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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

News & Views September 2019 Issue

How to Make a Dog More Comfortable If She Had a Previous Owner

Perhaps a dog who’s no longer a puppy comes to live with you because her previous owners could no longer take care of her — not out of a lack of caring but because of a change in circumstances. They moved to a place that doesn’t allow pets, perhaps, or developed allergies, or accepted more demanding jobs that don’t afford them the time to take care of a dog, or died.

The dog feels the loss — keenly. Canines are not called “man’s best friend” for nothing. How can you make the transition easier? Try these tips.

-Bring her to her new home in the morning or early afternoon rather than closer to bedtime. Dogs often feel more anxious at night.

-Place her crate in a quiet corner so she can go there and feel safe if she needs.

-If you can get hold of any toys and bedding from the dog’s old home, even her food and water bowls, do so. Whatever’s familiar will prove comforting and will make her feel her life has been less upended.

-If possible, incorporate some of the dog’s old habits into the routine she will share with you. If you know she used to get brushed before bedtime, incorporate that into her evening repertoire.

-Spend as much time as possible with your new friend and show her as much affection as she seems comfortable with.

-Be patient. Your dog has been through a lot. If you don’t become frustrated with her but instead try to show her you mean well, she’ll come to feel secure — and even happy — under your roof.

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