What To Know Before Taking In An Orphaned Animal
Tips and advice for bringing an orphaned pet into your home.
While many people have their unique preferences when it comes to animals―cats vs. dog, big breed vs. small breed, male vs. female―there is one phase of every animals life that many people adore, whether they are pet owners or not: The infant phase.
Baby animals have a way of tapping into our core and pulling at our heartstrings, all while coming off as playful and needy at the same time. Whether it is a charming litter of rabbits, a happy shelter puppy, a baby hamster or a rescued baby kitten, one thing is for sure―we have a weakness for these small, adorable creatures.
For this reason, it pains many people when they see an orphaned animal walking through their local neighborhood, looking hungry and cold, with no family in sight. Often times, when people encounter these poor animals, there first instinct is to bring them home and raise them as they did with their other pets. However, what many people do not realize is that orphaned animals need extra special care that is different―and much more significant―than what adopted animals may need.
An orphaned animal is essentially defined as any type of creature that has become motherless while it is still unable to care for itself. Therefore, they are often very young and in need of great care. And while many people have very good intentions when taking these animals home, wanting to help them survive, there are several important things you should know before bringing home an orphaned animal.
Signs The Animal Is An Orphan
Because many people get caught up in the rush to protect and rescue an orphaned animal, some will not take proper notice of whether or not the animal is truly an orphan. However, a baby’s best chances of survival lie in remaining with its mother, therefore you should always be positive about the condition of the animal before you take it home.
Here are just a few signs which are typically associated with an orphaned animal:
- Evidence of injury or bleeding
- Shivering and shaking
- A deceased parent nearby
- An animal that presents itself to you in search of food and water
Caring For An Orphaned Animal
Just as with human infants, baby animals are extremely fragile creatures that take a lot of care and attention. Therefore, it is extremely important that you take proper preventative measures to ensure that they feel at home.
While it is always easier to raise an orphaned animal that has already been nursed from its natural mother for the first 48 hours, that is not always the case. In order to make sure of how much you should feed the infant, you will need to weigh it in order to determine a correct feeding level.
Small animals that only weight between 1 and 2 ounces will need only 1/2 or 1 tablespoon of milk replacers or formula per day. Products such as KMR and PetLac offer the proper nutrients and vitamins that an orphan animal needs to build up their immune system. It is also helpful to know that, because orphans are very weak, it may be better to divide up the amount of milk that they get into several feedings throughout the day.
It’s also important to create a proper environmental temperature for an orphaned baby. Animals that are less than one week of age should be kept at a temperature of roughly 90 degrees F. As each week passes, you can begin to lower the temperature about five degrees until it hits room temperature during week four. Temperature extremes should also be avoided at all costs, since the temperature control system of the young animal functions very poorly.
If you have never cared for an orphaned animal, or are in any way concerned with the condition and health that you have found an animal in, it is important to contact your veterinarian so that a proper examination can be scheduled. Infant animals are extremely cute, playful creatures. However, it is important that they receive proper care and attention in their early years to ensure that they have a healthy, happy future ahead.