Making travel safe for your family pet

Pets are part of many families and it’s becoming more common for people to take them when they travel. But before you hit the road, you’ll want to consider a few safety measures to make sure your pooch isn’t hurt in a crash.

Many people don’t realize that unrestrained pets can cause serious injury to passengers and to themselves.

“During a crash or if you slam on the brakes, pets can act as projectiles if they are not secured. And they can also distract drivers from keeping their eyes on the road,” explained Jen Stockburger, Consumer Reports auto expert.

The market is full of pet restraining products, everything from harnesses to carriers, but many labeled crash tested are based only on manufacturers claims.

The Center for Pet Safety – and Subaru – did their own independent tests in 2015. They looked at harnesses, crates for bigger dogs, and carriers for small dogs and cats.

Overall, the top performing pet restraints are the SleepyPod Air Carrier for about $220, the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate crate for about $600 and the SleepyPod Clickit Sport which will cost you around $90.

If your pet’s not used to travelling, or to restraints, condition them slowly by starting off with short trips.

And as you add distance make sure to bring along cold water and snacks, just like you would for the rest of the family.

“You want peace of mind, because you never know when that crash is going to happen,” said Lindsey Wolko, founder of the Center for Pet Safety.

Also pets, just like the rest of us, can get motion sickness. When you feed them make sure you’re stopped and off to the side of the road.

Source: CTV News Vancouver
by Sandra Hermiston and Ross McLaughlin

Pets and pests could stave off childhood asthma

A new study suggests that infantile exposure to indoor allergens may prevent childhood asthma
New research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that exposing children to pet and other common indoor allergens before the age of 3 may prevent the development of asthma.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, over 8 percent of children under the age of 18 have asthma.

It is known that once a child has developed asthma, exposure to certain allergens may worsen their symptoms. Exposure to pollen, pet dander, or dust mites should be avoided for children with the condition.

However, new research suggests that pet allergens, together with some pest ones, may have the opposite – and therefore a preventative – effect, as long as the children are exposed to the allergens before the age of 3.

The study was led by Dr. James E. Gern, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and it was conducted as part of the ongoing Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA) study.

Studying allergens and asthma

The URECA study started in 2005. Since then, researchers have examined asthma risk factors among 560 children born in Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, New York City, NY, and St. Louis, MO.

These children were at high risk of developing the condition because at least one of their parents had asthma or other allergies.

As part of the URECA study, children born in 2005 were clinically followed until now, and the present study assessed these children until they reached the age of 7.

Of the 560 inner-city children, Dr. Gern and team had a sufficient amount of data on 442. Of these, 130 children (or 29 percent) developed asthma.

Allergens were sampled from the children’s homes at three different time points: when the children were 3 months old, 2 years old, and 3 years old.

The researchers used 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing to analyze the house dust microbiome. They identified 202 bacterial taxa that were more abundant in the homes of children with asthma, and 171 that were less abundant.

Source: Medical News Today
by Ana Sandoiu

New pet bylaw for Pretoria

Photo for illustration

The metro has been receiving complaints about pet shops mistreating animals.

The Tshwane metro recently announced a new bylaw for keeping animals after complaints about pet shops mistreating animals.

According to the bylaw, no person will be permitted to:

  • Keep any livestock, other than poultry or maintain kennels in any area defined by the municipality as unsuitable for the keeping of livestock and the maintenance of kennels,
  • Keep any livestock, other than poultry, on premises situated on land less than 1ha in extent, and in the case of a dealer or speculator in livestock, the land is not less than 2.5ha in extent.
  • Keep any animal, unit of poultry or bird in or on premises that do not comply with the provisions of the bylaws,
  • Keep any animal, unit of poultry or bird in or on premises that are so constructed, maintained or situated that the keeping of animals, poultry or birds on the premises is, in the opinion of the environmental health practitioner, likely to cause a nuisance,
  • Keep more than 10 units of poultry or 10 rabbits or 10 birds on residential premises, provided that more than 10 units of poultry may be kept on an agricultural holding and that the owner, occupier or keeper ensures that no health nuisance is constituted,
  • Keep more than three dogs or three cats older than six months on property zoned residential;
  • Keep dogs and/or cats on premises zoned industrial or business purposes unless the prior written approval of an environmental health practitioner has been obtained.
  • In giving his or her approval the environmental health practitioner may impose any conditions he or she deems necessary; and operate a battery system for poultry or rabbits before approval has been obtained from the municipality.

West DA ward councillor Elma Nel urged pet shop owners to take responsibility for the pets in their care.

“A beautiful example to follow was what was explained to my son: pets should be regarded as visitors in your home who cannot fend for themselves,” she said.

“Make sure that their drinking bowls are always to the quality that you will drink from it personally. That is something we live by and I feel that everyone should.”

She said the welfare of pets should be top of mind during extreme weather conditions.

“No pet should be left outside in an enclosure in this heat,” she said.

“If you treat them like you treat yourself, that alone should promote your shop.”

Source: Pretoria Moot Rekord

Putting a Halt on Feline Halitosis

Having your beloved cat go under the extreme lengths of anaesthesia for a mere teeth cleaning procedure is a stressful ordeal for you both. Then after all the trauma and perhaps a few tooth extractions along the way, your cat often still suffers from the foul-smelling breath they started with.

Read on as there is far more than meets the eye when it comes to feline halitosis…

What causes feline halitosis?

One of the main causes of feline halitosis is the accumulation of bacteria on teeth that emits an unpleasant odour. Plaque is produced when this bacteria bonds with the teeth and, if not removed in time, it will develop into tartar. Tartar is far more challenging to eradicate from the teeth than plaque. This conglomeration of plaque and tartar can quickly progress to halitosis if overlooked.

Your cat’s diet could also be a contributing factor to the unwanted onset of halitosis and it could be as simple as an allergy to the ingredients in what they’re consuming. Halitosis could also merely be caused by a piece of food stuck in the teeth. Baby teeth could also be lurking in your adult cat’s mouth, harbouring unwanted plaque and bacteria.

Some cats are predisposed to inflammation and infection of the gums. Bacteria plagues the gums as well as the supporting tissues of the teeth, resulting in gingivitis or periodontal disease which also contributes to halitosis.

Whilst halitosis is usually quite manageable, it also could be a warning that something more sinister is disrupting your cat’s health and may become a critical medical problem if not treated. Conditions such as cancer, metabolic disorders (sugar diabetes), respiratory, gastrointestinal, liver and kidney problems may manifest as halitosis and these conditions should be investigated.

What symptoms should I be cautious of?

  • Unusual smelling breath:
    • Abnormal sweet or fruity breath could indicate diabetes, especially if your cat has unusually increased their fluid consumption or urination frequency.
    • Urine-smelling breath can be a sign of kidney disease.
    • A peculiar foul odour associated with yellowing of the corneas and/or gums, vomiting or loss of appetite could indicate a possible liver problem.
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Loss of mouth control, difficulty opening or closing
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive brownish tartar on your cat’s teeth

If your cat is displaying any of these signs, consult your veterinarian straight away.

Treating feline halitosis:

Treatment of halitosis is determined by the root cause/s thereof. If halitosis is triggered by periodontal disease, the vet will probably schedule your cat in for a dental cleaning procedure because tooth loss may result if left unattended. In some cases, tooth extractions may have to be performed if the supporting bone and tissue have lost significant volume. The vet may also prescribe odour reducing medication that controls the bacteria production in the mouth. 

If periodontal disease is not a contributing factor to your cat’s halitosis, the vet will then need to run tests to discount any other possible triggers. The appropriate treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause/s identified. 

Preventing feline halitosis:

It’s essential to be proactive rather than reactive regarding your cat’s health and wellbeing by adhering to the following preventative tips:

  • Frequently monitor your cat’s breath and the associated symptoms of halitosis
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian so they can observe and track your cat’s dental condition.
  • Brush your cat’s teeth daily to prevent plaque build-up (tips on Brushing Your Feline Friend’s Teeth)
  • Ask your vet about supplementary oral health products that you can use at home.
  • Discuss with your vet a diet that will assist in keeping halitosis at bay.

You know your cat best, so any changes in odours or behaviour should immediately be reported to your vet so that you allow your cat a healthy, prosperous life. Don’t underestimate the significance of your feline friend’s “bad breath”, it could be far more ominous than you realise.

For Your Infurmaton:

Small cat breeds and brachycephalic breeds, for instance Persians and Himalayans, have closely set teeth and are consequently most predisposed to periodontal disease.


Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

Tips on Brushing Your Feline Friend’s Teeth

  • Brushing a cat’s teeth is a challenging task to say the least, so starting earlier than later in their lives is advantageous to you both
  • Cat’s generally don’t enjoy having their mouths touched so first get them accustomed to it by lifting their lips and exposing their teeth daily
  • Ease your cat into their favourite resting place whilst you brush their teeth. This could be on a particular piece of furniture or even on your lap
  • Use a specially designed cat toothbrush with soft bristles. A child’s toothbrush will also do. Alternatively, you could use a finger toothbrush or a cotton swab
  • Never use human toothpaste, baking soda or salt to brush your cat’s teeth. Use toothpaste especially designed for cats. They come in feline-friendly flavours to make the experience more palatable for your feline friend
  • Give your cat a tiny taste of the toothpaste a few days prior to the initial tooth-brushing session
  • Raise your cat’s lip to reveal their gums and teeth
  • Gently brush in movements like you would a child or your own teeth
  • Most cats won’t permit you near their inside teeth so focus on brushing the outer surfaces of the gums and teeth
  • The canines and back upper molars are prone to tartar accumulation so don’t overlook these in a brushing ​session
  • Once your cat is familiar with the brushing process, aim to maintain a daily brushing routine
  • Reward you cat for his patience and cooperation with a dental friendly, tartar-reducing treat after the brushing session

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

Dogs in SA more likely to attack

Dogs in SA are more likely to attack than anywhere else in the world as SA has the highest incidence of dog attacks on humans.
Image: Pixabay

Cape Town – Man’s best friend is more likely to turn on him in South Africa than anywhere else in the world.

According to law firm DSC Attorneys, the country has the highest incidence of dog attacks on humans than any other in the world. The firm is advising people on their rights and possible claims stemming from dog attacks.

Kirstie Haslam, a partner in the firm, said dog bites account for tens of millions of injuries annually, and in South Africa dogs account for 76% to 94% of animal bite injuries, and dog bite fatalities are higher because of lack of post-exposure treatment and appropriate access to health care. In the US, the figure is 3% to 18% and also lower in Australia, Canada and France.

“There were nine dog attack fatalities in 2016, more than the total number in the nine years from 2006-2015, and so far in 2017, reported dog attack fatalities and injuries are a daily occurrence. With high crime rate, large breeds of dogs are popular and many dogs are trained to be aggressive for security purposes.

“The number of dog bite is growing alarmingly every year and compounding the problem is the increasing prevalence of the breeding of large dogs to participate in dog fights as a blood sport,” Haslam said.
“Although determining the validity of a dog bite claim is a complex matter, you can claim general damages for pain and suffering and any lost income suffered or likely to be suffered in the future.When claiming, you will also need to prove the extent of the injuries and any long-lasting disfigurement or other injury-related difficulties.”
Haslam pointed out that the majority of attacks occur on private property. 

“DSC is acting on behalf of a 32-year-old man from Calvinia. who was viciously attacked by a boerboel when he was invited onto a neighbour’s property. He also sustained significant injuries to his lower leg, which has inter alia resulted in serious foot neuropathy, (chronic daily pain caused due to nerve damage) which may possibly result in him having to undergo a below-knee amputation.”
Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson, Belinda Abraham said: “Law Enforcement have admitted 167 dogs to us this year so far. 51 Of these dogs were impounded after either attacking other people or dogs.  We are however aware of a number of dog attack incidents  at least 2 of which were fatalities.”

She said if SA has the highest incidence of dog attack deaths or injuries compared to other countries, one of the reasons for that could be because pet ownership in South Africa is not as strictly monitored as it is elsewhere in the world. 

“Sadly this also says a lot about the way we as a nation view and treat our animals. These statistics may well result in less families opening their hearts and homes to dogs but we should never lose sight of the absolute joy responsible pet ownership can bring to a household, the lessons animals can teach us and our children and the value of the unconditional love they offer.”

The City’s by-laws states dogs may not be in public streets or public places unless on a leash and under control – unless in a designated free-running area. According to the Animal By-law of 2010, the Council may designate public places with appropriate signage as one or more of free-running, on-leash or off-limits and the designation may vary according to time of day and season.

DSC revealed that internationally, 24 countries have banned the breeding and keeping of Pit Bulls and other dog breeds that are considered dangerous. In South Africa, where two thirds of attacks have been by Pit Bulls, there is no Dangerous Dog Act or legislation in effect, or steps being taken to bring about greater legislative control over breeders.

