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Puppy Rescue 101

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A rescued puppy requires unique considerations with health, diet and emotional well-being to flourish and grow both mentally and physically. If you have recently rescued a puppy, the following puppy rescue tips can help you to meet these very important needs for your new canine friend.

Take Your Rescue Puppy to the Vet

If your rescue puppy has not already been to a veterinarian, you should take your puppy to see a doctor immediately. Rescued puppies are usually carrying high loads of internal and external parasites that may be life-threatening, and they should be vaccinated as quickly as possible against contagious diseases, such as parvo and distemper, which tend to strike puppies.

Signs that your puppy’s life may be in danger due to poor health include:

  • Pale gums and/or lethargy
  • Abnormal stools, bloody stools or diarrhea
  • Refusal to eat and/or vomiting
  • Cold limbs, paws and tips of the ears

If you see any of these signs after the puppy rescue, take the puppy to an emergency clinic right away.

Rescue Puppy Diet

Puppies that have been rescued are often suffering from malnourishment – they may even be starving – and their digestive system may be unable to properly process foods.

Feed your rescue puppy a high quality puppy diet that is rich in protein and fat – but only fed the puppy a few tablespoons of food every few hours until its stomach starts to become accustomed to the new food. If the puppy needs to be bottle fed, purchase a milk replacer puppy formula at a nearby pet store. A puppy rescue diet should also be free of treats, dairy products and table scraps.

Emotional Well-Being

A puppy rescue should never be undertaken without considering the puppy’s emotional well-being. Rescued puppies may have experienced significant emotional trauma, and these puppies will need a calm, quiet atmosphere and a patient and understanding human companion:

  • Keep the volume in the home down to a minimum.
  • Establish a safe room in the home where the puppy can go when it needs quiet and rest.
  • Try to cuddle and play with the puppy as much as possible, but be respectful when the puppy does not want to engage in these activities.
  • Always practice positive reinforcement techniques when training the puppy.

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