Congratulations! You are adopting a dog. This is an exciting time for you and whether you’re adopting from our humane society or elsewhere, we hope you will find this information helpful. This document covers our philosophy and approach to veterinary care for your dog as well as tips on how to make your adoption successful. Whether you adopt from Save A Dog or not, this is our gift to you. Enjoy!

Medical records: If you’re adopting from Save A Dog allow 30-40 minutes for us to review all your dog’s medical and vaccination records with you. It is important that the main caretakers of the dog be at this meeting. We will go over feeding and care instructions at that time as well. Most of our dogs are on Fromm and we offer it at a discount to all our adopters.

Vaccines: Unless there is a medical issue, your adopted dog is up to date on the core vaccinations. If you have a young pup, please See Dr. Dodd’s minimal dose vaccination schedule before vaccinating your puppy. Puppy boosters should be spread at least 4 weeks apart. Otherwise the pup can break with demodectic mange and other auto-immune problems. Follow all vaccines with a dose of homeopathic Thuja 30c to prevent and treat any vaccine damage caused by the adjuvants Thimerisol and Aluminum Hydroxide (which is documented by the World Health Organization as being a 3 out of 4 carcinogen). Thuja can be purchased at Whole Foods or online. Boiron makes it in pellet form, which is recommended. Make sure you never allow an unhealthy pet to be vaccinated, as his/her immune system won’t be up to the job of antibody response. If you feel pressured during your vet visit, please see http://www.petwelfarealliance.org and hear what veterinarians say about their vaccine education. Every vaccine suppresses the immune system for approximately 4 weeks, according to Dr. Ronald Schultz, vaccine expert. Finally, make sure you observe your pet for several hours post vaccination, and watch for any signs of allergic response (facial swelling or respiratory distress). Please read our hand-out on why the annual distemper booster is unnecessary and can be harmful if given repeatedly. Before giving the Lepto vaccine, see http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/read-this-before-you-vaccinate-for-lepto/ and http://www.thedogplace.org/VACCINES/Leptomania-10052-Jordan.asp Lyme vaccine has the potential of causing adverse effects such as generalized arthritis, heart disease, aggression, allergies or other immune diseases. There are safer means of lyme prevention. Read up on the ten myths of vaccines, http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/ten-vaccine-myths/, as well as other literature in your adoption packet. We see many adverse reactions and long-term illnesses due to vaccines, so our adoption contract states you will follow our vaccination protocol.

Food: We feed Fromm, which is a dry kibble made in small batches and ingredients are non-GMO. Fromm is a smaller family-owned company and can be bought online. We also sell it at a discounted price in our shelter store. If you decide to switch the food, avoid “by-products” and corn-wheat-gluten diets as they are just fillers and won’t give your dog what he needs to develop normally. The better quality food (human grade is preferred), the less you will have to spend on his vet care later in life. We recommend a diet of fresh food, or home cooked meals supplemented. We do NOT recommend Iams or Purina or Pedigree or Science Diet or many kibble diets because of the heavy corn base, foreign ingredients, chemicals, and even euthanized pets which lead to chronic health disease. See http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com and join their email list for updates on pet food. Avoid Hill’s brand food as it contains ethoxoquin, a preservative that is a known carcinogen. If your dog has an upset stomach from switching foods too fast, probiotics, canned pumpkin probiotics, and slippery elm in the food works great. Best to feed a bland diet if your dog has an upset stomach. See http://www.holvet.net/slippery_soup.html for more information on how to mix up the slippery elm.

About worms and parasites. Worms are cyclic and it usually takes several de-wormings over a period of time to rid your dog or pup of these parasites completely. Puppies are born with roundworms and most dogs that spend time outside (southern dogs, for example) can ingest worms, so it’s something you need to be vigilant about. Wormer is available at a veterinarian’s office. It’s a good idea to drop a fecal sample off at your vet to determine if further worming is needed. Conventional wormers, Drontal Plus and Panacur, are available from your veterinarian.

Coccidea is another parasite that is common in dogs who are stressed or who have been kenneled. Read more on http://www.beaglesunlimited.com/health/coccidiosis-diagnosis-treatment-and-prevention .

