Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Care of the Adult Rescue Dog or Cat

How exciting it is when a new puppy or kitten joins your family  The efforts of new fur parents to know more about how to look after their new family member is extraordinary.
Nurse Tegan with Seth at his first vet check.

So what happens when it is not a puppy or kitten, but a more mature dog or cat that has been adopted?  Older pet adoptions are  on the increase - which is awesome (and sad).

 It is awesome that these pets get a chance at a new home, and sad that they had to leave their previous one for whatever reason.  We have looked after a few oldies over the years, such as Ol' George and Georgette.
RIP Ol' George

Just because your new adopted pet is maybe 4 or 5 or 6 years of age (or older), does not mean that the care you take in finding out about their health is not as important as if they were a puppy.  In fact, there are few more things you need to look into before, during and after your adoption process.

There are some important things to remember -

- Our pets are sentient beings. They remember,  they feel pain, sadness and loss.  They also feel joy, happiness and love.  They are like us in that they want to love and be loved.

I'm in love!
- Like anyone undergoing a huge upheaval in their life in which they have no control, your new pet is going to feel some anxiety and concern.

You need to think about how you are going to make them feel secure and confident in their new surroundings.

What are some key things to know?

1. Gather as much information as you can about the pet's previous medical history and behaviour.
- do they like or get along with cats, dogs or children
- any previous illnesses or chronic issues (like teeth, skin, ears are common ones)
- any sign of possessiveness, separation anxiety or escaping.

2. Research the rescue organisation you are dealing with - You are looking for one that takes its adoption processes very seriously, especially if they put the pet's emotional and physical needs first and foremost. 

3. Visit your new  vet within a few days of picking up your new pet for a vet check - we recommend this in all new pet adoptions, to make sure that your pet has no underlying medical issues (simple ones like ear mites or more complex ones like chronic skin or dental disease).

This is me, Dr Liz with a happy munchkin.
4. Make sure the microchip details are updated at the time you pick your new pet up- in NSW, this is as simple as going online, so there is no/little need for paper transfers.
We are Chip Checker station - just drop in and ask for help.

What can you do to help them cope with their new environment?

All new pet owners need to think about the strategies to help their new family member adjust to the new routine and rules.

Be consistent.

Be kind.

Be understanding.

Set them up to succeed.

We are big believers in the use of pheromones to help reduce stress and arousal.
Recommended Pheromones for dogs and cats

Your new pet will not be able to read the "House Rules" by your front door on the do's and don'ts. 

What about their veterinary care?

Like any puppy or kitten you will need to ensure you have a plan for your pet's long term health care.

What are the things you need to know about?  If you are not from our area, please speak with your vet about whether there is anything specific to your area that you need to do.

In our area, it is
  • Heartworm Prevention
  • Intestinal Deworming
  • Flea and Paralysis tick control
These things can kill - effective prevention is now available.

Do not forget the usual vaccinations, diet, coat and dental care.  If they are only a few years old, we would even suggest looking into pet insurance for them.

Many older rescues suffer from severe dental disease due to neglect.

There are many things to consider, but in all of it, do not forget to thank yourself for opening up your heart and house to an older pet.  You rock!

I am Dr Liz, the mad vet from Bellambi.

 Our animals give us so much joy and love, and we seem to give them so little in return. Always be kind to your animals and your fellow human beings.