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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.

Compromise:

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

7 Important things to consider when choosing the right pet to adopt

Image: Pixabay

A pet is a lifetime commitment, as in, the pet’s lifetime, and is not a decision that should be taken lightly or made impulsively.

So, you’ve made the decision to adopt a pet – good for you!

Now, it’s just a case of choosing the right pet to suit your lifestyle and circumstances – an important decision all of its own! All too often we see pets being neglected or given up for adoption because they are inconvenient or do not fit well into the owner’s life.

Taking time to research your options, before making an adoption decision, is one of the most important things to do, and will set you up for a fulfilling relationship with your new pet.

The Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa (PFI) has compiled the below list of considerations to help you decide on what type of pet to bring into your home:

  1. Personal preference and history: To start with, it’s important to be clear on what type of pets interest you and which do not. Often this is influenced by one’s history – the pets they may have grown up with and the relationship that they had with those pets. Also consider your own preferences now and what sort of consequences of the pet you’re willing to live with – would you be happy to have a litter box in your house that needs to be cleaned regularly? Can you live with pet hair on your furniture? Are you sensitive to noise or will a certain level of barking be acceptable to you? Do your allergies allow you to live in harmony with the pet? These are all indicators that will not only lead you to a specific type of pet, but perhaps a certain breed too.
  2. Space: What is your living arrangement like, how much space does it allow and is it secure? Based on this you should pick a pet that can happily exist in the space available. If you are renting, be sure that your lease allows for you to keep pets.
  3. Time availability: do you have ample time at your disposal to focus on your pet? Regular play is very beneficial for both cats and dogs and training and regular walks a must for most dogs (especially those more active breeds and types). Limited availability may mean a more independent cat or fish is more suitable.
  4. Level of activity: are you able to incorporate more strenuous activity and exercise into your routine, which more active breeds of dog, for example, require? Or would a less active breed or cat be more suitable?
  5. Budget: pets do not come cheap. Aside from the adoption fee that most shelters charge there is the ongoing expense of health care and veterinary checkups, grooming, routine pest control, food, toys and pet insurance to consider. Feeding a registered pet food that meets your pet’s nutritional requirements is essential for longevity and good health. Find a brand that suits your budget, confirming they’re a member of the PFI to ensure you’re feeding the best that you can afford – a brand that has committed to producing safe, nutritious pet food.
  6. Family dynamic: It’s very important that the entire family is on board when deciding to get a pet, as they will no doubt need to help out with raising the pet from time to time. Whether or not you have or plan to have children may also influence the type of pet you decide to adopt. Also consider your future plans and desires to ensure that this is indeed the right time to be getting a pet.
  7. Knowledge and understanding: It’s a good idea to research the type of pet and breed that you’re considering. There’s a great deal of information available, which will aid you in understanding your future pet’s unique needs and make it easier to commit to their general life expectancy. The better equipped and prepared you are to meet these needs, the more relaxed and settled your pet is likely to be.

A pet is a lifetime commitment, as in, the pet’s lifetime, and is not a decision that should be taken lightly or made impulsively.

Source: South Coast Herald

Why it’s better to adopt a pet

adopt

PHOTO: facebookOne of the dogs available for adoption at Parr, is Earl, who is a seven-week-old puppy looking for a good home.

WHILE many prospective dog owners’ first thought is to buy a pure-bred dog, and more and more people are becoming sceptical of adopting a dog that is not a puppy, Pietermaritzburg Animal Rescue and Rehome (Parr) member Chevonne Chetty has argued that the adoption of pets from rescue organisations is the better option.

“When buying an animal you are not guaranteed to receive an animal that has been vaccinated, dewormed, sterilised or treated for ticks and fleas. Rescue organisations, like ours, ensure that all of the above, and things like microchipping, are done to ensure that if the animal goes missing, he or she can be identified by someone when found,” said Chetty.

Chetty said rescue organisations do home checks before and after allocating an animal to a home and most will keep in contact with the owners should they need advice or assistance.

Many animals are neglected once the honeymoon phase is over between the animal and the owners but Chetty say they have a way to deal with this.

