Being an involved rescuer for many years, I have always told prospective adoptive homes that rescue dogs have a lot to offer but they do come with some “baggage”. The first days, weeks and even months can be stressful for new four-legged companions as well as for the family adopting them. There have been a lot of horror stories told about newly rescued dogs chewing furniture, destroying walls and even those who have run away and become impossible to catch. Hopefully you don’t let that deter you from rescuing a dog in need because they have so much more to offer!
In fact, there are certain remedies and dietary changes that you can institute as a new pet owner for your new friend that can ease the nervousness, depression and the tension with anxiety for the dog when they transition to your home. Dogs, just like people, can experience a wide range of emotions. A stable and quiet home life is very important to a rescued dog as they transition to their new environment. They can feel many of the same feelings that humans feel including fear and insecurity. Dogs and dog packs (anytime you have more than one dog it’s considered a pack), function a lot like human families and they have similar social structures. They generally feel safe and secure when they are part of a family and they have an established routine and an established role. Keep in mind that transitioning between multiple homes whether it be from a shelter to a home environment or from a foster home to a permanent home requires a constant adaptation on the dogs part to their changing environment and social structures. Dogs bond with the human who cares for them and sometimes changes of caretakers and transitions to a new home can create a sense of loss for the dog. So, taking that into consideration and given the lack of a secure home, which caused them to be in a rescue situation in the first place, it’s no small wonder that many rescue dogs end up developing behavioral or emotional issues especially during those first few days weeks or months when they are still adapting to their new family.
There are some nutritional changes that you can make to help a new dog make the transition into his or her new home. Melatonin can help anxious dogs because it works along with endorphins which are stress reducing chemicals produced by the brain. It actually enhances the effects of endorphins and aids the ability for the dog to withstand stress while at the same time promoting a general sense of well-being. Melatonin tablets can be found in many health food stores. Tryptophan is an amino acid and is the key ingredient in making serotonin – which produces calmness, relaxation and general well being. Without Tryptophan serotonin cannot be produced and tryptophan must be taken in as part of the diet – it is therefore referred to as an “essential” amino acid. Tryptophan is found in higher contents in foods like turkey, duck, quail, fish, goat and certain game meats as well as eggs and spinach. This is why, after consuming a turkey dinner, you feel so relaxed, content and sleepy ! You can incorporate these foods into your dogs regular meals to help him transition more smoothly. B vitamins are collectively known as stress vitamins because they help to balance the body when in distress. There’s also a link between vitamin D3 and mood. Vitamin D3 activates receptors in the brain that help regulate behavior. D3 also increases production of serotonin which plays an important role in anxiety. Calcium and zinc play an important role in brain function. A safe and stable home environment is important to rescue dogs and the transition to a healthy diet can also have a significant impact on the dog’s stress and behavior levels.
So, overall a few simple and inexpensive changes can have a definite positive influence for many rescue dogs and that small investment can go a long way toward helping a rescue dog of having the best chance of success within a new family. And, as always, if you need help reach out – I am always here !
I would love to hear your comments, feedback stories and ideas.
Scoops is a pooper scooper, dog waste clean up and pet waste clean up service located in central New Jersey – Check us out at www.ScoopaPoop.com/contact-us