Bringing home an adopted dog requires a little extra attention, but it's not as hard as it seems.

Top Tips for Bringing Home an Adopted Dog


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Bringing home an adopted dog is an exciting experience, isn’t it? The fact that you clicked on this article tells us that you know how important it is to be prepared. 😃 Or you might just be curious about which dogs are the best to adopt in NZ if you aren’t sure where to even start. 🤔

We have all the info you need to help you make the most informed choice possible. Bringing home an adopted dog requires a little extra attention, but it’s not as hard as it seems. So, let’s get right into it, shall we?

Actually, wait.

If you haven’t already, you need to thoroughly digest the key costs and other considerations before you emphatically decide you have what it takes to bring a dog into your home. You haven’t done so yet? Check out our pre-adoption article: Dog Adoption Checklist for Potential New Pup Parents.

With decision made that adoption is something you can do, look at what you need to bring this fur baby home and do it well. Pet parenting, here you come!

Are you thinking about adopting a dog in NZ, like this one sticking its head out of the car window?

How to adopt a dog in New Zealand?

Once you’ve decided adopting a dog in New Zealand is probably the path you’re taking, just take a moment – you’ll need to make sure you’re certain about not buying from a breeder. When going to a breeder you’ll know what breed you’re getting and they should be properly health tested.

Adopting a dog is a whole new kettle of fish.

Which one is best for you?

The first step in adopting a dog in New Zealand is to decide what type of dog will best suit you – have a good idea of this before you hit the shelters (read about this further down). Consider factors such as size, activity level, and temperament. Consider how much they’ll likely cost you throughout their lifetime. Some eat a lot more, require more training, need more stimulation through toys and equipment, are prone to more health issues and so on.

There are a variety of breeds, mixes, ages, etc, available, so it’s important to do your research to determine which is the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

Where is best to adopt it from?

Once you have decided on the type of dog you want, the next step is to find a reputable rescue organisation or shelter. Research the organisations available in your area to find one that fits your needs. Many organisations have websites where you can view pictures and read more about the dogs they have available.

Here’s a comprehensive list of rescue organisations to explore. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dogs looking for a new home.

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Now to fill out an adoption application…

When you have chosen a rescue organization or shelter and found your ideal dog, the next step is to fill out an adoption application. This application will ask for your contact information as well as information about your home and lifestyle. The shelter or organisation will use this information to determine if you’re an appropriate fit for the dog you’re interested in.

Once your application is approved, you’ll be able to spend quality time with the animal and meet them in person. This is a great opportunity to get to know the dog and make sure he or she is the right fit for you and your family. Ask any questions you have and be sure to spend enough time interacting with the animal.

Once you’ve decided to adopt the dog, you need to provide proof of identification and sign an adoption agreement. This will outline the terms of the adoption, such as who’s responsible for the dog’s care and who’ll be responsible for any veterinary bills.

When ready to bring your new pup home, make sure to prepare your home for the arrival. Set up a safe, comfortable space for your dog, and have plenty of food, water, and toys on hand.

Adopting a dog in New Zealand is a big decision and there’s a lot to consider. But with a solid amount of research and preparation, you’ll be able to find the perfect pup for you and your family.

Best dogs to adopt?

Are you looking for the perfect dog to adopt in NZ? Look no further! New Zealand is home to a wide variety of dogs that make great companions. From small lap dogs to large, working breeds and utility dogs, there’s a perfect fit for every family.

Check out this video below on how to choose the perfect dog breed…

No matter what type of pup you’re looking for, New Zealand has a breed to fit your needs. With all the options available, you’re sure to find the perfect pup to call your own.

One of the most popular choices for a new pet owner is the Labrador Retriever. This breed is known for being loyal, gentle, and easy to train. Labradors are also great with children and are very loving and devoted to their owners.

If you’re looking for a smaller breed dog to adopt in NZ, the Jack Russell Terrier might be a great option. This breed is full of energy and loves to play. They’re also very intelligent and can be easily trained. Not keen on so much activity? Perhaps a Dachshund is a better fit.

