them.

Purchase high-quality food. Get your pup off to a good start with healthy, well-balanced pet nutrition, such as Puppo provides. Also, stock up on food and water bowls.

Also, get some of the food from the dog’s current diet. To prevent stomach upset, you’ll want to start by feeding your new pup the food that’s been part of their ongoing diet, which you can use to help them transition to a higher-quality food, need be.

Set up a crate in a quiet place. Many rescue animals are used to being crated. A crate will make your new furry family member feel secure and will give them somewhere to find refuge if they feel overwhelmed.

Purchase necessities. You’ll want a collar, leash, and ID tag as soon as you pick up your pet. Puppy toys are also a good idea. Always have chew toys on hand! Especially if you are bringing home a young puppy or spirited dog. They may want to chew on furniture, shoes, and other items of value. When you notice them chewing, give them a toy to redirect the undesired behavior. 

Research veterinarians in your area and see which hospital would best suit your needs and wants. Ask your community for input. Also, know where the closest after hours emergency pet hospital is located.

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Be patient as your pup adjusts

It might take a few weeks or even a few months for your rescue pup to adjust to their new environment. In the first few days, they may become overwhelmed and stressed and not eat. Or the dog may have the opposite reaction and become rambunctious. Some pups may experience upset tummy due to stress. They may need medication to help get rid of diarrhea.

After about three weeks, your dog is likely to feel more comfortable and begin to show its true personality. At this time, behavior issues may appear. By three months, your dog is usually comfortable in its new home and adjusted to routines.

25 questions to ask when adopting a dog

So that you can prepare and know what you’re getting into with your new pup, it helps to make a list of questions to ask the rescue shelter. Knowing the answers to the following questions will enable you to give your pup the best home possible.

Adoption questions

1. How did the dog end up in the shelter or foster home?
2. What was the dog’s prior home life like?
3. How long has the dog been in the foster home or shelter?
4. Why was the dog surrendered?

Health questions

5. What’s the pup’s predicted breed and age?
6. When was the dog last checked out by a veterinarian? Were any medical issues discovered, such as allergies?
7. Is the dog spayed or neutered?
8. Are vaccinations current?
9. Is heartworm and flea/tick preventative currently in place?
10. Are the dog’s eyes free of discharge and the ears clean?
11. What’s the pup’s current food, and how much are they being fed? 

Potty training and crate training questions

12. Where does the dog sleep at night? In a crate or dog bed?
13. How does the pup act in the crate?
14. Is the pup potty trained?
15. Does the pup have frequent accidents?

Behavior and personality questions

16. What is the energy level of the dog?
17. How often does the pup need to be walked and for how long?
18. What are the pup’s favorite activities?
19. Is the pup able to be left alone?
20. Does the dog experience separation anxiety?
21. If the dog is in a foster home, is the pup allowed to roam free when no one is home without any misbehavior?
22. Does the dog display any fears?
23. Does the pup chew on things?
24. Is the dog friendly around other dogs, cats, and kids?
25. Is the pup able to relax?

For more tips about helping your new pup adjust, visit the Puppo blog.

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