What to Prepare Before your Shelter Dog Arrives

Bringing a new pet home is an exciting time for any eager owner, but it can be an extremely daunting experience for your animal, especially if he is currently living in a shelter. Shelters are a very different world to a regular, loving home with dozens of animals, if not more, and very little one to one attention. If your adopted dog has been living in a shelter for some time, or maybe even more than one, he won’t understand that your home is going to be his home forever, and this means that it will take him a while to feel comfortable. If you are relatively new to owning a dog, you will need a little time to get everything in place and fully prepared to make his arrival as smooth as possible too.

Here is our guide to what to prepare before your shelter dog arrives.

Get him registered with a veterinarian

While your dog is hopefully coming to you fit and healthy and up to date with his preventative care, you never quite know when an injury or illness is likely to happen. Therefore, it is beneficial to have your pet fully registered with a veterinarian, with all his medical records transferred over, as soon as possible. Getting this sorted before he comes to live with you means that when he arrives you can concentrate on getting him settled.

Sort out pet insurance

On the same subject, it is also beneficial to get his insurance cover in place, so that you have peace of mind should any veterinary care be needed.

Buy the things he will need

Animals need plenty of equipment to get them settled, and all this should be bought in advance of his arrival so that he can settle in straight away. This is probably the most fun part of pet preparations! Things you will need for your new dog include:

- Food and water bowls

- A bed

- Collar

- Leash

- Toys

- Treats

- And of course, his food! Most shelters recommend that you buy the same food as is being given by his shelter for the time being, to avoid causing too many changes at once. You can gradually swap to a different product at a later stage once he has settled into your home.

Many veterinarians also recommend that you purchase a crate and crate train your new canine as soon as possible. This can prove invaluable for helping him to feel secure, and also to keep him (and your property!) safe should he need to be left unsupervised for any period of time.

Think about how you are getting him home

If you are planning on driving your new dog home, you will need to make sure that you have suitable restraints in your vehicle. These will stop him from roaming around the interior and potentially distracting you and keep him safe in the event of a crash. Our vet or the shelter where you are getting your dog will be able to advise you which is best for your furbaby.

Prepare the people in your home and your home itself

It may sound silly, but a dog is a huge responsibility and one that everyone in your home will need to take on. Often things that you take for granted or don’t give a second thought to will need to change, and everyone will need to understand and embrace these responsibilities to help keep your dog safe and integrate him into your way of life. This includes simple things like remembering to close the doors or windows or keeping harmful substances out of reach of your new pet. If you keep painkillers in your purse you will need to make sure you don’t leave it unattended where your pet can get at it, and electrical wires must be secured safely away. There are dozens of potential hazards that you should prepare for ahead of your shelter dog’s arrival. You could also consider drawing up a list of responsibilities, such as feeding and walking your new addition and decide in advance predominantly who will be doing them.

If you are still unsure about how best to prepare for your shelter dog’s arrival, our veterinary team would be pleased to offer their knowledge and experience and give you all of the advice you need. Please don’t delay, get in touch with us today.