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Adopting a rescue dog or cat saves a life. According to the Humane Society, 2.7 million shelter animals are euthanized each year because there is not enough room to help them all. Rescuing a shelter animal provides a second chance for many pets.

If you are planning on adopting a dog or cat, the first few days at home can be very stressful and confusing for your rescue animal. However, by following these adoption tips, you can prepare and provide a smooth transition for your rescue pet.



It is extremely important to prepare for your home for your new pet. Determine where your dog or cat will be spending most of their time and make sure it can be easily cleaned up. Your dog or cat may forget any house rules during their transition so a kitchen may be the perfect place to start. Be sure to also pet-proof the rest of your home. This may include taping loose electrical cords, removing plants, storing cleaners on higher shelves and setting up baby gates. If you are adopting a cat, putting double-sided sticky tape or upside-down carpet runners on furniture may discourage him or her from scratching. Lastly, don’t forget to register your pet and bring an ID tag with your phone number to your pickup. This provides an extra measure of safety in case anything does go wrong.



Picking up your pet will be exciting, but don’t forget to follow these tips. When you pick up your pet, be sure to ask what and when they were fed so you can replicate that schedule for a few days. If you plan to switch food brands, do so over time and not immediately or your pet may get sick. Your dog or cat should also be safely secured on the way home, and a crate works best. Some animals find car trips stressful, so providing a safe place will help make the ride more comfortable.


First Days

Once you are home, take your pet to their toileting area and spend a reasonable amount of time there. This allows your dog or cat to get used to the area and relieve themselves. Moving will be very stressful for your new pet so be sure to give them time to adjust to your home and strangers. If you plan using crate training for your dog, leave the crate open so that he or she can go in whenever they feel like it in case they gets overwhelmed. Additionally, provide your new pet with affection but also do not overwhelm them. Instead, give your pet attention for good behavior.


It may take weeks until your rescue pet shows their true personality. Your pet may feel uneasy until they get to know you better. Rescuing an animal has so many benefits, and the best part if the unconditional love you will receive. Bringing a new pet home can be stressful, but these tips will help you have a long and loving life with your dog or cat.


Lisa Landman is a strong advocate of adopting pets and has six rescue dogs! Want to see photos of her dogs? Check our her dog gallery or Twitter!