New Zealand is also home to many working breeds like the Huntaway and the Border Collie. These breeds are incredibly smart and can be trained to obey commands and complete various tasks. They’re also great with kids and make excellent guard dogs. They’ll need plenty of exercise, though.

The Corgi is another great breed for Kiwi families. This small breed is incredibly loyal and loves to cuddle. They’re also very easy to train and get along great with children.

Read some of these articles to get a better understanding of what you need:

Dog equipment must-haves

You’ve found the perfect dog for you to adopt in NZ – fantastic. Before you bring them home, you need to puppy proof your house like a pro. Think of it in terms of having a walking toddler with sharp teeth and boundless energy.

You’ll need to do things like pack away cords, shoes, and other low-lying valuables. Pick up your plants and put them somewhere high, remembering to remove dangerous plants from inside and outside the house (watch the video below to learn more about pet poisons you might not realise are in your home).

But wait, there’s more… Imagine you’re a curious pup and look 👀 at your home from their perspective. Literally – get down low and check it out through their eyes.

Before picking them up

For bringing home an adopted dog you’ll also need:

Don’t forget to pet proof your car too!

What to expect from your fur baby

No matter how happy and healthy a dog was before you met him/her, being in a shelter or foster home can be stressful and confusing. You need to be very mindful of that when bringing home an adopted dog.

Even if they’ve come from a breeder, when you arrive home for the first time your dog won’t yet understand you’re their new parent. Let alone that your place and its surroundings are their forever ❤️ home.

They’ll be unclear about their furry future and for this reason, will be in self-preservation mode. They may not begin to show their real personality for a few weeks or months. You might have heard this referred to as your dog’s decompression (or honeymoon) phase.

In these early days and weeks, it’s important you set firm boundaries and establish a routine, so your dog will know what you expect of them. This will help them feel confident and safe. Understanding this will help you avoid some common mistakes.

Before you bring your adopted dog home like this one, you need to puppy proof your house like a pro.

Tips for new pet parenting after bringing home an adopted dog

These are our tips on what to do as a new doggie parent after bringing home an adopted dog:

  • Be patient when you adopt: Every dog is different and will respond to their new home in their own way.
  • Let them come to you: Avoid showering your dog with too much constant love and affection from the moment you get home. This can cause separation anxiety in pets when you have to leave them.
  • Encourage their own comfy space: Put a crate or comfy bed in the corner of the room so they can sit, watch and learn from what they’ll become familiar with as their safe place. You can also teach them that’s where they sleep if that’s your plan.
  • Stay calm yet firm: When redirecting your dog never raise your voice; speak calmly and confidently. Read about positive reinforcement for dog training.
  • Provide reassurance: Praise and reward your dog during times when stressful situations can’t be avoided. This will help them associate these things with signs of comfort, affection, and yummy treats.
  • Restrict visitors and introduce other pets slowly: New sights, smells, people, and other pets to deal with can be overwhelming and cause anxiety.
  • Establish a routine: Over time your dog will find comfort and safety in their new feed, play, and toileting routine (if possible, start immediately with toilet training your puppy to do their business in the one spot outside!).
  • Keep them on a leash: Use a lead when out and about, until they have learned basic commands like come, stay and leave it. This will help you stay in control of your pet and ensure their safety.
  • Exercise daily: Socialise your dog and allow them to burn off any nervous energy or stress with you by their side. Reassure them with praise and treats during walks if they listen to your commands and observe good behaviours.

Understanding your dog’s transition

By understanding how your dog’s transition into your life will work and by following these guidelines, you’ll begin to bond. In all likelihood, they’ll begin to feel like part of your family in no time at all.

If after about six weeks you’re struggling with some niggling problems, speak to a puppy school in NZ or a professional dog trainer (if you haven’t already). This will help you catch issues early that will stop you from bonding with your pooch.

Google monthly search queries like bringing home an adopted dog are high.

Health factors to know when bringing home an adopted dog

Adopted dogs may have medical conditions that require special care or medications, such as allergies or joint issues. Keeping up with regular vet visits can help keep these conditions under control, and Fido healthy.

