Pet care

Welcoming your pet home

Now that you’ve chosen your new pet, it’s important that you’re ready to welcome them home.

They may be feeling a bit bewildered and scared moving out of the security of the STARescue environment that they’ve come to know, so when you collect them, make sure that you have a suitable pet carrier for cats and other small animals, or a collar and lead for dogs. This will make their journey home as stress-free as possible.

Once you get your new friend home, make sure that they have somewhere nice and cosy to sleep, their own food and water bowls and a toy to keep them entertained. Cats will also need a litter tray. And smaller animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, a hutch or run.

Be patient with them during their settling in period and give them the love and attention they deserve so that they start to feel happy and secure. If they are a little nervous to start with, given them some space to adapt to their new surroundings in their own time. Introduce children and other animals to them in stages so that they don’t get overwhelmed. And if you’re adopting a cat, keep them in for the first three to four weeks so that they don’t go wandering off and get lost when you let them out.

Caring for your pet

Make sure that you feed your new furry friend with proper pet food, not your own left overs! They need good, nutritious food to keep them healthy and strong.

Chocolate is dangerous to dogs, so if you want to give them a treat make sure it’s doggy chocolate drops you feed them. Cow’s milk can give cats an upset tummy, so keep to fresh water or the special cat milk you can buy alongside their food.

It’s important to make sure that your animal stays fit and healthy. Dogs enjoy their daily walks and playing with toys and balls while cats will always want to run after a soft toy or ball made from tin foil. In addition, dogs and especially long haired cats will need regular grooming. So, make sure you have time for these activities before you consider adopting.

Treat your animal regularly for fleas and worms and also have them vaccinated by the vet once a year. It can also be a good idea to get pet insurance to cover any unexpected vet bills.

Microchipping is the safest way to make sure that your pet is identifiable in case they get lost and is something that the vet can do in a matter of minutes. If your animal was already microchipped by a previous owner, don’t forget to change ownership details.

Finally, never leave your animal to fend for itself when you’re away from home. Ask a neighbour to feed them, or use a pet-sitting service or take them to a kennel/cattery.

Useful tips for rabbit and guinea pig owners

All rabbits and guinea-pigs need regular cleaning out, especially rabbits. In the summer months they can soon get fly-strike. This is caused by bluebottle flies laying their eggs on the rabbit which then hatch out into maggots and starts to eat the rabbit’s flesh.

Dirty cages encourage this to happen. So please be careful and clean them out. There are products on the market to help discourage this happening. It is always advisable to use regular treatment. This can sometimes happen to the cleanest of rabbits. Check regularly for skin or fur mites on both rabbits and guinea-pigs. This looks like dandruff on their coats. Guinea-pigs are very prone to this problem, and it is a killer to the animal. Seek veterinary advise immediately if you notice any of these problems.

Rabbits and guinea-pigs need regular feeding every day, dry mix food, vegetables, fresh cool water and hay for their roughage. On top of this they need a large hutch and an exercise run, and regular handling.  Think twice about rehoming rabbits and guinea pigs if you aren’t able to provide the time to care for them properly.

Giving up your pet

Unfortunately, people sometimes have to give up a pet for various reasons. Don’t despair if you find yourself in this position as STARescue can always help. We never put a healthy animal down and will be happy to look after your precious animal until we find them a new and equally loving home. Contact Shirley King for further details.