Have you adopted a dog that was mistreated or neglected by his or her owner? Here's how to take the dog under your wing and nurse it back to health.
Ask whoever you got it from about the dog, so you know what and what not to do
Check it out. First, take the dog to a veterinarian. If the dog is reasonably healthy, have the vet give a Rabies vaccine. Never allow your vet to give a vaccine to a sick animal or give several vaccines at once. Your vet will examine the dog, check for parasites, and give medication if necessary. They will also check for infections, old injuries, and examine the condition of the dog's teeth. You will also find out if it is safe to handle the dog.
Remove any parasites. If the dog is very nervous or even slightly aggressive, get a closed-end muzzle for the dog. Then, brush or comb the dog and to remove any parasites, preferably outdoors. If the vet administered a spot-on treatment like Frontline, don't bathe the dog for at least 48 hours. To remove ticks, collect the following: rubbing alcohol, tweezers, and paper towels. Settle the pup down and rub the alcohol on the ticks, then start plucking those nasty ticks off of him. Be sure to dig the entire head of the tick out as well, because the tick may still survive. If the bites start to bleed, apply pressure on them with a paper towel. The bleeding will stop shortly. The dog may whine or wiggle if you hurt it, so soothe the animal by speaking softly and petting it.
Groom the dog. Shave matted hair at your discretion, it is usually less painful than picking but can leave the dog somewhat irritated at the sudden loss of fur, rest assured it will grow back quickly enough. Alternatively, carefully use scissors to cut down the center of mats and use a comb to gently pick the mat apart. Small and long haired breeds, like yorkies, shi tsus, bearded collies, setters and "husky" type dogs benefit from a sanitary shave. If you do not know how to do this, take the dog to a professional groomer.
Feed it. A neglected dog is almost always a hungry dog. When you take the animal to the vet, ask what kind of feeding schedule you should set up. Why? If the dog has a distended belly, and you overfeed it, you could twist its intestines and kill the poor animal. A hungry animal will devour a bucket full of food in a matter of minutes, so only set out small amounts every few hours. Be sure to provide the animal with clean, cold water as well.
such a busy day--a change in environment, a trip to the vet, grooming, and a nice meal--allow the dog to catch up on some sleep. Humans need sleep to function properly and dogs are no different. Provide a soft blanket in a quiet corner and leave the animal alone to rest.
Give it some love. It has just been neglected, it searches for a loving and responsible pack. Make it feel loved and let it know that you will care for his future needs.
If you already have a dog, make sure your dog isn't in contact with the one you adopted until it has its vaccinations, and its behavior is stable.
Please spay and neuter your animals. There are so many homeless animals out there, why add to the overpopulation?
Don't coddle or spoil the dog. Expect the dog to be nervous. Be a calm leader. Allow the dog to settle in your home.
Don't feed the dog large amounts. If you must feed before speaking with a vet only offer a small amount of puppy food from a reputable brand 3-4 times a day. (For instance, a medium sized dog should get roughly 1/2c - 3/4 a cup of dry puppy food and a tablespoon of moist puppy food 3-4 times a day to start)
Use extreme caution. A frightened dog is often aggressive.
A stray dog may have Rabies. Do not handle the dog until it is vaccinated.
A stray dog may be somebody's lost pet. Put up posters and ads in the paper. Have your vet scan the dog for a microchip.
A stray dog may not be housetrained. Do not punish the dog for going potty inside, as this may further damage the animal's already nervous disposition. Watch the dog's habits and bring it outside every few hours, allowing it enough time to sniff around, get acquainted with the area, and then do it's business.
Keep small children away from the animal until about a week has gone by. By then, you should know the medical condition and general nature of the animal.
Never feed any of your dogs cheese, anything from pigs (ham, bacon, etc), onions, animal bones, grapes, garlic, chocolate, sushi, apple cores, or corn cobs. These could lead to illness, diarrhea, choking and/or death.
Things You'll Need
A Martingale collar - it tightens in two spots so if the animal becomes frightened and tries to back out of the collar, he can't (as opposed to a flat collar that is much easier to escape from).