Local dog warden gives advice on how to care for emaciated pets

MAHONING COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County Dog Warden is sharing advice when it comes to finding emaciated animals.

If you see an animal that looks like it needs fed, the first think you think of is probably to feed it as much as you can. But, local experts are warning people not to do that.

Refeeding syndrome is when a person or animal hasn’t taken in enough calories to maintain their resting metabolic rate.

A local veterinarian explains it could cause severe problems if you give an animal too much when they’re body isn’t ready for it.

“When those cells have shriveled up to try to conserve their energy and conserve the electrolytes and minerals and everything else, if you give too much too soon they just don’t know how to take it all in,” says Dr. Courtney O’Neill of Austintown Veterinary Clinic.

Over-feeding emaciated animals can cause pulmonary issues, cardiac issues and it could even kill them.

Feeding the animals a little at a time, however, can help.

“You had to feed them every two hours because they can’t maintain that blood sugar, that level of energy. It’s kind of the same thing. Smaller more frequent meals is better than three very large meals,” continues Dr. O’Neill.

Dr. O’Neill says to give the animals about one-fifth of their normal meal and then continue to add to it as time goes on. It can take weeks to get them built up to where they are on a normal basis.

But if you do find an emaciated animal it’s always best to call the dog warden.