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Checklist for New Adopters

I’m so pleased you’ve reached this page! Welcome to the rewarding journey of adopting a rescue dog!

Opening your heart and home to a rescue dog is not just an act of kindness but the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

To ensure a smooth transition for your new furry friend into their forever home, you must be well-prepared.

This checklist is designed to guide you through the essential steps, helping you provide a safe, welcoming, and loving environment for your new companion.

As you gather items and prepare, you can tick off each item to keep track of your progress.

If you still have questions, go here: FAQs For New Adopters

Group of happy dogs on the grass

Forever Home Checklist

Before Your Amazing Rescue Arrives

Checklist ItemActionTick Box
Find a VetResearch and choose a veterinarian based on reviews and services.[ ]
Secure Pet InsuranceCompare pet insurance options for the best coverage.[ ]
Dog-Proof Your HomeRemove or secure toxic plants, chemicals, and small, swallowable objects.[ ]
Plan the NutritionConsult with a vet about the best diet for your dog’s specific needs.[ ]
Establish a RoutinePlan a daily routine including feeding, walks, playtime, and potty breaks.[ ]
Create a Quiet SpaceSet up a quiet, comfortable area where your dog can retreat and feel safe.[ ]
Research Dog BehaviorLearn about common dog behaviors and signs of stress to better understand your new pet.[ ]

Grab Your Supplies

Supply CategoryItems NeededTick Box
Basic Necessities
Food and Water BowlsStainless steel or ceramic bowls for food and water.[ ]
Dog FoodHigh-quality dog food appropriate for your dog’s age, size, and dietary needs.[ ]
IdentificationCollar with an ID tag including your phone number, and a microchip if not already implanted.[ ]
Leash and HarnessA sturdy leash and a comfortable harness for walks.[ ]
Comfort Items
Dog BedA comfortable, size-appropriate bed for sleeping.[ ]
CrateA crate for safe transport and a secure, cozy space at home.[ ]
BlanketsSoft blankets for extra comfort in their bed or crate.[ ]
Health and Grooming
Grooming SuppliesBrush, comb, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste, and dog shampoo.[ ]
Flea and Tick PreventionRecommended flea and tick prevention products.[ ]
First-Aid KitA basic pet first-aid kit for minor injuries and emergencies.[ ]
Training Supplies
TreatsTraining treats for positive reinforcement.[ ]
Chew ToysDurable chew toys to help with teething and keep them occupied.[ ]
Interactive ToysToys that stimulate their mind and encourage play.[ ]
Training ToolsClicker for clicker training, if desired.[ ]
Poop BagsBiodegradable poop bags for clean-up on walks.[ ]
Cleaning SuppliesEnzymatic cleaner for accidents, lint rollers, etc.[ ]
Travel SuppliesPortable water bowl, travel crate or seatbelt harness for car rides.[ ]
Safety GearReflective collar/leash or light for night walks.[ ]

Upon Arrival – Don’t Forget These!

Checklist ItemActionTick Box
Home IntroductionGradually introduce your dog to their new home and show them their personal space.[ ]
Start Training EarlyBegin with basic commands, using positive reinforcement techniques.[ ]
Schedule a Vet VisitGet a health check-up and discuss vaccination, diet, and spay/neuter if not already done.[ ]
Patience and LoveUnderstand that adjustment takes time and provide plenty of reassurance.[ ]
Establish BoundariesGently enforce rules and boundaries from the start to help your dog feel secure.[ ]
Monitor HealthKeep an eye on your dog’s health and behavior for any signs of illness or distress.[ ]
Introduce to Family MembersSlowly introduce your dog to other family members and pets to avoid overwhelming them.[ ]
Register Your DogEnsure your dog is registered according to local regulations and microchipped.[ ]

Ongoing Care Checklist

Checklist ItemActionTick Box
Regular ExerciseProvide daily exercise tailored to your dog’s energy level and health.[ ]
Continued SocializationRegularly expose your dog to new people, animals, and environments.[ ]
Health MaintenanceKeep up with regular vet visits, vaccinations, and preventive treatments.[ ]
Mental StimulationEngage your dog with puzzles, training, and play to keep their mind sharp.[ ]
Update ID Tags and MicrochipKeep your contact information up-to-date on all ID and microchip databases.[ ]
GroomingMaintain a regular grooming schedule for nails, teeth, coat, and ears.[ ]
Diet and NutritionMonitor and adjust your dog’s diet as needed for their health and age.[ ]
Emergency PreparednessHave an updated emergency plan and kit, including your dog’s needs.[ ]
Behavior TrainingContinue with advanced training or behavior modification if necessary.[ ]
Love and AffectionContinue to provide a loving, stable environment for your dog to thrive.[ ]

Rescue. Rehabilitate. Repeat.