October is going to the dogs – shelter dogs that is


It's not only feral cats that are gaining recognition in October (See: “Feral Cats Come Out of the Shadows on National Feral Cat Day, Oct. 16”). Shelter dogs are also in the spotlight this month. October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog month, an event sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to help homeless dogs in shelters across the country find loving homes.


Events such as National Adopt a Shelter Dog month help put the spotlight on the need for adoptions. And the good news is that such publicity, along with the power of social media, appears to be making a difference. Data from ASPCA released March 2017 shows a decrease in the number of animals entering shelters and a far better chance of them getting

adopted. The data indicates:

  • Fewer animals entering shelters: At the time of the report, 6.5 million cats and dogs enter U.S. shelters each year (3.2 million cats and 3.3 dogs). This figure reflects a decline from 2011 when the total figure for cats and dogs entering shelters was 7.2 million.

  • More adoptions: 3.2 million shelter animals adopted in March 2017 versus 2.7 million in 2011

  • Decline in shelter euthanasia: In 2011, 2.6 million shelter animals lost their lives. March 2017 figure is 1.5 million.


Also according to ASPCA research, pet problems are the most common reason that owners re-home their pet. Pet problems are defined as problematic behaviors, aggressive behaviors, grew larger than expected, or health problems owner couldn’t handle. As it relates to behavior, it may take your new dog several months to feel comfortable in its new environment and to show its true personality.


Tips for helping your shelter dog adjust


Here are some tips from Petfinder to help your new shelter dog adjust during its first 30 days in your home.

  • Give your new dog time to adjust to your home and family before introducing him or her to strangers.

  • Follow the shelter food and feeding schedule for your new dog for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to half new food, half old, and then one part old to three parts new.

  • Once home, take your dog to its toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time there until your dog is used to the area.

  • If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so that he or she can go in can go in when it wants.

  • Start your schedule of feeding, toileting and play/exercise from Day One. Also your dog will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Don’t give in and comfort your dog if it whines when left alone. Instead, provide lots of attention to good behavior.

  • For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog, limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighborhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to settle in easier, it will give you more one-on-one time to get to know his or her likes and dislikes.

You can see the entire list of recommendations from Petfinder here. Just remember,

Post Settingsp off on the “right paw.”

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