“We have adoption contracts to ensure the safety and security of the animal, allowing us to remove the animal if the adopter breaches the contract by being negligent or abusive towards the animal.

“We also ensure that the animal is returned to us should the adopters move to a place where they can no longer keep the animal,” said Chetty.

Chetty said that most private sellers of animals do not do proper home checks to ensure that a property is safe enough for the animal before selling them. By adopting an animal, Chetty said you are also saving money as if you were to purchase an animal privately, you would often be liable to get the animal vaccinated, dewormed, treated for ticks and fleas and sterilised.

“People must ask the necessary questions before they purchase a pet,” said Chetty.

Those looking to adopt can contact Tina at 071 883 1457 or Tash at 076 167 2175.

Source: News 24

The importance of National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day 2021

The importance of National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day 2021

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of your pooch laying across your feet at night, or your cat curled up on your lap while you watch TV. While lockdown has brought with it many negatives, the positive has certainly been the extra appreciation we’ve felt for our pets. While our pets have always been there to snuggle, exercise with, cry with and play with, spending so much time at home, especially for those on their own, means our pets have carried us emotionally through this incredibly taxing time. 

On 30th of April we observe National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day, and, as Marycke Ackhurst pet behaviour expert from Hill’s Pet Nutrition explains, this year is especially significant. “Unfortunately, because of lockdown, and with it many job losses, shelters found themselves inundated with more pets looking for forever homes than ever before. Added to that shelters weren’t operating during months of hard lockdown, and many are still trying to find their way out of extra costs and overcrowding.” 

That being said, adds Ackhurst, the decision to adopt a pet shouldn’t be made on a whim. If you’ve gone through some huge life changes or aren’t planning on staying in one place for too long, maybe now isn’t the right time to adopt. Besides adoption, there are other ways to make a difference this National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day, such as visiting your local animal shelter to volunteer or donate. 

Ackhurst provides the below tips for making your adoption a success, and another if adoption isn’t an option for you right now: 

  • It’s a responsibility, so think it through carefully – It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of visiting a shelter and deciding to bring home the first, cutest or saddest doe-eyed looking dog or cat you see. However, your first choice may not be the best. Pet parenting is a major responsibility; you’re agreeing to provide care for the rest of your pet’s life. Not only is this a big commitment of time and money, but it also entails dealing with any emotional or behavioural problems your pet may have. 
  • Choosing the right pet for you and your family – While you, or your kids, may be overly eager for a new cuddly companion, choosing the right pet is a process that takes time, research, and careful planning. However, that said, when adopting a shelter pet, it’s a good idea to remain open-minded. While you may have a specific age, breed, or ‘look’ in mind, you might find a better match based on temperament, activity level and family fit.
  • Know your limitations – It’s important to ask plenty of questions about the pet and any special needs they may have.  Most shelters will do their best to make sure you are aware of any additional needs this pet may require determining if you’d be a good fit. While shelters want the pet to be adopted, their priority is ensuring a loving forever home, so don’t be discouraged if they feel you will be more suited to a different pet.
  • Bringing your new pet home – There’s nothing more secure and welcoming as a safe, cosy bed when bringing your new pet home. Remember that a new environment is scary for any pet. It is important to give them lots of time to settle and also decompress from their previous life which is very different from the life that you are offering them. Try to avoid overcrowding them and, as much as you want to show off your new family member, give them time to get to know you and your home, before introducing them to the extended family. It’s a good idea to establish the rules upfront, such as what rooms your pet will have access to, where he or she will sleep, and if your pet will be allowed on the furniture.
  • Feeding your new pet – When taking your new pet to the vet for his first check-up speak to the vet about the best food options. It’s important not to start your pet on a new food entirely as it may cause an upset tummy. Mix your pet’s current food, the shelter can advise you on this, with the new food and increase the amount gradually while decreasing the old food over at least a seven-day period.   

If you’ve already got a pet, or now just isn’t the right time to adopt one, but you’d still like to do your part, then why not make the most of Hill’s latest offer? Their small dog free toy promo* is running now meaning, when you purchase a bag of Hill’s Canine between 1.5kg and 6kg you get a free plush toy. Then, head to your nearest shelter plush toy in hand. They’re gorgeous and super cuddly and will make the perfect shelter pet snuggle companion. 

*T & C’s apply

For more information visit the Hill’s Pet Nutrition website

Media queries Julia Rice | Republic PR | julia@republicpr.co.za | 083 379 4633

Source: Hills

 

Planning To Get A Parrot Or Have One?

Planning To Get A Parrot Or Have One?

Image: Pixabay

Advice for current or prospective parrot parents.
Parrots, especially African Grey parrots are popular pets, but unfortunately, many owners don’t realize the extreme level of care these highly intelligent, high-maintenance birds require.

The combination of their high intelligence and their long life expectancy makes them one of the highest maintenance pets on the planet. Adding inexperienced owners to the mix often results in a long list of behavioural problems, health concerns and unhappiness for both parrot and owner. These animals can easily change homes 6-7 times in their lifetime. The number of surrendered and abandoned birds are sky-high worldwide. Through education and awareness, we want to help change that.

Although we do not support exotic and wild animals as pets, or keeping them in cages, many are captive and that is why it is important to make sure you are ready and realistic about owning a parrot. They are beautiful, adorable and very smart, but they are also:

  • Noisy
  • Messy
  • Require expensive care
  • Need lots of time & energy
  • Demanding
  • Still needs grooming
  • Vet care is specialized
  • Destructive
  • Not ideal for kids
  • Become very old (60+)

“Parrots are commonly presented, at veterinary clinics, for feather-destructive behaviour, aggression, inappropriate noise making and/or excessive vocalization, and other behaviour problems — usually more so than for medical illnesses,” writes avian veterinarian Dr. Anthony Pilny.
Two absolute essentials for caring for parrots in captivity are access to an avian veterinarian & a minimum of 4 hours each day spent in human-bird interaction. Other fundamentals include a big monthly bird budget & a cage that is the right size, properly accessorized and well-maintained; and a species-appropriate, healthy diet.

He suggests the following:

  • You need an avian vet.  Parrots aren’t chickens or small mammals. They have a unique physiology that exotic animal vets are well versed in navigating. Avian veterinarians are better equipped than general small animal vets to diagnose exotics, as well as to understand and interpret behaviour problems and recommend appropriate treatment, enrichment methods, and behaviour counseling.
  • Owners and potential owners of parrots need to be thoroughly educated by avian veterinarians and other knowledgeable sources about the parrots’ needs so they know what to expect and how to meet the birds’ requirements in captivity.
  • The high cognitive ability of parrots should be considered in their captive husbandry as a contributing factor to developing behaviour concerns. If you’re considering a parrot as a pet, you should be prepared to spend almost the same amount and quality of time with your bird as you would a highly interactive, bright, inquisitive pre-schooler.
    FIVE MUST-HAVES FOR CARING FOR PARROTS
Planning to get a parrot

Image from Dr. Karen Becker

  1. THE CAGE
  • An appropriately sized cage that is cozy (draft-free) and located in a safe, low-stress but social area. Your bird’s cage should be big enough for her to spread her wings and flap vigorously without contacting anything. Even better when they can fly in their cage. Remember birds fly more horizontally, so consider this when you buy a cage.
  • It should have a variety of natural branch perches (not dowels) and contain several shreddable toys, for example, balsa wood, woven mat toys, paper-stuffed toys, nontoxic enrichment “goodie bags,” and organic hemp rope toys for chewing. A huge variety of organic, all-natural, chemical-free toys are critical, as parrots’ mouths are used as a third hand, so an ongoing supply of safe, nontoxic instantly shreddable, as well as a few resilient or reusable chew toys, are a must.
  • He recommends replacing the disposable chews at least daily and rotating the more resilient toys at least twice a week, ideally daily. Always introduce new toys slowly, attaching them to the outside of the cage for a few days first, so your parrot can investigate at his own pace.
  • The cage should be cleaned daily with a nontoxic cleaner. His recommendation is diluted vinegar. The cage floor should be lined with newspaper that is discarded daily. All loose material (feathers, leftover feed, bird poop) should be carefully disposed of before disinfecting cage surfaces. Birds should be removed from the area during the disinfecting process to protect them from fumes.
  1. DIET – Feed a high-quality diet of species-appropriate fresh foods including fruits, vegetables, sprouted seeds, whole nuts and sprouted grains. Organic, dye-free commercial pelleted food (not poor-quality sunflower seed mix, which is the equivalent of junk food for most exotic birds) can also be offered.
  1. BATHS – Parrots can get dusty, so regular bathing opportunities are important. Many parrots love baths; some will splash around in a tub of shallow water; others will join their owners in the shower and others enjoy a gentle spray from a plant mister. Use filtered water, free from heavy metals and contaminants, and consider adding a flower essence if your bird is stressed.
  1. MONEY – Beyond the initial expense of acquiring a parrot, owners should plan to spend a lot of money a month on wholesome fresh food, destructible toys, and other supplies. Also an emergency fund or pet medical aid.
  2. TIME – Just because birds live in cages doesn’t mean they are easy pets to care for. You can’t just pop your parrot into his cage and ignore him except at feeding time. Be prepared to spend a great deal of time interacting with them. Potential owners of parrots should be ready, willing, and able to commit at least 4 hours a day to human-bird contact. This will disqualify many potential owners immediately.

Birds need chemical-free environments to be healthy. Consider the dangers or effects of:

  • Tap water
  • Home scenting products
  • Kitchen cookware
  • Fireplaces and smokers
  • Home cleaning products
  • Air purification

Please think twice and again before committing and if you do…..ALWAYS ADOPT! We will fight not until cages are comfortable, but until they are empty!

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin
Website: www.thebulletin.co.za

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Adopting a Pet (Part 1)

Why saving a life though adoption is a great idea!
South Africa is overflowing with unwanted dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, even rabbits, birds and other animals. It’s sad to think that most of these animals in shelters will never experience a loving home and the security of a family they deserve. 

We have a massive overpopulation crisis on our hands because people: 

  • don’t sterilise their pets 
  • actively breeds animals 
  • support breeders/pet shops/animal dealers 
  • don’t take responsibility for their pets 
  • let their animals roam the streets 

The reality is that there are just not enough homes for all the animals. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born find a forever home and millions of animals are euthanized (put to sleep) every year. More unwanted animals end up as bait dogs/cats/rabbits for dogfighting or get passed from one owner to the other until they eventually, if “lucky” end up in a shelter instead. 

We understand that it seems easier to buy a pet, but let us share with you why buying a pet is part of the problem.  The pet industry in South Africa is not regulated and pet shops do not promote responsible pet ownership (sterilizations, home checks, etc.). They make their profits by promoting IMPULSE BUYING. These animals can also come from a questionable source.

What is Adoption? 
Many animals come in as strays found and other animals are dumped, abandoned or surrendered by their owners. If these animals are not claimed by their owners within the pound period, the shelter has two options namely, euthanize or adoption. Adoption is when you give an animal from a registered rescue organisation/shelter a second chance, as part of your family. You will pay an adoption fee and go through a process of responsible homing.

It is never just about a good home, but rather good placement for that animal! 
There are many BENEFITS to adopting. You not only save a life but will also make resources and space available for the next one to be rescued. If you can do the math, you know you will save money by adopting! Pets are good for our physical and emotional health and adopted ones for the most part are already “trained”. You also help to lighten the load of a shelter that rescues animals and make the rescuers go on for just one more day. 

Image: Rustplaas Dog Shelter

Things to consider before adopting:

  • Are you ready for a pet? 
  • Can you afford pet care in the long term? 
  • Have you researched their specific needs and can you meet these needs? 
  • Does the animal fit your family’s lifestyle?
  • If you live in a townhouse complex, written approval from the body corporate, that pets are allowed, must be obtained.   
  • Municipal By-laws must be adhered to with regards to allowed number of pets.  
  • You may never know their breed, medical history or behavioural history. 
  • You will have to pet-proof your home beforehand. 
  • Get the necessary items for your car and for travel. 
  • You will still need to buy beds, blankets, toys, leashes, deworm every 3 months, vaccinate every year, buy good food every month, this does not even include saving for an emergency!  
  • They need to be spayed/neutered and a form of identification added. 
  • Social animals should not be the only animals in the house.   
  • They might need some training and patients to build trust, more time to adjust and might not get along with all people or animals. 
  • If you think adoption fees are too expensive, then we will advise that you rather not get a pet.  If you do the math a responsible pet owner would do, then you will know that the adoption fee which includes sterilisation and more, is at least half the price you would normally pay for everything which is included and that is excluding the animal itself.  

