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Adopting A Rescue Dog

May 15 2023

May 20th is Adopt A Rescue Dog Day! This is a wonderful cause, and one that we are thrilled to support and spread the word about. For those who are thinking about bringing a new canine buddy into their lives, a rescue dog could be the perfect fit. A Champaign, IL vet offers some advice on adopting Fido in this article.


There are some wonderful benefits to getting a rescued pooch. Giving Fido a second chance at happiness can be a very rewarding and enriching experience. It’s also just something you can feel great about. You’ll also be promoting great animal welfare, supporting a shelter or rescue, and setting a good example. Plus, many rescue dogs are extremely loving and loyal. You may find that your furry friend really just wants someone to love him and care for him. 

Finding Fido

There are a lot of things to consider when picking out your new pup. Size, breed, age, and personality should all factor in when determining how well Fido will fit into your household. Most shelters are pretty thorough about doing personality tests, and screening for things like compatibility with cats and/or children. Follow your heart, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Coming Home

Before bringing your new canine pal home, take time to do some petproofing. There may be a lot of question marks in Fido’s history. That means he may have a few personal quirks you don’t know of yet, such as an affinity for eating plants. Remove or secure anything that isn’t safe. If you have a yard, make sure your fencing is secure. If possible, have all of the doggy necessities ready and waiting for your new pet when you bring him home.

Tail Wags

Sadly, many rescue dogs have been through some bad experiences. Man’s Best Friend is very resilient, and can come back from horrible trauma and neglect. However, that takes time. Plus, even pups that weren’t subjected to abuse may still be traumatized by being in a shelter environment. Changing owners is extremely distressing for pets! Be patient and consistent, and give Fido the time, love, and care he needs. With love and good care, you’ll be getting happy dances and tail wags before you know it! 

Our Advice on Adopting A Rescue Dog in 2024

What are the benefits of adopting a rescue dog?

Adopting a rescue dog offers several benefits, including the chance to provide a second chance at happiness for animals in need, which can be a highly rewarding experience. It promotes animal welfare, supports shelters and rescues, and sets a positive example for others. Rescue dogs often exhibit immense loyalty and affection, seeking love and care from their new owners. This act of adoption not only enriches the life of the dog but also contributes to the greater good of animal welfare and sets a commendable example in the community.

What should you expect during the first few days and weeks with your new rescue dog?

During the initial days and weeks with a new rescue dog, expect a period of adjustment as the dog acclimates to its new environment. This phase may include uncovering the dog’s unique quirks and habits, some of which might be reactions to past experiences, such as a preference for or aversion to certain objects or situations. Patience and consistency are crucial, as rescue dogs may need time to overcome any trauma or stress from previous situations or shelter life. Secure and pet-proof your home, and provide a stable, loving atmosphere to help your new companion settle in, fostering trust and comfort.

How can you introduce your rescue dog to existing pets in your household?

Introducing a rescue dog to existing pets requires careful planning and patience. Start with controlled, neutral-ground meetings to prevent territorial responses. Use leashes for safety and observe body language closely for signs of stress or aggression. Gradually increase the duration of these interactions based on positive responses. At home, maintain separate spaces initially to give each pet their own sanctuary. Ensure all pets receive equal attention to avoid jealousy. Consistently reinforce calm behavior with praise and treats. Over time, supervised interactions can become more frequent, easing the transition into a cohesive, peaceful household dynamic.

What are the common health issues to be aware of when adopting a rescue dog?

When adopting a rescue dog, be aware of common health issues that may include parasites (fleas, ticks, and worms), dental problems, malnutrition or obesity, and skin conditions like mange or allergies. Many rescue dogs also come with a history of insufficient veterinary care, leading to untreated diseases or conditions such as heartworm, kennel cough, or even more serious chronic illnesses like diabetes or arthritis. Conduct a thorough veterinary examination early to assess and address any health concerns, ensuring a proactive approach to the dog’s well-being and integration into its new home.

How can you provide proper training and socialization for your rescue dog?

Providing proper training and socialization for a rescue dog begins with understanding its unique background and needs. Start with basic obedience training using positive reinforcement techniques to build trust and communication. Establish a routine to offer stability. Socialization should be gradual, exposing the dog to new environments, people, and other pets in controlled, positive settings to prevent overwhelming them. Consider enrolling in a training class specifically designed for rescue dogs to address any behavioral issues effectively. Patience and consistency are key, as is the willingness to seek professional help if needed to ensure a well-adjusted and happy pet.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local Champaign, IL animal hospital, today!

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