By Dr. Dan Carey, Bayer Veterinarian
When you adopt a dog, one moment changes everything: That moment when your new friend goes from lost to found. And while you are searching for him and he is waiting for you, your shelter is taking great care to make sure your new pet is as healthy and ready as possible for this new beginning.

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First steps

Beyond providing food and toys, the shelter gets to know your dog’s temperament, daily habits and, most importantly, checks on his health and well-being. The staff knows that when it comes time for you to ask “Who’s a good dog?” you don’t want fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and heartworms to respond, too. Checkups, vaccinations and preventives all play a part in preparing him for your home.

Behind the scenes

Each new arrival at a shelter is a new experience for the staff, veterinarians and dog. By following strict rules and guidelines, the staff moves into action. Shelter professionals understand the need to identify, treat or help prevent fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, heartworms and intestinal worms. After all, many shelter animals bring some unwanted guests along at check-in, and it doesn’t take much for a few tiny nuisances to spread into a large shelter-wide problem. You may adopt your dog on her very first day in the shelter, or it may take some time to find each other. Regardless of how long her shelter stay is, your dog has already begun to receive the care, treatment and prevention she needs to be healthy. The staff ensures she has effective treatment or prevention products to help reduce the risk of fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, heartworms and intestinal worms. As your dog settles in to the shelter and starts to share her unique personality and needs, the staff looks for opportunities to make her stay less stressful and increase her chances of adoption. Puppies present their own obvious age-specific requirements and senior dogs are given special attention, too. These can include giving supplements to support healthy joints and determining if pain management is necessary.

Bringing home your new dog

When the dog you’ve been searching for finally joins your family, it’s the first step to a new life together. Walks, playtime, treats and attention go a long way to building a strong bond. Making good health a priority is another way to show your love. Long after he leaves the shelter, the risk of discomfort and disease due to fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and heartworms remains. These troublesome trespassers may be found year-round, both inside and outside, and without protection they can easily claim your new dog as their new home. Establish an ongoing prevention and wellness routine as an essential part of doing your best for his health and happiness. Learn more about caring for your dog here.