Trouble in Paradise: Common Issues with Rescue Pets and How to Resolve Them
Deciding to open your home and heart to a rescue pet is an important and meaningful life decision. Not only are you gaining a new best friend, you’re saving a life and helping to reduce the homeless pet population at the same time.
Although adopting a rescue pet can be a wonderful experience, many of these animals arrive in our homes with health, behavior, and/or emotional issues that may leave owners confused, frustrated, and wondering if they made the right decision. Fortunately, many of these undesirable behaviors are easily corrected, and The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center are here to support you as you create a wonderful life for you and your new pet.
A New Life for Your Rescue Pet
Bringing home a new pet is an exciting time for anyone, but that excitement can quickly turn to shock or disappointment if a pet suddenly poops on the floor, shreds your new shoes, or snarls at you during mealtimes.
It’s important to keep in mind that pets adopted from shelters may have been through physical or emotional abuse, or perhaps were surrendered due to minor behavioral issues that can be easily corrected. Supporting your pet as they transition to life in a safe and loving home can be challenging at times, but the love and devotion from your new pal will be well worth the effort.
Fear and Anxiety
Many pets experience abandonment, abuse, or neglect prior to entering the shelter system. Although your new pet is surely happy to finally be in a loving home, their world has just been turned upside down and time to adjust may be required. Have patience, provide love and security for your pet, and you will likely see these behaviors decrease.
Food Aggression/Resource Guarding
A pet who is engaging in protective snarling, snapping, and guarding of food/toys is a big problem, and one that can put family members at risk. Oftentimes this issue goes away with time spent in a loving and secure home, but in some cases, dogs may need to be fed in a separate room or crate. Training, both at home and in a class setting, can greatly improve resource guarding as well, which is an important part of successfully integrating with a rescue pet.
Lack of Socialization
Ideally, puppies and kittens should spend as much time as possible around other people, animals, and places in their early weeks and months of life. A lack of proper socialization in shelter pets can lead to problems with interacting appropriately with other people and pets. Introduce your new pet to new people, places, and animals slowly and with caution, and consider training/socialization classes to further increase their ability to accept new situations.
Destructive behavior is generally linked to separation anxiety, boredom, or excess energy in both dogs and cats. Making sure your pet is getting plenty of exercise and playtime with you each day is a must, as well as providing interesting and enriching toys and chew items. If your pet is alone for much of the day, consider enrolling them in a doggie daycare or enlisting the help of a dog walker to provide interaction and exercise during the day.
The Pet Experts want you and your rescue pet to enjoy a happy and harmonious relationship! We are proud to offer professional and humane training classes for dogs of all ages, and our veterinarians are happy to work with you to come up with a plan to tackle your pet’s issues head on. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns.