Original article by Meg Stephenson, Animal FriendsHumane Society , Nov., 2011
Adopting a pet is a fun and fulfilling process… It is a life-changing experience for both human and animal. Here are some tips to consider before adopting a new pet:
Research: Before adopting, do some research to determine what pet is right for you. Consider size, age, breed, energy level, exercise needs, and grooming requirements. Choose a pet that fits your family lifestyle. *A senior pet typically has a lower energy level, a foundation for basic obedience, is house broken, and doesn't chew or scratch*
Be Prepared: Pets are a huge responsibility. They have physical needs, financial needs, and emotional needs. Annual veterinary visits, daily exercise, feeding, playtime and interaction are just a few of the many requirements your new pet will have. *Some people feel a senior pet requires more, but this is not the case. Most senior pets have lived in a home before and fit right in to the daily routines of your household. They are ever-grateful for the love and kindness of their new adopters, and to show their appreciation they love unconditionally*
Commitment: Dogs typically live 10-15 years, and cats typically live 15-20 years. When adopting a pet, know the commitment you are about to make to your new pet and stick to it. *Senior pets may be older, but they still have a lot of life to live. Don’t be discouraged from adopting a senior pet. Age is just a number and does not determine the joy and pleasure a senior pet can bring to your life*
During the month of November, remember there are thousands of animals (seniors included) across our country that are patiently waiting for a forever home. Know that a decision to adopt a pet is a decision to save a life.
Education is the first step in pet poison prevention.
Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The Pet Poison Helpline provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:
Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by clicking here
A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.
Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.
Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.
In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.
Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information. Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.