We have put together some advice and information to refer to when your new dog arrives from Romania.
There are some things that may seem worrying but are actually very normal.

If you are at all worried, please do contact your admin or a vet. Trust your instincts always!
If you are fostering with us, you MUST get authorisation before taking your foster dog to the vet, unless it is an emergency. Please contact your admin, or visit our contact page.

Eating and Drinking

When your dog first arrives, they may be wary of eating or drinking, especially in front of people or other pets. We always advise to feed separately whilst they adjust and until they fully settle as they may have food guarding and resource guarding issues.

They need to understand that they can trust you and those around them and that you are providing the food and not taking the food away.

Provide them with a safe place, by placing a crate in a room where they can be left alone. Close the door and secure the area so they won’t be disturbed.

Remember: if you have any concerns or want to ask any questions and seek advice, please contact your admin or a member of Pawprints to Freedom. We are always available to help!

Neutering Issues

If a dog is under the age of 9 months it is unlikely that they will be neutered but please seek advice from an admin to confirm. Your new arrival may lick at their scars and stitches. It is important to stop this as they may irritate the area and cause an infection. The most effective methods of preventing access to scars and stitches involve using a cone, kong air ring or a body vest, both of which can be sourced from your local vets.

NOTE: If your dog was too young to be neutered, or otherwise unable, before they travelled, you are contractually obligated to ensure this is done as soon as possible.

Panting, itching and fatigue

Do not be alarmed if your dog is panting, itching or fatigued when they first arrive. Romania is a cold country; they have been living in outdoor kennels, likely with lack of bedding and comfort.

The symptoms your dog is experiencing is a reaction to the sudden change in temperature and humidity and this will settle once they have adjusted within 2-3wks.

Ensure your dog always has access to cool and clean water. If your dog travelled in the winter, keeping the house on the cooler side whilst they adapt may also help.

Be aware that shelter dogs have been known to escape through open windows, so keep these closed unless egress is not possible.

If you like a warm house but your dog is struggling to adjust, cooling mats can provide the perfect compromise.

If the symptoms persist or worsen please get in touch with us so we can help. If you are worried about your dog’s behaviour or any symptoms and feel that urgent medical care is needed, trust your instincts and contact a vet as soon as possible.

TIP: Most areas have at least one veterinary hospital that is open 24/7 for emergencies.

Rectal Bleeding

It is normal for your new arrival to have some rectal bleeding when they first arrive. This is due to upset stomachs caused by the stress of the journey and eating new foods their stomachs are not used to.

We advise you feed a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice for the first few days when your dog arrives. You can then slowly introduce a good quality food, we recommend Harrington’s dry food and Chappie wet food. Avoid rich foods and treats such as Pedigree until they have a regular feeding routine and normal bowel movements with no rectal bleeding.

For treats, we recommend carrots as these are full of fibre and great for dogs’ teeth, do stick with natural-based treats, why not try our homemade dog treat recipes.

TIP: You should avoid all long-lasting treats, such as bones, until your dog has settled. New arrivals can be quite food defensive.

Max, adopted July 2019


Often your dog will have been in a van for 2-5 days, travelling with very few stops. It is normal for your dog to be very tired and sleepy for the first few days. Older dogs may be a bit stiff. If your dog is falling over or struggling with balance, please call your vet, as this is not normal. For issues with walking, check for overgrown dewclaws before calling for help.

Once your dog has had time to rest and move around this discomfort should subside. If it is a result of an overgrown dewclaw, the claw may have become ingrown and will need to be clipped carefully by a vet.

Don’t be alarmed if they are finding it difficult to get comfortable on a bed or seem disinterested. These dogs have spent months to years sleeping on hard concrete floors and bedding is completely unnatural to them. We always recommend having a crate available covered on 3 sides and the top with a blanket. You should place their bed in here as they often find comfort in crates as their safe place.

NEVER force your dog into a crate or use it as punishment!

Vet Visits

Although your dog has been seen by a vet in Romania, we recommend taking your dog to visit your own vet as soon as you feel your dog is ready to go. It is a good idea to register your dog with your vet as soon as they arrive, just in case you need an appointment at any point. Registering your dog is free and can normally be done over the phone.

You should take the passport and paperwork that you were given when your dog arrived as this has the dog’s vaccination records inside. We recommend taking your dog for a check-up within the first 3 months, this also helps to reduce the stress should your dog need to visit in the future.

You should have your dog weighed at this appointment and discuss flea and worming treatments. Different vets use different products, so you should take their advice on the frequency and dose recommended for your dog. Many vets offer health clubs to spread the cost of these treatments and annual vaccinations with a monthly direct debit. You can treat your dog for fleas and worms as desired as the Romanian treatments may differ to those used in the UK.

If possible, take your dog into the vet often just to go into the reception area and have a few treats to help them feel comfortable there in case they need to go in an emergency.