Giardia is not uncommon in dogs who come from farming regions. Watch for these symptoms and read up on natural treatments and prevention. http://www.animalwellnessmagazine.com/articles/guard-against-giardia/ using oil of oregano and Grapefruit seed extract. We recommend giving this to dogs adopted from rural areas and tropical regions. The GSE can also be used as a preventive, the conventional treatment is panacur and flagyl.

Mange. If your dog is excessively itching, s/he could have mange, which is a tiny mite. There are two types of mange: sarcoptic and demodectic. Sarcoptic mange is caused by mites that burrow under the skin and can cause the dog irritation and hair loss. They are not like fleas that hop, so are not easy to see. They are also not easily detected with a skin scraping, and a negative skin scraping doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t have it, so a knowledgeable vet who understands the pattern of hair loss should be able to detect the type of mange. The other type of mange is demodectic mange and this is the type we see more often in recently rescued dogs that have had a barrage of vaccinations as it is caused by an over-stimulated immune system. We see this in young dogs that have received vaccines in large quantities or vaccines not spaced apart to allow the body to recover.

Heart worm preventative. Heartworm pills are a monthly heartworm preventive that you can only purchase with a vet’s prescription. Collies and mixed breed Collies and Australian Shepherds are very sensitive to Ivermectin, so do not use Heartgard on these breeds. See http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-VCPL/ for more information. Interceptor is used instead, but was replaced with Sentinel, which contains the same ingredient as Interceptor (milbemycin) plus an ingredient for flea control (Lufenuron). As many of the dogs from other regions are exposed to heartworm via infected mosquitos, we will have given a heartworm preventive already and suggest you discuss ongoing preventive with your vet for at least the first six months after you bring your dog home.

Flea and tick preventative. We want your dog to live a long and healthy life so we want to warn you about the conventional flea and tick products as studies show that these products lead to bladder cancer and even worse, immediate dangers including death. When you squeeze a tube of flea and tick preventive between your dog’s shoulder blades, you are unwittingly depositing pesticides in your dog’s blood stream. As far back as 1989, a study by the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine Department of Pathobiology, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found that dogs who received one to two topical pesticide applications per year experienced a 60% increased risk of bladder cancer. Dogs that were given more than two applications per year were 3.5 times more likely to develop bladder cancer. The risk was increased even more in overweight or obese dogs (Glickman et al., 1989; Glickman et al., 2004; Raghaven et al., 2004). Nextgard and Bravecto are very dangerous as it causes neurological damage, resulting in behavioral changes in dogs (aggression). See http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/bravecto-nexgard-simparica-oral-flea-tick-preventives-safe/ for more information. It’s not worth poisoning your dog just to avoid lyme. Cancer is worse than lyme. It’s better to use a safe product such Dr. Ben’s Paws and Claws cedar oil spray to keep the bugs off. We sell it at our Save A Dog shop at our shelter for $10 or you can buy it at http://www.drbenscedaroil.com. We also recommend the Dr. Mercola collars, which repel all bugs. You can also purchase the collars on Amazon. Brewer’s yeast and garlic supplements will naturally repel insects. We sell the Bug Off Garlic at a discount and it works great. A good article to read on ticks and lyme disease is http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/ticks-natural-prevention/. If your dog contracts lyme disease we have a very effective fast-working homeopathic treatment that is inexpensive.

Choosing a Veterinarian. When choosing a veterinarian it’s best to find a holistic or conservative vet who does “over-service” your dog or pup. Pharmaceuticals and non-core vaccines can start him on the pathway to ill health. A helpful video to watch is on http://dogs4dogs.com/vet. It’s very educational. To locate a holistic vet, see http://www.ahvma.org/ . If you have a very young pup, it is always wise to use a traveling vet so that you don’t expose him/her to diseases such as K9 cough or parvo. Most have low overhead and do not push “the extra” services.

