rescue dog owner

5 Things Every Rescue Dog Owner Needs to Know

In Dogs by Emotional Pet Support TeamLeave a Comment

Have you ever wanted to adopt your very own rescue dog? There are thousands of rescue dogs in shelters across the country that are in need of loving homes. PetMD states that rescue dogs usually go through a lot of training to become what they are. If you’ve been kind enough to adopt one, you can be proud in the knowledge that you’ve given a dog a well-deserved second chance. Though rescue animals always come with a few complications, they’re definitely worth it. You can easily adopt a dog of your very own by searching online for local adoption centers.

Here are five things you should know if you have a rescue dog:

1). Do you have any pet insurance?

rescue dog resting

Some charities with rehoming shelters offer free insurance when you adopt a dog with them.

However, it’s important to note that these kinds of insurance are either temporary or incomplete. Third party liability insurance does not cover vet bills. And if the shelter gives you time-limited free insurance, you’ll need to renew it – or get a new policy – when this runs out, to make sure you and your pet are fully covered.

2). Preventing a lost dog

Any rescue dog is often nervous and unsure when first adopted, especially if they have a history of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, this means that many attempts to run away from their loving new owners. So, as well as making sure your property is getaway-proof, be sure to look for an insurance policy that will cover the cost of leaflets and a reward just in case your dog decides they’re an escape artist.

3). How old is your rescue dog?

When you adopt a dog, sometimes the animal shelter will not be sure of its date of birth. If the dog was given up for adoption by a previous family, they’ll usually have fuller records than if it was a stray.

4). What breed is your dog?

Some shelters may not know the exact breed of your rescue dog, especially if they are a wonderful cross-breed or mixed breed. So, you are advised to speak with your vet and select the closest match.

5). Does your dog have any pre-existing medical conditions?

Again, the problem with this is the animal shelter you adopted your pet from may not know if it has any medical conditions. This doesn’t only apply if it was a stray – previous owners might not have known about them either.

Guidance from pet insurance companies is to check with the re-homing center or ask your vet to examine your dog for any obvious signs. Be sure to let your insurer know if the vet finds any indication of a pre-existing medical condition.


In the worst-case scenario, your pet insurance provider may refuse to give your dog cover.

If you’ve read up to this point then you’re up for a treat – not a dog treat. We have a short guide below which should help ensure that your rescue dog is a pleasure to live with and more importantly for the dog, will never be returned to a shelter:

  • Entering a new home will be a stressful time for the dog.  Let him settle in for 2 weeks and just ignore a lot of his overtures. Love him with your voice but try not to over-handle him in the first couple of weeks.
  • Use only one word to let the dog know he’s doing something wrong. Keep the rest of your vocal communication with him very soft and gentle. Use body language to let him know what you want him to do.
  • Don’t tell your dog off by using his name.
  • Give your dog an area of safety, such as a sleeping crate.
  • Don’t let children disturb him if he’s sleeping.
  • Teach him to separate. Don’t have him with you all the time.
  • If you have to leave him for long periods of time, make sure that he has plenty of fruit and vegetables or raw food to munch on while you’re out.
  • If you’re unsure of his behavior with other dogs and he’s a big dog, temporarily muzzle him until you are sure he won’t damage another animal.
  • Keep him on a long lunging lead in the park until you’re sure he will come back to you each time you call him.
  • Have him micro-chipped so that if he becomes lost, you can find him again.
  • Feed him outside as well as inside to encourage him to use the garden for toileting purposes.
  • Don’t let children hug the dog tightly around the neck.
  • As a family, make your rules for the dog and stick to them.
  • Don’t use aggressive body language such as pointing, raising your hand, tapping the dog on the nose, scuffing, holding it down or grabbing it by the collar.
  • Don’t hand food to the dog.  Throw it to on the floor or throw it to him and let him catch it.
  • Ensure you have a safe garden so that he can spend some time in the fresh air.
  • Don’t let him answer the doorbell. You are his protector, don’t let him become yours.
  • Don’t mistake barking at visitors as him being a good watchdog; it isn’t….
  • Make sure your dog understands his rules and boundaries and learn to communicate with him in his own language rather than expecting him to understand your language.

Follow these basic guidelines and there is no reason why you can’t love your dog and have a great relationship with him. But please do seek professional help if your dog does start to get the better of you. After all, the last thing either of you wants is for him to end up back in a shelter. You can register your emotional support dog with us if you ever need an ESA Letter to help you live with it or travel via plane with it.

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