Rescue Pet 101: 5 Tips for Being a Responsible Pet Owner

Adopted August 16



Rescue Pet 101: 5 Tips for being a responsible pet owner

Whether you decide to adopt or visit your local pet shop, your new family member will need proper care to live a long and happy life. Here’s what you need to know about caring for your pet:

Facilitate Regular Vet Exams
The frequency of wellness examinations depends upon your pet’s age and health. During early puppyhood, it is recommended that your new pet visit the clinic as often as once a month, while adult dogs only require an annual visit. Past their prime, your pet will see the veterinarian on a more frequent basis due to declining health.

If you choose to adopt, your pet will be known as a rescue, which is any pet that is adopted from a shelter or rescue. The first step to becoming a rescue pet owner is to visit or contact a local shelter or rescue and learn more about their adoption process. If your pet had preexisting health problems, wellness examinations are going to be especially important. Brandon Mustful, executive director of Great River Rescue animal shelter, said that regular exams are very important. “It’s always going to be a personal preference, but it’s going to cost you more in the long run if you don’t visit the vet.”

Watch Your Pet’s Weight
Studies indicate that 50 percent of cats and dogs are overweight. This is a huge concern for the health and well-being of a pet. Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis, diabetes (in cats), heart and respiratory diseases and the risk of cancer. Weight issues also increase the chances of complications during routine surgeries.

If you’re worried your pet may be overweight, visit a veterinarian to assess their ideal weight. He or she can provide you with information on regular exercise and ways to cut back on food.

The amount of food your pet needs varies according to breed, age and size. Mustful suggests figuring out what works for your individual pet and paying attention to the ingredients in their food. You may find that your rescue pet has a finicky palate due to the inconsistent diet, so take extra care when trying to figure out what kind of diet your adoptive friend needs.

Spay and Neuter Your Pets
It’s extremely important to fix your pet if you’re not prepared to take care of multiple critters. “There is some information saying doing it too young can lead to joint issues,” Mustful said. “But overall it really helps with behavior and has a lot of health benefits.” Animal shelters often become overcrowded and are unable to care for the animals which can lead to disease, unwanted litters and other problems associated with pet overpopulation. Adoption, first and foremost, is always encouraged, but if you prefer a full breed, be sure to spay or neuter your furry friend.

Don’t Try to Reason With Your Pet
Mustful said that you can’t pretend your pet is a human. “You can’t just say, “No, they don’t get it,” he said. “You need to give your pet something to do. Keep their life enriched with activities.” Mustful said that by keeping your pet busy they are more likely to stay out of trouble and respond to your commands.

Pets, like humans, get bored and crave stimulation. If your puppy or kitten seems to be tearing apart the house, take time to play, walk or entertain him with toys. You’ll notice a change in attitude as you provide him with a wholesome and enhanced life. If your rescue pet has a difficult time being, playing or sleeping alone, talk to your veterinarian about solutions for acclimating your pet to his or her new environment.

Make Sure Your Pet Gets Regular Exercise
You may think that your cat is immune from regular exercise, but Mustful said it’s really crucial for all pets to get a little exercise. “Cats are wired to hunt, so they’ll chase just about anything,” he said. It’s okay to get creative when it comes to your pet’s toys. Consider making homemade toys out of hair-ties, string or even bread ribbon to save a quick buck.

Mustful and his team at Great River Rescue are dedicated to providing forever homes to all animals in the Bemidji area, not just because they think they should, but because they truly love animals. Great River Rescue encourages pet owners to be responsible and loving guardians in order to eliminate unnecessary euthanization as means to control animal population.

Great River Rescue is a nonprofit organization which serves pet lovers throughout the region and beyond. “We operate because of the gracious volunteers and support from the community,” Mustful said. “We want people to understand that we don’t restrict our services to just those in our geographic reach.”

Visit Great River Rescue at 1612 Carr Lake Rd. S.E., Bemidji, MN 56601, or call (218) 751-7910 and help provide an animal with a “furever” home.

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