Considering pet insurance: You will find a Trupanion flyer in your adoption packet. If you call within 24 hours of the adoption, you will receive 30 days free pet insurance. If you don’t sign up for their insurance, it is cancelled at the end of the trial period. For more information on pet insurance, visit www.trupanion.com/shelter. Other pet insurance offers available are PetFirst at www.petfirst.com/petfinder, http://www.embracepetinsurance.com , and Co-Pilot Protection Plan at www.gohealthypaws.com.

K9 or Kennel cough: This upper respiratory infection or “doggy cold” is a common occurrence in rescued dogs and is almost unavoidable because of the mandated veterinary visits required before adoption. Most of our intakes are in foster homes and without infection prior to travel, but the health exam requires a visit to the vet clinic and the incubation period is from 5-10 days, so dogs can break with it a few days after arrival to our shelter or even after the adoption. It’s best to keep your dog away from other dogs during this time. If you plan on using doggy daycare during the day, hiring a pet sitter or dog walker is a good back up plan. For more information on kennel cough, see our Tips section of this packet.

Spaying/neutering: Most of our dogs are spayed or neutered, unless they are not mature. If your pup is not altered, please spay or neuter your pup well after the vaccinations are completed, preferably in adolescence so that the dog’s development is not short-circuited by premature removal of the much-needed hormone supply. Check out http://www.saveadog.org/holistic.asp for some helpful articles. Allow full maturity and see our literature for more information, as well as the U. C. Davis Web site:


Additionally, http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/04/10/early-spaying.aspx will help dispel some myths and http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/three-reasons-to-reconsider-spayneuter/ explains the risk of prostate disease with pediatric neutering. Save A Dog puppy adopters are not allowed to breed a dog (per our contractual agreement) so we’re not saying to leave your dog intact, but we encourage you to work with a veterinarian who understands the benefits of proper development prior to alteration.
Six months is too young for most breeds, but if you have a toy breed or a Dachshund, then six months might be okay as the smaller breed dogs tend to mature faster. If your pup was spayed/neutered too young, it will help to give beneficial hormones. Low cost spay-neuter clinics are located at http://www.massanimalcoalition.org/resources/spay-neuter/ . We recommend Sterling Animal Shelter low cost clinic in Sterling, MA. The price is the same for everyone and it’s fair. https://sterlingshelterclinic.org

Basic Supplies List
• Leash (flat 6 foot leash is preferred – you must provide your own leash. We sell them in our shop for $7.)
• Harness (we send your dog or pup home with a collar, but we strongly recommend a harness to keep the dog from choking and straining at the collar level.
• Crate (check to see if we have your dog’s size in stock). We sell the collapsible wire crates 30” crates for $55, 36” crates for $65 and the 42” crates for $85.
• Bowls (the kind that don’t tip over is best). We have a range of stainless steel bowls.
• Collar (provided to you at no charge by Save A Dog)
• Probiotics (available at Save A Dog at a discounted price)
• Dr. Harvey’s Multi-vitamin and Minerals (available at Save A Dog) will provide your dog with all the vitamins and trace minerals he needs. Some vitamins drop out of the body after vaccines. We sell the supplements and probiotics 2 for $25.


What to expect the first 24 hours: The first day can be very exciting for a dog and you may find that s/he is not that hungry. This is not unusual. Please make sure you allow quiet time for your pup so that s/he can eat and rest, especially if you have kids. This can be in a crate or in an area of the house that is safe, i.e., gating off the kitchen. For adult dogs, it is not unusual for them to “hold their water” (urine) for a few days. We’ve had dogs who have not have a bowel movement for up to four or five days. Once they your dog relaxes, things will start to move internally and they should begin having normal bowel movements. It is not unusual for house-trained dogs to have an accident in a new environment. Also, male dogs will often lift their leg on furniture the first day. It doesn’t mean they’re not housebroken, but it means they’re “marking” their new home as their own. It is wise to confine a new dog and to limit access to rooms other than the kitchen or small rooms with tiled floors. Puppies who are paper-trained will often view a scatter rug as the same as a paper so you might want to roll up the rugs. DO NOT TAKE THE DOG FOR A WALK OFF PROPERTY FOR AT LEAST A WEEK!