Image by Best Behaviour now operating as Beyond Behaviour

Rescue is the best breed! We always advise you to go and meet the animals available at your local shelter.  Shelter pets are not broken, they were only failed by humans. Adopting an adult pet can even be better than a puppy. You might just fall in love with one that you never thought of. Choosing the right breed for your lifestyle is however especially important. NEVER MAKE A DECISION based only on a dog’s LOOK or SIZE or BREED etc. The energy level of that animal should fit with that of your family.

If you like a particular breed, there are many different ones up for adoption through breed-specific rescues (e.g. google “Poodle” rescue SA).   Be careful with any organisations that do not do responsible homing which should include sterilisation and a home-check.

Changing a life through adoption is priceless! ADOPT DON’T SHOP!

Next week we will look at how the process for adoption works. 

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER! 

Source: The Bulletin
Website: www.thebulletin.co.za

Looking to Adopt?
Search our Welfare Directory!

Adopting a Pet (Part 2)

What can you expect during the process of adopting a pet?
The process and policy might differ between organisations. The process usually includes an application form, meet & greet, home check, paying an adoption fee, sign an adoption contract, sterilisation and follow-up. Depending on availability for sterilisation at the Veterinarian or home check schedules, this can be completed in as little as 3 or 4 days. 

Irresponsible homing is not rescue! As there are far too many irresponsible organisations as well as scammers out there, we consider it to be a RESPONSIBLE ADOPTION only when it includes the following:

  • Organisation must be registered and have a clear adoption policy as well transparency and accountability.
  • Must have a comprehensive adoption application.
  • Must do a home check in person. 
  • Must require proof of address and copy of the adopters ID.
  • May not allow adoption for someone else as this is highly irresponsible and no reputable and responsible organisation will do this.
  • Must have an adoption contract which includes sterilisation policy and return policy.
  • Should do follow-up post adoption.
  • Meet and greet with all the family members (humans and animals) is important.
  • We believe adoption fee should include at least, the sterilisation, deworming, first vaccination , microchip and ID collar.

If it is an individual who is “re-homing” their own dogs or their friend’s, then it is not adoption and they are part of the problem by abusing the term ‘adoption’. Selling animals on Facebook goes against their community standard and should be reported to Facebook and the group admins.

Home checks:
This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the credibility of responsible animal welfare organisations. As a prospective adopter, you do not have to be afraid of a home check!  You might learn some valuable information about being a pet owner or things to look for and so you can help educate others too! You can also build a relationship with a very knowledgeable person which can come in handy in the future. Most organisations will give you time to make the necessary, reasonable changes and still adopt.

Some home check considerations includes:

  • Access to basic needs like food, water and shelter.
  • Fences, swimming pools, neighbour’s animals and surrounding areas.
  • Inspection of the other animals in the home, their general condition as well as their behaviour toward their owners and other animals.
  • Children and their attitude towards the animals.

If an organisation doesn’t do home checks, they are only a pet shop and you are supporting one of the reasons we have a massive overpopulation crisis on our hands.  No matter what they call it!

Organisations get blamed for being too strict when it comes to adoptions. If the process is too ‘hard’ for you, the commitment to the animal for their life will be impossible for you. You must remember that we are responsible for the life of a sentient being, not just an object you buy at the shop and can return or throw away when you are not happy. It is NOT JUST ABOUT A GOOD HOME, BUT ABOUT THE RIGHT PLACEMENT for the animal considering their needs and the availability of resources to meet those needs.

