3 Tips For Taking In A Stray Dog
Did you recently find a stray dog in or around your neighborhood? Are you thinking of keeping the dog as a pet? Giving a stray dog a good home can be a very loving act and it may end up bringing both you and the dog much happiness. However, before you integrate the dog into your home and your family, it's important that you make sure the dog is safe, healthy, and trustworthy. Remember, as sweet as dogs can be, it's also possible that the dog spent considerable time on its own before you found it. It may have picked up habits along the way that aren't appropriate for domestic life. Here are a few tips on how you can make sure the dog is safe, healthy, and ready for family life:
Exhaust all searches for the owner. In many cases, stray dogs are lost pets. That means there's a sad owner somewhere looking for the animal. Before you make the commitment to keep the dog long-term, make sure you've done everything possible to locate the dog's owner. The last thing you'd want is to become attached to the animal only to find out that he has to leave to go live with his rightful owner.
Take the dog to a vet or animal shelter to see if it's microchipped. Most vets and shelters will scan the chip for free. If the dog is chipped, you can use that information to contact the owner. Also, call around to shelters to see if there are reports of a missing dog. Social media can also be a great way to spread the message and look for the owners.
Praise good behavior and be careful with punishment. One of the challenges with a stray is that you don't know what the dog has been through or has experienced. It may have been hit or abused in the past and may be fearful of any quick movements that may suggest it is about to be hit. It could have been hit by a car or otherwise injured and may be physically sensitive in some areas.
With this in mind, be careful to use positive reinforcement in training the dog. Resist any urge to spank the dog or even gesture towards it in an aggressive manner. If you have kids in the home, teach them to be careful about how they touch the dog and to avoid giving the dog tight embraces. You wouldn't want the dog to mistake their affection and respond in defensive action.
Get it vaccinated. Again, you don't know where the dog has been or what medical care it has had. If the dog will be spending any time in your home and with your family, it's important that it get all the vaccines that you would get for a new puppy. Pet vaccinations can prevent rabies, lyme disease, and a host of other medical issues. Rabies may be costly, but they'll likely be far less expensive than treatment for a serious infection down the road. Some vets may offer you a discount if they know that you are adopting the dog as a stray.
For more information, contact a vet in your area. They can recommend the vaccines and other treatments the dog may need to receive.