Rescue Dogs: Why We Love Them and How to Care For Them | NaturPet

Rescue Dogs: Why We Love Them and How to Care For Them

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Anyone who has one knows that rescue dogs are special. It’s like they know that you gave them a second chance, and they are eternally grateful for it. Rescue dogs are a great choice for anyone looking to add a furry addition to their family.

Benefits of Getting a Rescue Dog:

  • They are often already house trained.
  • They are often already spayed or neutered.
  • You can usually foster them first or take them home for a trial period to make sure you are a good fit.
  • Rescue dogs are often mixed breed. This makes them much less likely to develop genetic or behavioural problems that are common in some purebreds.
  • You can adopt a senior dog and make their last years special. Senior dogs are the best! They are often already trained and calm, and adopting them isn’t a 10-16 year commitment.
  • They cost less. Adoption fees are usually $100 – $300. This helps offset the costs of vaccinations and spaying/neutering. If you were to buy a dog from a breeder or a pet store you could be paying around $1500. And then you still have to pay to spay or neuter!
  • You are saving a life!

How a Rescue Dog Changed My Life

Rescue dog laying in the sun

Willow from Saskatchewan and Chica from Mexico

I picked up Chica from the airport with my then-boyfriend at 2am in January of 2013. She flew in from a shelter in Cancun, Mexico. We were going to foster her for Paws it Forward Dog Rescue until she found her forever home. We had fostered 3 dogs before her, all of whom my older dog, Willow, wasn’t such a fan of. I hadn’t thought of a name yet when we brought her home, but being from Mexico I wanted it to be something Spanish. When I set her down on the ground outside of my condo she was too scared to follow me. I kneeled down and tried to coax her along. She was nervous and stiff, until I said “Come here, Chica” and she bounded towards me. I assume ‘Chica’ was the only word I said she was familiar with. From that moment on she was Chica.

When Chica came to us she was about 8 weeks old and ten pounds of these long, gangly legs. Willow accepted her right away, probably happy to finally have a foster dog that was smaller than her. I had tried to prepare Josh for what it was like to have a puppy. “She’s going to cry in her crate all night in the beginning, and we’ll be cleaning up a lot of messes.” But that first night we brought her home she stayed quiet in her crate until we let her out in the morning. And she quickly proved me wrong as a very quiet and easy puppy.

Chica had mange when we first got her. We had the go to regular appointments where the vet would scrape her bald spots and apply medicine. She still has one small spot on her face, where it was too close to her eye to treat.

The dog rescue always gives foster families the first chance to adopt their foster dog. But if someone else applies to adopt, then they are given the chance to see if they are a good fit. I realized that I couldn’t let Chica go when she was set to go to a potential adopter. I was thrilled (and surprised) when the potential family decided not to keep Chica. She is now five years old, still all legs, and a constant source of entertainment for anyone who witnesses her goofy antics. Chica absolutely adores her big sister Willow, who is now 16 years old. I have no doubt that she has helped keep Willow young. I am so glad that Chica became my ‘foster fail’.

Foster Fail: When the Rescue Dog You are Fostering Steals Your Heart and You Can’t Let Go

Three dogs sitting on mountain in Kelowna

Chica, foster dog Bobo, and Willow

How to Care for Rescue Dogs

Depending on where your rescue dog is coming from, there are some common health problems you might be faced with.


Riley rottweiler cross puppy

My first foster dog, Riley, had a LOT of diarrhea

In my experience with foster dogs, the most common problem is diarrhea. This can be caused by stress, sudden change in food, and intestinal parasites. Rescued dogs go through a lot of change in a hurry and the stress of that can cause some tummy problems. A sudden change in food when coming home is a very common cause of diarrhea in rescue dogs. If your new dog is experiencing diarrhea then you should stop feeding them dog food for a few days. Instead, cook up some white rice and buy a can of pumpkin. This combination of rice and pumpkin for a few days should really help – it was a life saver while I was fostering. After that, make sure you have a high quality food and ease your dog into it. You should still feed some rice until he or she is used to the new food. If you think that worms or parasites might be the cause then NaturPet has an all-natural D Wormer. For best results, make sure to keep using the D Wormer for a week after the last signs of worms are gone. It can be hard on your pet having to fight off worms or parasites. We recommend Immuno Boost after using D Wormer to help them bounce back.

Skin Problems

Rescue dogs might have a variety of skin problems – from skin infections to allergies to parasites. When I adopted Chica she had mange which caused bald, dry spots on her body. These were treated by regular visits to the vet. If you are just noticing dry skin and a dull coat then it is likely caused by poor diet or malnutrition. Dr Maggie’s Skin & Coat Formula is a great supplement that promotes overall health. It contains antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, sulfur, calcium and E & B vitamins that protect and moisturize the skin. The fish oil helps to reduce skin and coat dryness that can lead to dandruff or hair loss.


It is very common for a rescue dog to be malnourished because of poor diet and lack of vet care. Some signs of malnourishment are an underweight body, a dull coat, and sunken eyes. Once your vet has ensured there are no serious health problems, it’s time to bring your dog’s health back! You should initially feed them with small, frequent meals instead of only one or two large meals a day.

Lindsey and I donating NaturPet products to Paws it Forward Dog Rescue

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a very common problem for rescue dogs coming from shelters. It is a highly contagious viral infection affecting the trachea and bronchial tree of the respiratory system. A ‘honking’ sounding cough followed by retching is a distinctive sign of this disease. Kennel cough can lead to pneumonia, so veterinary care is important.

Veterinarian Recommendations:

“For rescues, I would recommend the Multi [Minerals] to help boost the immune system, as well as Lung Care to prevent kennel cough.”

Dr. Rehanni Khaseipoul, DVM

cute dogs laying in grass with adult beverages

Amber Bahm
Amber Bahm
Amber came from a small town in Saskatchewan where she grew up with horses, a cat, and her dog Willow. When she moved out West to Kelowna she brought Willow along and has since adopted a rescue dog from Mexico named Chica. Amber combines her love for animals with her knowledge of design, computers, and technology while working at NaturPet.

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