Adjustment period. Please allow for an adjustment period for your new dog, especially if the dog has recently spent time in a shelter and has suffered many losses and a disruption of his former life. Make sure you keep your new dog home for at least the first 48-72 hours and don’t try to take your dog for a walk until he is leash trained. It is wise to have them drag the leash while indoors to get used to the leash as well as to prevent any quick exits when people open doors unbeknownst to you. Make sure the collar is nice and snug the first few days after bringing any new dog home. LEASH WALK ON PROPERTY ONLY FOR THE FIRST WEEK.
Socialization. It is very important to socialize your dog, but first let him get used to his new home. Take the dog home and have a quiet day letting him get familiar with his new surroundings. The first week you should keep him/her at home as it lessens the chance of escaping if you accidently drop a leash. This is the time to have friends over, including men, women, and children. If your dog is from a rural area, you need to gently and slowly socialize him and not put him into crowded situations or walk them on busy roads where noises may startle them into a fearful response. For adult dogs, daily walks will keep them socialized with pets and people. It’s important that your dog meet new dogs on a daily or weekly basis. Even if you have a fenced-in yard, walking your dog is needful for socialization, but not the first day. Give him a few days to settle in and learn where he lives.

Training resources. Training is required for all adopted dogs. You can find a professional trainer on the web site https://www.karenpryoracademy.com/find-a-trainer and type in your zip code. A good web site for reward-based training (to bridge the gap before classes start) is http://www.clickertraining.com/ . Dogwise.com is a great resource for dog training books and videos. If you live local to us, we often have training classes during the spring/summer months provided by Family Dog Training in Hudson. We recommend them as a training company and they will give you a discount on your dog training classes if you show proof of adoption from us. Avoid dominance training (Caesar) as it will damage your relationship with your dog and cause fearful behaviors. If your trainer suggests shaking a can of pennies or using a shock collar, run the other way.

Food amounts and preparation: We tend to feed puppies 3 times a day and adults twice a day. If your adult dog is underweight, you need to add at least one more feeding per day. We recommend adding chicken broth to help dissolve the added supplements and letting it sit for a few minutes. If you’re switching brands, do it by introducing the new food in small quantities and increasing the new food as the existing food decreases. Do this over a 10 day period. Add probiotics and enzymes to help the process.

Supplements: Commercial dog food does not meet all your dog’s nutritional needs, therefore supplements are important for your dog’s health and will keep you from all those extra visits to the vet. Probiotics and enzymes will promote a healthy intestinal tract as well as make the transition to a different food easier. Probiotics are important in the PM feeding as probiotics work at night. Info on why you should give your dog probiotics is at http://www.thewholedog.org/id24.html. You can give colostrum to boost your pup’s immune system the first year of life. We sell it and it’s online at www.colostrumhealth.co.nz.
For large adult dogs, one tablet of grapefruit seed extract in their kibble every morning will help boost the immune system. It sells for $9 at Vitamin Shoppe) as it’s known for its strong antioxidant qualities. It also treats and prevents giardia. For more information on the benefits of grapefruit seed extract, see http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/gse-for-dogs.html. Save A Dog sells it at a discount to adopters.

Recommended Reading
Puppy Problem? No Problem by Brenda Aloff. Available at Save A Dog or dogwise.com. It comes with a DVD and is an excellent choice in dog training books, even if you adopt an adult dog.
Clicker Basic for Dogs & Puppies by Carolyn Barney. (available in our retail shop). Also at www.cleanrun.com (sold at our shelter)
The Other End of the Leash Patricia McConnell (and all her videos) www.dogwise.com
I’ll Be Home Soon by Patricia McConnell. Dogwise

Do Over Dogs by Pat Miller. Dogwise (available as E-book)

Healer in Every Home: Dog and Cat Edition. Begabati Lennihan with Shirley Moore and Margo Roman, DVM. Amazon

Living with Kids and Dogs without Losing your Mind. Colleen Pellier. C&R Publishing. 2007

The Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell. Available on dogwise.com and Save A Dog.
Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. Rodale. Richard Pitcairn

Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs. Don Hamilton.

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs. Ted Kerasote

Best Magazine to subscribe to is dogsnaturallymagazine.com


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