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Adopting a Dog: The Ultimate Guide to Dog Adoption

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

Read By: Pet Lovers
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Getting to Know the Pet Community

Before you bring home your new, furry friend, check out your local pet-related businesses. You should locate a veterinarian, be sure you're comfortable with him or her, and talk about what to expect with your dog's healthcare. Ask friends and family to refer you to their veterinarian. You might also consider choosing a groomer, trainer, boarding facility, and/or doggie daycare for your dog.

It is also helpful to search for the closest 24 hour emergency veterinary hospital. When you find one, call them to learn their fees and their location. This is information that will be difficult to obtain during the stress of an actual emergency. Many emergency facilities will even give you a tour, if you are interested.

Before you bring your dog home, you may also want to search for a pet-friendly park where you can walk your dog and perhaps let him run off-leash (when he is trained and ready for that!).

It is also wise to line up some pet-loving friends who would be willing to lend their pets to help you socialize your dog. As an added perk, if your dog is socialized with your friend's pets, your friend may be more likely to pet-sit when needed!

Supplies for Fido

Listed below are supplies to consider obtaining for your dog. Some of these items may need to be purchased after you have adopted your dog. Many pet stores allow dogs to shop with their owners; the two of you may enjoy choosing these items together.

1. Dog Food - Choose a quality, nutritious food. This will be the basis for his energy used to grow, thrive, and enjoy life with you!

2. Food and Water Bowls - These can be fun and unique to your dog's personality, or they can be simple and functional.

3. Leash - Leashes come in several styles, serving different functions. There are loads of colors and prints available.

4. Collar - A dog's collar is his main article of clothing. It can display his personality while serving as a leash connector and a holder or his ID tags.

5. Dog Bed - Spoil your dog with a luxurious place to lay his adorable head.

6. Treats - Treats are great for training, rewarding a good behavior, and just as a special snack.

7. Toys - Toys provide your dog with mental and physical stimulation, entertainment, activities with you, and they can even clean his teeth!

8. Shampoo - Keep Fido's coat soft, clean, and smelling fresh with a shampoo made for dogs.

9. Dog Crate - These are especially important during the initial months of training and adjusting to his new home. A crate can provide a dog with security and comfort.

10. Dog Tags - If your dog gets lost, a tag will provide the person who finds him with your name and phone number.

11. Toothpaste and toothbrush - Dogs need clean teeth too, but don't use your own oral hygiene products on Fido!

12. Nail trimmers - Your dog will need his nails trimmed regularly so he can walk comfortably.

13. Pet Seat Belt - If your dog will be riding in the car frequently, you may want to consider buckling him in with a pet seat belt.

14. Pooper Scooper - Keep your yard sanitary, and pick up after your canine friend.

15. Puppy Training Pads - These are disposable pads made of diaper material that can be laid out to absorb potential puppy accidents.

16. Baby Gates - These can be used to keep your dog out of off-limits rooms.

Pet Proofing Your Home

As you prepare for your new adopted dog, prepare your home for your new dog ahead of time. This is especially important if you are adopting a puppy! Make sure it is safe and there will be no threats to your new housemate.

The easiest way to do this is get down on the floor at a dog's level. Look around. What can a dog reach? What might he pull over on himself? What is he going to chew? Try to move these items out of his reach. Tie up loose electrical cords... dogs will chew on these! Do not leave small items, clothing, shoes, children's toys, etc, lying about. Dogs will eat these!

Use trashcans with lids. Dogs love to root through the trash. Bathroom trash is especially appealing and dangerous. Items such as diapers, women's sanitary items, and dental floss are common gastro-intestinal foreign bodies.

You may want to cover linoleum and hardwood floors with rugs. Dogs may slide on these floors and become apprehensive about walking on them.

Be sure all windows and screens are well secured to prevent a dog from jumping or falling.

If you have a pool, it should be covered or otherwise unaccessible to your dog to prevent drowning.

With puppies, it is probably best to place a baby gate in front of any staircases.

Cleaning chemicals, rat poisons, onions, garlic, insect baits, chocolate, antifreeze, some plants, potpourri, cigarettes and ashes, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, and many over-the-counter and prescription drugs are some potential toxins. Keep these items completely out of your dog's reach. If you're unsure about an item, consult your veterinarian.

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