With the increasing number of attacks, the challenge is having sufficient resources to investigate and prosecute syndicates and individuals.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said: “The Animal By-law of 2010 outlines all conditions related to keeping animals. An authorised officer is empowered to seize and impound dog/s in terms of the Animal By-law of 2010 if certain provisions of the by-law are contravened. The dogs are kept at the City’s pound in Atlantis or at an Animal Welfare organisation such as the SPCA when owner has been careless.”

Written by: Okuhle Hlati


Adopt Don’t Shop

Adopt Don’t Shop

The past decade has certainly brought the new adage “Adopt! Don’t Shop!” to the fore. More than ever, people are concerned about the abundance of poor dogs having to spend the rest of their days in the countless shelters out there. And this brings a new debate to the fore:

Is it still considered ethical to buy furry friends from breeders when we are fully aware of the boundless dogs entrapped in shelters and in dire need of loving families too?

Yip, it’s a tricky one. Whether you buy from a shelter or a breeder is obviously a personal choice. But before you go ahead in making this long-term commitment, it’s best to do your research so you know you’re acting in the best interests of your family and your little furry friend-to-be.

Reputable breeders are passionate about what they do and are mindful of the dogs and pups concerned. But before buying from any breeder, please, please, please, research them! There are many backyard breeders out there that operate illegally and are uncertified to breed dogs. They do not put the dog’s best interests first and operate only to make a profit. If a “breeder” you come across appears suspicious, report them to your SPCA. Click here to discover the essential Reputable Breeder’s Checklist

So, I guess the golden question is:

Why buy a puppy from a breeder over saving a shelter dog?

  • Trusted breeders are believed to curtail the genetic health risks assumed to be rife in certain breeds, such as eye problems in Maltese poodles and hip dysplasia in bigger dogs like German Shepherds
  • Reputable breeders are expected to have judiciously selected a pair of dogs to mate to ensure they achieve the probable and sought-after traits related to that specific breed
  • A professional and accredited breeder may assist you in selecting the right breed for your family and lifestyle requirements
  • It’s assumed that reputable breeders will ensure that you’re given a puppy that’s exempt from any genetic-related health issues, potentially lightening the future financial burden of associated vet bills
  • An honest breeder keeps the lines of the communication open and welcomes any queries or challenges you may encounter with your furry friend, even well after the handover has occurred
  • A trustworthy breeder is presumed to take the time to socialise the puppy by introducing it to children, adults as well as other animals which ultimately saves you from having to train your puppy to be social and friendly
  • A reputable breeder should have initiated house training the pup so that you can merely pick up where they left off
  • A reputable breeder should possess and share valuable information and advice regarding the puppy’s food type, food consumption, aspects of training, causes for concern and the like. This is especially helpful for first-time dog owners
  • The general consensus seems to be that you have a clearer idea of a purebred’s lineage hence ensuring the typical physical and behavioural characteristics of the breed in question. If a line of dogs has the same genes, it’s assumed that you can predict the size of the dog, the coat’s colour, texture and length, potential health risks, energy levels as well as its behaviour with children and other animals
  • There seems to be a common thought pattern that a breeder’s objective is to enhance all aspects of the breed, resulting in perfect, all-rounded puppies
  • People find reassurance in knowing that the puppy’s parents’ health condition may warrant the puppy’s health
  • Some breeders may be open to taking puppies back if things don’t work out
  • It’s assumed that the behaviour and temperament of dogs of a certain breed are absolute and therefore predictable. Genes passed down from previous generations, are believed to affect the dogs’ behaviour. For instance, huskies were bred as working dogs and required immense amounts of energy to pull sleds through dense snow. Anyone who owns a husky can vouch for their boundless energy levels and enthusiasm, proving that this trait is still prevalent in husky breeds.
  • However, not all behavioural traits and temperaments are based on genetics. When the good old Nature-Nurture deliberation comes into play, nurture reigns true here. If dogs, even purebreds, aren’t trained, loved and socialised, their behaviour and temperament may be completely different from the breed you signed up for.

