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Helping Your Shelter Dog Adjust

October 1, 2021

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month! We love seeing pups going to new homes. There are few things more heartwarming than seeing those adorable Gotcha Day posts and videos showing pooches that are just over the moon to get adopted. Of course, Fido will need some time to get settled. A Washington DC vet offers some advice on that in this article.


Before you bring Fido inside his new home for the first time, take him for a walk. This will allow him to reset and absorb the fact that he has left the shelter or foster home. It will also help him burn off any zoomies, so he’ll be calmer after. Plus, your canine pal will appreciate being able to get a feel for his new surroundings.

Offer Doggy Luxuries

You’ll need to pick up some things for your furry friend, such as bedding, food, toys, treats, and a leash or collar. Have your pet’s things set out and waiting for him. If you have other pets, you may want to put Fido in his own room at first. It’s okay to go a little overboard with toys and treats at first. It’s important for your new pooch to feel safe and loved. Just stick with things you know are safe.


Dogs tend to feel more secure when they’re on a set schedule for walks, meals, playtime, and, of course, treats. Get Fido started on his new agenda right away. It’s also important to be consistent with your house rules. Don’t let your canine companion onto the couch the first night if you don’t want him up there all the time. Also, avoid punishing your furry friend for mishaps. Focus on rewarding good behavior.


Fido may need some time to adjust, especially if he was at the shelter for a while. He may sleep a lot at first, as he recuperates from the stress and trauma of being in a shelter. That’s fine! Treats, toys, playtime, and love will all help get that tail going. Don’t try to force attention on your new canine buddy. Offer great care, and give him the time he needs to relax. This varies somewhat from dog to dog, but could take several months. 

Please contact us, your local Washington DC pet hospital, for all your new pet’s veterinary care needs! We’re here to help!

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