Adopting a pet – Part 1

Each year more and more pets are being dumped or given away by their owners.  According to the RSPCA more than 100 animals are being abandoned each day.  This is a 65% increase compared to figures in 2007.

There are many reasons why people give away their pets:

The pets are too much hard work or they are not what they expected

They cost too much to keep –  they can’t afford the food, medical care, boarding costs etc

The owners have lost interest in the pet.

The owners have moved and cannot have pets in the new home

The owner becomes ill or passes away

Breakdown of relationships and no one wants to take responsibility of the pet

The owner doesn’t want an old dog

The dog isn’t pretty enough

Many of these animals end up in shelters looking for new homes. Unfortunately, due to the amount of pets being abandoned, it’s getting harder and harder to find each animal somewhere to live which causes the running costs of the shelters to increase.

Luckily, there are many people who are willing to adopt a pet and give it second chance at happiness.  Below are a few hints and tips about adopting an animal.  In this blog we will start with dogs.

Choosing a dog

Whether you are buying a dog from a reputable breeder or adopting one you still need to do your homework. You need to think about how much time you can spend with the dog. Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? Will your circumstances be changing over the next couple of years that may affect the dog? Can you afford it as it can become expensive?  If you have other animals will they accept a new dog?

If you do not think you could handle a puppy it may be worth looking after an adult dog. Also, would you consider a more senior animal? In a lot of shelters the older dogs are generally last to be adopted and in some cases they are the first to be euthanised as they are harder to rehome.  Senior dogs can give you lots of love and due to their experience can be easier to train and will fit into your home without too many problems, however, you may need patience as older dogs may take a bit more time to settle in.

Consider the background of the dog compared to your home. If you have a fast moving noisy house, it may not be ideal choosing a dog that may have had a quiet life with elderly owners. Also, vice versa – if you want a quiet life, getting a dog that is fairly hyper would also not be ideal

Speak to the adoption centre and ask lots of questions as they will be able to help and advise you.

Get information from the shelter

Make sure you get all the information about the dog from the shelter.  Many dogs in rehome shelters will be strays but there will be dogs that have come from the owners so the shelter will have some background information on the animal.   Many shelters and rescue centres will ensure the dog is chipped and neutered/spayed before the dog leaves them. However, some places will requireyou to arrange that yourself as part of the adoption agreement.

Ask about what food the dog was given and at what times.  This ensures there is some sort of continuity when the dog arrives at your home.  If you are thinking about giving the dog different food, make it a gradual change so it limits any possible digestive problems.  Speak to your vet or the shelter if you need advice on this

Before you bring your dog home

Before your dog arrives in your home make sure it has a space to call its own. The dog will initially be confused to why it is at your home and won’t know what to expect. It can be a stressful time for the dog with the change of environment so make sure it has a bed ready so it can retire to it if things get a bit too much.  Dog proof any room(s) that the dog will spend a lot of time in.  Tape up cables, remove or lock away anything poisonous, remove anything breakable, instal baby gates if you want them to keep out of certain areas.

Introducing the dog to your home

When you move house you know how stressful it can be.  This is the same for dogs.  Give them time to get used to the new surroundings and the people within your home.  If you have children make sure they do not overwhelm the animal.  Just take it slowly so the dog has the space and time to adjust.

No matter how house trained a dog may be, there may be accidents.  When entering a new home there will be lots of new sights and smells so it may be thrown off track.  Be prepared to clean up just in case.

Over the next few days remain calm and have as much one on one time with the dog as possible. This will help you learn all the things it likes and dislikes.  It will also help your dog settle in a lot quicker.  Try and keep to a schedule with food and walks. This helps the dog learn what is expected from it and what to expect from you.

It’s a good idea to take your dog to your vet for a thorough check. They will be able to advise you on vaccines, check for any possible health issues and can advise you on how to get the best out of your dog.

There are lots of other hints and tips which can help you when adopting a dog.  If you have any questions or would like advice on this subject, please contact the clinic and someone will be able to help.  Alternatively, leave a comment on our Facebook page

Vets shocked by abuse

This is the shocking story of an all too common occurrence.  Cherrydown vet Catherine treated a dog at the end of May who was incredibly malnourished and nervous. The dog’s name is Tilly, and this is her story. “On Friday 27th May 2011 our son Andrew was aware of a 4×4 vehicle rushing down the street with a brown coloured dog chasing after it.  He managed to get hold of the dog and brought it to us. As you can see by the photos she was really underweight and very timid. “We managed to get some food inside her, but it took 2-3 hours before she would drink any water. We have had her for two weeks now and she is putting on some weight but is still very thin. Although the photos don’t show it clearly she had cuts to her leg and it looked like she had been just thrown from the vehicle. “We are not very happy with people who dump dogs like this and hope this might help to stop this sort of thing happening.” Mr & Mrs J. We work closely with the RSPCA at Cherrydown Vets and hear about this far too often.  Please, if you know of this happening in your area, contact the police and/or the RSPCA, and give them as much info as possible.  The mistreatment of dogs needs to stop.