Drawbacks to Deliberate when Supporting Breeders

  • The reality is that a lot of people struggle to keep their guilt at bay when supporting breeders over shelters as there are millions of dogs wasting away in these shelters every year. They know that rescuing one of those dogs, will save a life and make room for another homeless pup
  • You should be prepared to conduct methodical research to find a reputable breeder and this process can be painstakingly time-consuming
  • There is usually a substantial waiting list even before most thoroughbred puppies are born so you need to be organised to even get on that list in the first place. Take heed, that you may be expected to meet the breeder, often several times, so they can decide whether you’re a suitable fit for one of their puppies
  • It’s highly suggested that a binding contract be in place between you and the breeder. This again will be time-consuming to draft and then both parties are required to review and sign it. You may even want a lawyer’s opinion so extra costs will be involved
  • The breeder route is overall very expensive. Thoroughbred puppies are generally pricier than shelter dogs. You could be looking between R 3000 to R 25 000 on a puppy, depending on the breed. Remember that most breeders are located on the outskirts of towns or cities or on farms in more rural areas, so you can expect to pay even more on petrol and mileage costs, especially if you’re required to visit the breeder more than once
  • If you haven’t thoroughly conducted your research or realistically adjusted your expectations, you may be disappointed to learn that the traits you relied on as a surety for your choice of breed, begin to take a toll:
    Let’s say you want a vibrant, intelligent dog to interact with and take for long runs but when you find that you don’t have the time to do so any longer, you feel frustrated that your Border Collie plays up because they’re under-stimulated and now possess a surplus of energy. Or, perhaps you love the gorgeous long locks of a St Bernard but the constant cleaning of the shedding fur becomes a chore.
  • It cannot be stressed enough to do the necessary research before you decide on a breed: Amounts and frequency of shedding and grooming; energy levels; food consumption (will it fit into your budget?), weight concerns and genetic shortcomings are only a few invaluable guidelines to help you make the correct decision.
  • It’s also worthy to note that many purebreds weren’t always intended to be companions for us. They were initially bred with a purpose and with that purpose, they developed certain mannerisms. Working dogs such as sled and cart pullers, hunting dogs, herding dogs and the like, may still display the following behavioural traits that may lead to some vexation for their human parents:
    • They may have excessive energy levels
    • They may require constant stimulation and busy themselves around the home subsequently causing mischief
    • They may act out in the form of:
      • digging holes in the garden
      • constant barking
      • chewing furniture or shoes
    • They may not socialise well with other animals and/or children
    • They may be unfriendly or even aggressive to visitors
  • Determining a purebred’s traits is not an exact science. In fact, you may often be surprised or even disheartened by how your furry friend turns out. There’s no guarantee that you’ll receive exactly what you’re looking for in the breed, so keep that in mind when opting to take the breeder path
  • Contrary to popular belief, purebred dogs may have a lot of health issues that could present themselves as the following, depending on the breed:
    • Crippling bone and joint disorders
    • Eye diseases that cause reduced sight or total blindness
    • Heart diseases that drastically shorten a dog’s life
    • Endocrine system diseases like hypothyroidism and diabetes
    • Seizure disorders such as epilepsy
    • Skin diseases that cause frantic itching
    • Slip disks and other back problems
    • Digestive disorders that cause chronic diarrhoea and vomiting
    • Kidney and liver diseases
    • Blood-clotting diseases
    • Cancer – the number 1 killer of many breeds

With this said, you need to be willing and able to support your furry friend both financially, to cover the vet bills and medication, as well as emotionally.

Who’ll Save the Desperate Dogs in Shelters?

You can’t deny the sense of fulfillment in saving a fellow being’s life. Furthermore, to be able to adopt a rescue dog without so much as a name to go on, is certainly a selfless and heroic act and not many people possess this rare and extraordinary gift.

Society, however, is showing an increased concern for the well-being of animals and as a result, more individuals are taking personal action to save lives by adopting rescues from the myriad of shelters worldwide. This is fantastic news but tragically, they’re still unable to keep up with the thousands of daily additions to shelters.

This brings us back to the controversial argument touched upon earlier: Is it blatantly unfair to support breeders when there are so many lives desperately waiting to be rescued elsewhere?

Again, the choice is individual in nature but similarly requires a vigilant stock-take as it’s a decision that will ultimately affect you, your family and the rescue dog concerned.

Besides the obvious, of granting an innocent pup another chance at life, why would a person support a shelter as opposed to buying from a reputable, accredited breeder?