Behavioural issues that emerge after you adopt a dog in NZ can be just as challenging and require time and patience to work through. Many times, these issues are the result of their past and simply require a little extra attention and training.

Also, keep an eye out for dental 🦷 problems when you adopt a dog in NZ. Research reported by Animates says 80% of dogs and cats over three years old in New Zealand have dental problems. That’s four out of five pets who need dental work.

Luckily the PD Insurance Deluxe plan – whether that’s for dog insurance or cat insurance covers a range of dental treatments for your pet, capped at an annual limit. It’s important because proper dental care can lead to your dog living a longer, happier life. Read more in our article about pet dental insurance.

It’s best to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can by reading plenty of dog health-related articles. Here are some below:

  1. Your Need-to-Knows on Leptospirosis in Dogs and Cats
  2. What to Do if Your Dog has a Tooth Abscess
  3. Pet Vaccinations and Schedules in NZ
  4. How Do I Fix My Dog’s Broken Dew Claw?
  5. What You Need to Know About Pancreatitis in Dogs

Other FAQ for bringing home an adopted dog

Before you can bring a furry friend home, there are a few things you should know…

Can you rename a dog after adoption?

Whether or not you should rename your adopted dog is a personal decision that should be based on your individual situation. It can be a difficult decision and there are some important factors to consider before doing so.

If you do choose to do so, taking the time to make the transition as smooth as possible will help ensure your pup isn’t overwhelmed or confused by the change.

Consideration 1

First, think about why you might want to rename your dog. Is the name they have difficult to pronounce or spell? Is it too similar to another pet’s name in the home? Does the name have negative connotations that you’d rather avoid? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may want to consider changing the name.

Consideration 2

Another thing to consider is how doggo will react to being renamed. If your dog is already comfortable and familiar with their name, you may want to think twice before changing it. Dogs can become confused and stressed when their names are changed, so if this is a concern for you, it might be best to keep the name they already have.

Consideration 3

If, on the other hand, you feel strongly about giving your pup a new name, there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier. For example, start by introducing the new name gradually, such as praising and rewarding your dog when they respond to the new name. You can also use the old and new names simultaneously for a few weeks until the dog has gotten used to the new one.

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Can a 16-year-old adopt a dog?

The answer is yes, as long as the individual is able to take responsibility for the pet. In New Zealand, the minimum age to adopt a pet is 16. If you’re under 16 years old, you must register the dog under your parent’s or guardian’s name.

When it comes to adoption, it’s important to consider the regulations and requirements in your area to make sure you’re in the clear. In New Zealand, all dogs must be registered annually with the local council (there should be a section about dog registration on every council’s website), and the new owner pays the registration fee. Read our article: Why You Should Register Your Dog.

As long as the 16-year-old has the necessary documents and can pay the registration fee – you can even calculate Auckland Council’s registration fees here – they can legally adopt a dog.

It’s important to remember that adoption is a huge responsibility. Before trying to adopt a dog in NZ, potential owners should make sure they’re able to provide all the necessary care and attention for their new pet. This includes providing food, shelter, exercise, and medical care.

Adopting a dog can be a life-changing experience, but it’s important to be fully ready for the responsibility. If you’re 16 and looking to adopt a dog in NZ, are you 100% able to provide the care and attention your new pet will need?

Here's tips on what to do as a new NZ doggie parent after bringing home this adopted Corgi dog.

Do you need pet insurance for an adopted dog?

After you adopt a dog in NZ, over the years vet bills can cost thousands. It makes sense to protect yourself from this extra cost. If your dog get sick or has an accident (or several), you don’t want to make a love versus finance decision. You want to get quality care fast, no matter what the cost – right?

We never want you to have to put a dollar value on your dog’s life, so we make it easy for you to choose. Our three simple PD pet insurance policies have the low-cost, quality protection your furry family member deserves.

Wondering why PD Pet Insurance won Canstar’s 2022 Most Satisfied Customers – Pet Insurance Award? It’s pet insurance with a whole lot of perks! Click below to get your quote.

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