How to Make Your Rescue Pet Feel Comfortable in Your Home

Woman working at a dog shelter

Help Your Rescue Pet Adjust to Its New Home During Adopt a Dog Month

Do you plan to add a furry friend to your family soon? Adjusting to a new home can be a little overwhelming for rescue pets, even though they're sure to enjoy all the love and affection you give them. These tips can make your new pet's first weeks at home much easier.

Stock Up on Essential Supplies

Make sure you have everything your pet will need before you bring it home from the shelter or rescue group. Must-have items include:

  • A Collar. Tighter isn't better when it comes to collars. A collar fits comfortably if you can fit two fingers under it.
  • Leash. Buy one or two standard 6' leashes (not retractable) for your new pet. Harnesses are a safer option for small dogs.
  • Identification Tag. Even if your pet is microchipped, it's a good idea to add an ID tag to its collar.
  • Dishes and Bowls. Purchase stainless steel or glass food and water bowls. (Plastic bowls can trap odors and bacteria.)
  • Bed. Your new dog will need a comfy place to sleep. Choose a bed that's big enough for your pet to stretch out on.
  • Toys. Every dog needs a few toys to keep it busy and engaged. The Humane Society of the United States recommends avoiding toys that are small enough to swallow.
  • Crate. A crate serves as your dog's den and can help an overwhelmed dog feel a little more secure in a new home. Make sure the crate is big enough to allow your dog to turn around.
  • Pooper Scooper and Bags. Feeling dog poop squish under your shoes is never a pleasant experience. Whether your pet will be relieving itself in your backyard or during walks around the neighborhood, you'll need a scooper and plenty of bags.

Wait to Change Your Dog's Food

Sudden dietary changes can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea. It's best to stick to the food the shelter or rescue group used for the first few weeks your pet is in your home. After that, add a small amount of the new food with every meal, gradually increasing the new food and decreasing the old.

Postpone Name Changes Too

How would you react if the people at a new place insisted on calling you Muffin when your name was Sterling? Trying to introduce a new name while your pet is still getting used to its new home can make the adjustment process more difficult. Chances are you'll get used to the name, even if it's not your favorite. If you still want to change the pet's name, wait a few weeks, then begin calling it Muffin Sterling, eventually dropping Sterling.

Introduce New People Slowly

It's only natural to want to introduce your new pet to your friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, meeting many new people at once can be overwhelming, particularly for a timid or fearful dog. Wait until your pet gets used to your family members before inviting other people over. Introduce one or two people at a time, if you can. Don't host any large gatherings at your home in the first few weeks after your dog comes home.

Don't Rush Pet Introductions

You never know how your new pet and your current pet will react to each other the first time they meet. It's best to keep both pets on leashes or behind gates during the first meeting.

Give Your Pet a Tour

Show your new pet the location of food and water dishes and their bed. If you want your dog to use a corner of your yard as its toilet, show your pet the preferred area. Once your dog relieves itself in the correct spot, offer a treat.

Be Patient

A few things are bound to go wrong during your pet's first days or weeks at home. Housetraining accidents, chewing, and other behavioral problems may occur as your dog learns a new routine and expectations. A patient and understanding attitude will help your pet adjust to new routines and expectations.

Take Your Pet to the Veterinarian

Your pet's vet will give your new dog a clean bill of health and offer vaccines that will prevent diseases that could sicken or kill your pet. The veterinarian will also discuss spaying or neutering your dog to prevent an unwanted litter.

Do you plan to bring a new dog home during Adopt a Dog Month in October? Contact our office to schedule your dog's first appointment with the veterinarian.

Sources:

American Kennel Club: How to Help an Adult Dog Adjust to a New Home, 6/29/21

Petfinder: Tips for the First 30 Days of Dog Adoption

Humane Society of the United States: How to Make Your New Dog Feel Comfortable in Your Home

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Please contact us at the clinic with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "I love the fact that the office opens at 7:30 am. I am able to get in before work whenever I need treatments for my cats. Everyone in the office is super friendly and gentle when handling my pets. I was seen very quickly after my appointment time. Thank you all for a fantastic visit!"
    Sassy Lane
  • "Wedgewood Pet Clinic provides phenomenal care to our dogs! The veterinarians at Wedgewood have been the exclusive providers of medical care for our dogs for 20 years. Dr. Belcourt, Dr. Heintz, and the Wedgewood staff really care about their patients, and it shows! I highly recommend Wedgewood Pet Clinic."
    Brian Fagan
  • "I recently had to say goodbye to the best furry friend on the face of the planet! It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do! They were so great with the entire process! They handled everything with such grace, empathy, dignity, and respect at a time when I could barely put a sentence together without crying! They made time for us when they were very busy, and yet took the time to let us say goodbye properly! I cannot thank them enough! My entire family has taken our pets there for years and will continue to do so! We can't say enough great things about them! Thank you Wedgewood for being so great!"
    Ashley C
  • "I've trusted my cat's delicate and unique health conditions to Dr. Heintz for the past 7 years and have nothing bad to say. He cares for the animal's health and is easy to communicate with; he's always responsive and upfront. Everyone in the office are friendly and provides wonderful care. I highly recommend this clinic even if it's a little out of your way."
    Sarah Smith
  • "Dr. Heintz is hands down the most compassionate & kind person. I've been going to him for years and wouldn't ever stray. He is thorough and does what is necessary. 10 out of 10 recommend."
    Leah Rose
  • "Wedgewood is always fantastic! They are very friendly and do an awesome job with even the most nervous pets! They are timely and efficient and truly care about your pet!"
    Alissa B
  • "We drive 30 minutes to have our dogs seen by Dr Heintz. He's amazing and the staff at Wedgewood is always friendly. Highly recommend!"
    Laura Chambers
  • "Wedgewood is now our forever vet! Dr. Heintz and staff helped us through a very difficult time with two sick puppies. I've never had a veterinarian show so much care and concern for our puppies, our situation, and all of our questions. The staff was always courteous and helpful. Wedgewood went above and beyond, and we're extremely grateful!"
    KL
  • "I've been using Dr Heintz for about 5 years now. He takes the time to explain what is going on and to answer questions. The whole staff is wonderful. Hands down this is the best vet clinic I've ever been to!"
    Kat F.