  • People are drawn to the rewarding sense of elation their children feel when personally involved in rescuing a fellow creature. Empathy is an extraordinary life lesson to bestow on your child by enabling them to think beyond themselves when experiencing, first hand, the distress of the creatures in those shelters
  • By allowing your children to play with the shelter dogs and eventually picking one out themselves, implants in the child, a sense of responsibility for the dog as well as an initial bond between the two of them
  • It’s devastating to think that most dogs in shelters will never experience the love and security of a family that they so rightfully deserve. They are sentenced to spend the rest of their lives there. Many people feel this to be inhumane and this precise point drives them to adopt from shelters rather than shop from breeders
  • Rescues are different! Not to say they’re superior to purebreds, but it cannot be refuted: They certainly have their very own story ascribed to them which forges their unique character. What an incredible fortune for you to become part of their special story!
  • By adopting from shelters, you are fundamentally saving TWO lives: your new furry friend’s as well as providing a vacant spot in the shelter for another rescue dog
  • Rescue dogs are exceptionally loving, devoted and appreciative and they never forget they were rescued
  • You can opt for a pooch from a range of ages, sizes, hair length, textures and colours so to best accommodate your family’s lifestyle, budget and personalities
  • People working at shelters usually conduct temperament evaluations and are well-acquainted with the dogs. They will know the dog’s personality and whether you’ll complement each other
  • Some people are unable to commit to the 10 to 15year period when acquiring a puppy. By adopting an older pooch, you compromise by not being bound to a longer time frame and you are still able to relish your time with your special companion
  • Selecting an adolescent or older dog, is certainly beneficial for your carpet budget! Rescues are generally house-trained at this age and therefore don’t revert to “lifting their leg” as frequently or at all in comparison to puppies
  • Adopting a house-trained pooch is also extremely helpful if you don’t have the time or the will to house-train them yourself
  • Adopting a fluffy friend from the shelter is also lighter on your overall wallet. Nowadays, rescue dogs are usually microchipped, dewormed and remedied against heartworm and fleas. They are also neutered or spayed which means you get to take home a vet-ready dog and for a reasonable price at that!
  • You don’t pay the premium on an adopted dog as you do with a purebred. You could look at adopting a shelter dog from R500 with all the veterinary bells and whistles included, such as vaccinations, spaying, neutering and more, so you get a lot more bang for your buck here and you get to save an innocent and thankful dog’s life while you’re at it! What a bargain!
  • If your heart is set on a puppy, don’t eliminate shelters as an option. If you call around, you can be put on various shelters’ waiting lists. Often, pregnant females are brought in or they’ve already given birth to a litter of puppies needing a loving family when they’ve been weaned off their mother
  • Likewise, if your heart is set on a purebred, try out the breed in question’s rescue association or SPCA’s in the vicinity. Facebook is flooded with these groups and you’ll be so surprised to learn the variety of breeds you can choose from. People, for instance, may have bought a purebred dog and have found that the dog is unsuitable to their lifestyle and land up giving them to the SPCA! So, it’s high fives all round: You get your purebred and in the same breath, you get to give a creature a second chance at life!
  • Some may be concerned that the rescue won’t be well socialised with children, adults or even other animals due to a traumatic history. Fortunately, most shelters nowadays have highly-qualified animal behaviourist who are amazing in counselling dogs that have experienced trauma. These dogs are successfully rehabilitated and able to integrate with a normal family perfectly. All they need is a kind soul to give them the opportunity to prove it.
  • A lot of shelter representatives are very generous with their knowledge and serve as a support system if you have any concerns or queries
  • Most people don’t realise that puppies aren’t always ideally suited to children as they are babies themselves and require an abundance of love, attention and time too. If you’re already inundated with the demands that come with having children, I will be worthwhile adopting an older, more settled and serene dog that still requires love and consideration, but will alleviate the stress of double-folded parenting

Puppy Pitfalls to Consider:

  • Can you meet the expense of neutering or spaying the puppy?
  • Can you afford to maintain the puppy’s current shot schedule?
  • Are you able and willing to be on stand by numerous times at night and during the day to let the puppy out?
  • Are you able and willing to feed the pup the necessary three to four times daily?
  • Are you able and willing to support the pup whilst they’re teething?
  • Are you able and willing to manage the pup’s child-like enthusiasm and liveliness?
  • Will you be able to tolerate their increased noise levels with barking and crying?
  • Are you willing and able to commit to your pup’s training both financially and emotionally?
  • Are you prepared to commit to this puppy for the next decade or longer?
  • Will you unconditionally devote yourself to the pup despite them not turning into the dog you initially envisaged?