One popular critique is not allowing adoptions when all the animals in the yard are not sterilised. It is a standard practice among reputable rescues to require any existing animals to be sterilised. It is counterintuitive to our mission as rescuers to allow puppies, kittens, or bunnies to be homed where there are unsterilised animals. We would not have this massive overpopulation crisis if people sterilised their pets. It is about responsible pet owners.

Remember:

  • It may take some time to gain their trust, for them to adjust (3 months at least) and they might be scared at first or for extended periods of time.
  • Even if the bond is instant, you don’t know your pet yet, so take the necessary precautions around other people, children and pets and do not introduce them to everyone at once.
  • The breed should never be blamed for any issues, it is how you handle the situation.  Get some professional help from a trainer if the issues persist.

If you have any concerns or complaints regarding animal welfare organisations please contact THE PAW COMPANY via Facebook.

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin
Website: www.thebulletin.co.za

Looking to Adopt?
Search our Welfare Directory!

Breeding animals creates a problem

Breeding animals creates a problem

Image: Pixabay

Breeding creates a massive overpopulation crisis but also raise some serious ethical & Welfare concerns.
A human baby factory is a great business idea…… or did you frown upon imagining this form of exploitation? If this is not ok with humans, how can you justify breeding exploitation for other sentient beings? For this article, we will not address the agricultural breeding of livestock and game or for experimentation, as it is a whole topic on its own.  Today we will focus on breeding, whether by accident or deliberately, with domestic companion animals.

For years there has been this ethical & welfare debate regarding breeding. The animal welfare arguments usually form the basis for the debate as health should always trump looks, but there is certainly an ethical argument too. The debate has mostly taken place around the breeding of animal for experimentation and livestock production. It is important to reflect on the changes in the genetic makeup of companion animals.

THE HISTORY OF BREEDING
Even since prehistoric times, humans have kept useful animals around the area they live. Over thousands of years, the domestication of dogs specifically has led to distinct types of dogs and breeding for various types of functionalities like hunting, livestock guardians, working dogs, sighthounds, tracking dogs, vermin control, etc. Nowadays many animals have become companion animals and even though many of these functionalities are not needed, those breeds are still bred.

During the mid-19th century when kennel/breed clubs developed, breeding became more intense, and many breeds developed since then. Dogs were now not only bred for functionality but for their unique mutations like shortened legs or faces, colours or textures, etc. Dog shows became a sport where you brag about the ‘’look’’ of the animal, sometimes their skills.

The first recognition of animals as ‘’sentient beings’’ (can experience feelings) which appeared in written law was in France in 1976 and has been included in Animal Welfare Acts in many countries since then. Many of these countries have very strict laws about animal welfare and breeding and they enforce the law, but in SA there is still a lot of work to be done.

Breeders & Brokers
I define breeders as anyone who allows their pet to have litters and then either exploits them for financial gain, for status or gives them away for free or hoard them. So, fundamentally there is no difference for us between a registered breeder, backyard breeder, or puppy mill. They all exploit animals for financial gain and animals pay the price. We divide the breeders basically into 3 categories:

Back yard Breeders
They have a couple of animals and do nothing to prevent them from having litters. In other cases, pets are deliberately bred so that the offspring can be sold and it is often these cases where overbreeding occurs. Basically, irresponsible pet owners.

Puppy Mills
They mass-produce animals in poor conditions. As many as they can, back-to-back as fast as they can.

Registered Breeders
Breeders treat living beings as commodities to be genetically manipulated for profit. It is crucial to understand that being registered does not make them responsible. The process for registration is way too easy and something we are working on. These individuals usually have a particular breed and they see themselves as ‘expert’ on the breed. Many also partake in dog shows to brag. It is either love of money or love of status that drives them. Many animals have been confiscated from “registered” breeders, by animal welfare organizations. So, this piece of paper means nothing to us! If we took away the money and status, how many people will continue to breed on purpose apart from the irresponsible owners?

Some breeders claim to be responsible, but when we have a massive overpopulation crisis and killing millions of healthy animals a year (at least 2800 a day in SA), then no breeding can be responsible or ethical. The fact that purebred animals in shelters have drastically increased over the last few years to 25 % and more is a clear sign of a deeply flawed argument.

