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Tips on Adopting an Abused Dog

Published on December 14th, 2017

If you love animals as we do, you never want to see an animal without a forever home. Perhaps these feelings led you to adopt an animal and if so, we commend you for saving a precious life. However, adopting an abused and/or abandoned dog presents its own set of challenges, and these are not always easy to overcome. As fellow animal lovers at Portage Park Animal Hospital, we want to pass along some tips that we hope will help you and your new friend make the transition easier.

Create a safe environment

One of the first things to do to help them make the transition to their new life is to create a safe environment for them by doing some or all of the following.

  • Make them feel loved by communicating clearly and gently with him.
  • Don’t force anything on them under any circumstances. Allow him or her to adapt to their new family and life at their own pace, and provide a safe place where he or she can be alone when they feel like it.
  • Choose a balanced, species-appropriate diet.
  • Try to provide plenty of exercise, perhaps 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day.

Additional steps

  • Try to speak in low tones to begin with, even when giving training commands. Dogs are sensitive to the tone of human voices, and yelling may trigger fear in a previously abused animal.
  • If your dog fears other people or animals, protect them from forced interactions. It’s counterproductive to force these exchanges on them before they’re ready.
  • Spend some quiet, alone time with them each day. Find a comfortable room, do something relaxing like reading a book and pass out an occasional treat to them. When they move toward you to get the treats, you’ll know you’re making progress.
  • Most importantly, always discuss your pets’ history with the shelter before adoption, and if you have never had a pet before, maybe consider adopting a pet without a history of any abuse.

Remember, the adjustment from fear to trust takes time and patience, and we hope these suggestions will help you and your furry friend establish a bond of love and live a long, happy life together.

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