If you’ve realised that you may not be as prepared as you thought, don’t discount adopting an older dog who will give you just as much pleasure but without the hardcore parenting that goes with puppies.

Shortcomings of Shelter

  • A shelter dog’s health is not always certain as their origin might be unknown
  • Unless they are puppies, it’s unknown if they’ll be good with children or other pets
  • Rescues may have some quirks stemming from their arduous past, but remember that with love, patience and perseverance, animals are innately inclined to trust again but they need a fighting chance to do so
  • Individuals may feel apprehensive about common illnesses the rescue may have consequently picked up in the shelter. Research alternative shelters and ensure they have evidence of up-to-date shots and that a vet has signed the pooch off as healthy
  • Going the shelter route also entails scrupulous research. You need to decide whether the dog you want will suit your lifestyle and budget. If you get a puppy from a shelter, they may land up being a lot bigger, or smaller than you anticipated so take this into account so to avoid disappointment
  • You need to align your expectations and realise that adopting a pooch from a shelter can be compared to a lucky draw as you don’t always know what you’re going to get. The lineage of some rescue dogs is unknown and even if it is, they may have encountered traumatising events in their pasts that may affect their behaviour

I’ve stressed throughout our time together that the choice of supporting breeders versus shelters is totally personal. Provided you’re a loving parent to your dog and have their very best interests at heart, we should all respect that personal preference.


If you’re feeling torn and morally confused at this stage, how’s this for a compromise? If you have your heart set on a certain breed, why not support and adopt from the purebred rescue societies as I’ve mentioned above? That way, you’re bound to get the traits you’re after and you can rest assured knowing that you’ve saved a life! Try out:

Thanks for reading and here’s wishing you all the best in your endeavour in adopting a precious fur child.

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

Animal Shelters Seek Metro’s Help

Beverly Rademeyer from the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL)
Photo: Werner Hills

ALL dogs deserve a loving home, but when these dogs become commodities, and are bred for profit, it doesn’t matter how well meaning or qualified the breeders are.

“If we wish to put an end to the gross pet overpopulation problem and provide loving forever homes for dogs in need of them, there is no real justification for the perpetuation of dog breeding.”

These are the words of Beverley Rademeyer from the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL).

Following the plight of the overpopulation of dogs due to illegal breeding throughout the metro,

which results in animal cruelty and neglect, the local animal organisations have come together to plea with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to help them in their fight against the scourge.

According to these organisations, imposing fines on the illegal dog breeders could assist in bringing the transgressors to book.

“No matter how you look at the issue, breeding remains problematic and results in overflowing shelters,” Rademeyer said.

She added that in most animal shelters every cage was full and dogs kept coming.

“The dogs come in as strays or are abandoned while many others are surrendered.

“What really breaks my heart is that in as much as we would love to rescue all the dogs, it’s just not possible.”

Rademeyer explained that one of the biggest misconceptions that people had was that domestic animals could be bred for sustain­ability.

“This cannot be further from the truth. Domestic animals do not serve that purpose.

“It is only commercial animals – sheep, cattle, chickens and more – that can be bred by means of ensuring sustainability.”

She also emphasised that education is key. “People need to be educated on what the law requires of them and also about the health aspects that are involved.” 

“They have a responsibility to care for their animals.”

She said, “All we want is for the municipality to come forward and hear our cry.”

Many dogs are euthanised in shelters every year because of a lack of space, resources, and people who are willing to adopt these animals.

Replying to the measures that the municipality had put in place to involve more people in the plight, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said they established a dedicated dog control unit which responds to matters related to illegal dog breeding.

“Our subdirectorate is aware of the problem of stray animals and the dog control unit is responsible for collecting stray animals which are reported to the municipality,” he said.

However, the petition drafted by the local animal organisations states that the dog control unit is only tasked with enforcing the by-laws and does not deal with cases of cruelty or neglect.

Currently fines are not issued in terms of the by-laws.

“That is why we are pleading to the municipality to fine illegal dog breeders,” Rademeyer said.

“These fines can then be channelled back to fund sterilisations and animal welfare.

“Our main focus is sterilisation as we believe this can help in curbing the issue of overbreeding.”

Mniki said the municipal subdirectorate is not yet in possession of the petition relating to fining illegal dog breeders, “however, the municipal by-laws are clear on this matter; no one is allowed to breed dogs without municipal consent”.

He assured that there were plans in place to give the dog control unit the capacity to do their job better.

Written by: Thandi Setokoe