A new puppy is a bundle of joy. However, when one appears out of the blue, such a stray is more a cause for concern. Lost or abandoned puppies are often injured, ill or losing the battle against the elements. Nearly all of them are starving and dehydrated. This vulnerability is why a pup must be assessed as quickly as possible.
Approach the pup slowly. Some are so frightened, they’ll run away. Since they need shelter, food, and protection to survive, this could sign their death warrant. Also, test the animal’s temperament to make sure it won’t bite. In any case, wrap it gently in a jersey or other clothing. The cloth provides warmth for the pup and a barrier should the fuzzball decides you deserve a nip.
Although it’s not always necessary to take a stray animal to the vet, it remains the prudent thing to do. A pup could suffer from internal bleeding or disease without showing symptoms. When injuries or illnesses are apparent, the animal must go to a clinic straight away. A vet can also provide deworming medication and tests for parvovirus, a deadly disease that affects puppies.
After you’ve dealt with any medical problems, the next two steps involve rest and food. Take your new pet home and offer a little water. Your furball might be ravenous but don’t overfeed or give tinned food just yet. After starving, their stomachs need to readjust to real meals. The main thing to watch out for is diarrhea triggered by something they ate.
Diarrhea must be curbed as quickly as possible to avoid dehydration. The safest foods are bland, like boiled rice and chicken breast. Both can be mashed with water to aid the digestion process. Extremely young puppies must be bottle-fed. A vet can provide a formula or tell you how to mix your own.
Sleep is a big healer. The puppy needs a private and warm place to snooze. Small children and other pets must not interact too much with it during the first few days. This isn’t to be weird but plenty of sleep and a quiet life for the first few days will boost its recovery and teach the puppy that life is safe once again.
Should you bathe it? That depends. When a puppy is covered in something unhealthy, like feces or a flea circus, then a bath might validate causing the animal discomfort. True enough, few puppies like a bath even when the water is at the right, tepid temperature. If your stray is in a relatively good condition, rather let it recuperate for a few days before running a bath.
Just a heads up. It’s unsafe to use commercial pet shampoos, especially the flea and tick brands, on puppies younger than three months. Instead, use a bar of mild baby soap or just water to work the dirt and fleas from the fur.
These basics – a vet check, treatment, rest and food – can save a life. In return, abandoned puppies can blossom with a caring new owner and become devoted pets. It’s certainly a win-win situation.