What To Expect During The First Month After Adopting Your First Dog

Adopting Your First Dog

After months or years of deliberation, you finally decided to take the plunge and adopt a dog.

A dog can bring new life into a home and provide companionship to their new owner. They can make a noticeable difference in their lives as they have to change their routines.

When adopting a dog, finding animal shelters and dogs that are up for adoption is becoming easier. In recent months, animal shelters have reported a spike in the number of people looking to rehome their dogs.

Some dogs might have requirements about the homes they are adopted into, such as no children, someone that works from home, or an experienced owner. As such, the process of adopting a dog might take a little longer.

Once you have found and adopted a dog, the exciting new chapter in your life begins.

After taking the step and adopting a dog, here are a few things to expect during the first month after welcoming home your first canine companion.

1. A Few Sleepless Nights

Those first few nights after adopting your dog might be a struggle. Depending on how well your dog has settled into their new home could determine how much sleep you get each night.

You will likely find yourself listening out for any noises or to their crying. As such, you will not be sleeping as well as you should, as any noise you hear might put you on alert for how your dog is doing or feeling.

For those that adopt a puppy, the sleepless nights might last longer than the first month. Many dog owners will tell you that raising a puppy is similar to caring for a new born. They need plenty of attention and will likely keep you awake throughout the night.

It will take time for them to feel settled and not cry throughout the night, but being prepared will be a tremendous help. This way, you know that this is to be expected, and you can act accordingly.

2. Change To Routines

Unsurprisingly, adopting a dog will have an impact on daily routine. Your daily routines will have to accommodate caring for the latest addition to your household. You might find it easier to update your daily routine to accommodate another canine companion if you have other dogs. For those that live on their own or have a family, it might be more challenging to change these routines.

Some of the changes could be planning what times you will take the dog on a walk and when they will be fed. You have to also think about your working situation. If you work in an office, will you come home during lunch or have someone come around to check on your dog and let them outside? These changes can impact your daily routine and can take time to get used to.

Man Teaching His Dog The Stay Command

3. Need To Be Consistent

After establishing a routine, being consistent with these routines is crucial. It will help you settle your adopted dog and help them feel comfortable in their new home. Being consistent means that your dog knows what to expect and when.

For instance, if you take them out for a long walk in the morning and then visit them at lunch, they will know what to expect each morning after their walk. Instead of feeling confused, your dog can become more comfortable and settled in their new home because they follow a routine.

4. Damages To Furniture

Moving homes is a stressful situation for anyone, especially for animals. Moving from one location to another and living with new people will understandably trigger feelings of stress and anxiety in your dog. To alleviate these feelings, they might choose to destroy household belongings, such as shoes, cushions, and anything they can get their paws (and mouths) on.

Before moving your dog in, ensure that you have moved any items you don’t want to be destroyed out of reach and sight from your new canine companion. Instead, invest in plenty of toys to help distract them that they can use to help alleviate these feelings.

If any damages occur, be patient with them, as it is often not a reflection on their character but the sudden change in their environment. As time passes and they become more settled, you will likely notice a decline in this destructive behaviour.

5. Getting Insurance Sorted

Getting swept up in the excitement of having a dog is easily done. This new change and wanting them to feel settled is a goal every new dog owner wants to achieve. However, a few other factors need to be organised within the first month. One of these is pet insurance.

Many pet owners will debate the need for pet insurance. Some prefer not to invest, whilst others choose to invest.

One of the main advantages of pet insurance is that it helps with covering the costs of any treatment or medication their pet needs. As a pet ages, medication and treatments will likely be more common.

Those that have adopted a senior dog will have to consider their canine friend’s health. You can use providers like Petwise to find the right senior pet insurance policy. These policies will help with costs if and when you need to take your dog to the vet for a check-up or advice on any concerning changes you have recently noticed. Getting insurance sorted within the first month provides peace of mind that you have support if and when needed.

6. Preparing For Vet Trips

During the first month after adopting a dog, you will likely have to make a visit or two to your vet. This is just to update their microchip or have any health checks or injections. The information provided regarding your dog’s health can be used when applying for pet insurance. You can give the provider an accurate description of your dog’s health and find a quote most applicable to you.

Understandably, vet trips are an unpleasant experience for the dog and the owner. For the dog, it can be a stressful experience that fills them with great anxiety and dread around the situation. As a result, it might cause them to be hostile towards the vet and act out of character.

As the owner, this can be distressing to witness, as no pet owner wants to see their beloved animal in such a condition. If you find this upsetting, try to attend an appointment with someone you know who will communicate any issues or concerns you have but who will be supportive of both you and your pet.

Over time, you might find it easier to attend vet appointments, but your dog might still find them stressful. As such, use this time to find ways to calm them and ensure they are relaxed when they visit the vet.

Dog looking through car window

7. Worth It All

Of course, all the things to expect after adopting a dog can be overwhelming. It is a significant life change that can deeply enrich a person’s life. However, it does come with a few obstacles to overcome along the way. Knowing what these are and being prepared as best can be helpful. It will help you deliver the best level of care to your dog and help them feel settled into their new home.

Over time, you will notice a change in their behaviour and see how comfortable they are. Some might even be a touch more affectionate and social than before. When these changes occur, it can be such a special moment for any new dog owner. One that they will greatly cherish. All the work put in during the first month will have been worth it.


Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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