Shelter dogs make incredible pets. They can be loyal, grateful, and generous with their affection. They can also have some special issues that make parenting them a little more complex than dogs with simpler origin stories. The key to being a successful rescue dog owner is understanding – and being compassionate to – these challenges.

Every dog is required by law to be seen by a licensed veterinarian within thirty days prior to adoption. There is an excellent chance that your dog was seen by a bet in Kentucky prior to coming to NEW PAWSibilities.  Some of our rescues have recently undergone spay/neuter surgery, all have been appropriately vaccinated, dewormed, heartworm tested, and given flea and tick preventatives. Some dogs may also require additional medical treatments such as respiratory infections or skin conditions.

Many of our dogs will have traveled to Oshkosh within a short time of having received spay/neuter surgery and gotten all of the appropriate vaccinations. Respiratory infections (kennel cough), a weakened immune system, and digestive issues are common in the first few days after transport. They could still have a variety of worms depending upon when they were last dewormed.

Keep your new dog at home (other than taking him to see your vet) for the first week or so as he settles in and look for any signs of illness such as coughing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea. These are all normal with a rescue dog and with proper nutrition and hydration dogs usually bounce back within two to three weeks.

Your dog’s medical record will detail everything but we recommend a vet visit within thirty days. If there are any booster shots or other treatments required your adoption counselor will make you aware of this. Always talk to your vet about flea and tick treatment, dog food and suggested supplements, and any concerns you are having about your dog’s physical and mental health.

Change is stressful for all dogs, particularly for those who might associate change with danger or resource scarcity. Rescue dogs generally have a persistent fear of change. During the adjustment period which could take weeks, months, or, sometimes, years, these are some of the behaviors that your dog could engage in.

Obvious shyness, hiding, or timid behavior

Excessive or unexplained barking

Marking of territory or backsliding on house-training

Possessiveness over people or objects

Leash aggression/aggression with other dogs

Avoidance or nervousness around strangers

The first few days, keep introductions to new people and pets at a minimum while your dog’s getting adjusted. He or she is probably going to be overwhelmed and might become too stimulated by a lot of noise or unexpected smells. You also want to stick close to home the first few weeks so that your dog learns to trust that this is home now and that he or she doesn’t have to worry about being moved to a new shelter or taken somewhere unsafe.

There’s a great chance you won’t experience any unusual behaviors from your rescue dog! Your new dog or puppy will probably be very excited and grateful to have found a loving home.