Also, read about the bad arguments they use to justify the exploitation of animals.

Another problem that helps fuel this massive overpopulation crisis are the brokers and and animal dealers.

Brokers
These are people who are engaged in re-selling animals. Like a middle-man who adds their profit. This includes pet shops and individuals. If you allow people to advertise on your platforms or at your shop, then you are also part of this problem. Even when you are advertising for your friends/family! We have had people who start an animal welfare organization, but support breeding or breed themselves and some who use it as a front for being a pet shop.

Image: Pixabay

THE ETHICAL DILEMMA
There should be animal-ethical, political, and society-wide discussions regarding the future of pedigree breeding. Here are a few ethical questions to consider:

  • How far are we allowed to interfere in the genetic makeup of animals through breeding and genetic modification?
  • Is it acceptable to manufacture a dog that fits your wish list?
  • If a baby factory is not ok when it comes to humans, why would this be ok with other living beings?
  • Even though dogs adjust to adaptation relatively easily, should these adaptations through breeding be done for the next fashion craze, and what if the craze blows over?
  • What happens to the animal when the breeder has used them up?

THE WELFARE DILEMMA
Our concerns here are divided into mainly 4 issues, but not limited to just them and in no particular order. This includes, how the animals are kept, overpopulation, health & behaviour, and bad breeding practices.

How they are kept:
Remember that the breeder mentality sees these animals as commodities and not as companions. Some of these breeders keep the animals in terrible and confined conditions and this is the part that the public does not see, but animal welfare workers witness very often.

Health & Behaviour:
Dogs are monoestrous breeders meaning that they have one breeding cycle per year, however, this can vary between breeds. If a particular bloodline is continuously bred this amplifies both the good and bad attributes of the breed.

Although they have bred the look they want, they have also bred breed-specific health issues for each and every breed. The breeders brag about how they guarantee health, but what they can guarantee is that a Weimaraner’s stomach could turn at some stage, that a Great Dane will have heart problems, that an Alsatian will struggle with hip issues, or that a Bulldog could have breathing difficulties etc.

When used as commodities, many of these animals do not experience play or affection nor are they allowed the freedom of expressing natural behaviour, which is one of the 5 freedoms of animal welfare. Pregnancy and birth in any species come with inherent risks to the mother and the fetus. Repeating the cycle increases the risks. Do you know that some breeders use what we call rape-stands?

Many breeders want the parents to “look good”, so they remove the pups relatively early, so the mom’s mammaries do not sag. Removing them early is bad for the mom and pups. Studies have shown that it is ideal for pups and kittens to stay with their moms for up to 12/13 weeks. They learn valuable behaviour from their mom and if the breeder really cared about that then they would not let them go at 8 weeks or even earlier as the latest trends show, plus the breeder can make sure they get all their vaccinations up to 12 weeks. Letting them go early saves the breeder money. These sentient beings also experience the loss of the pups/kittens as any mother would with her baby. Don’t you think that matters?

BAD BREEDING PRACTICES

How they are disposed of:
If they maybe just used the bitch for four years, what happens to her afterward? They can’t possibly keep all of them if they made a business out of it? The average lifespan of dogs is much higher than just 4 or 6 years and the cost of proper care is not cheap. You do the maths. Many of them are dumped at shelters, sometimes even moms with the last litter or while still pregnant. Animals, like some parrots, easily live up to 60 years.

Tail docking & ear cropping
Tail docking and ear-cropping are the practices of removing an area of a dog’s tail or ear. It is purely for cosmetic reasons and is considered cruelty and illegal in many countries, including SA.  In addition to being cruel and unnecessary in addition to the ill effects it has on things like posture, and body language, and how bad you affect their dog-to-dog communication.

Overbreeding, inbreeding & early breeding
Overbreeding involves breeding an animal more than their body can safely handle resulting in detrimental health effects to the mother and her puppies while contributing to the overpopulation. Especially with puppy mills, inbreeding also occurs which can be detrimental for health. Breeding animals way too early is another concern.

Pushing limits
Some breeders push the limits causing extensive health issues for the dogs they are breeding. English bulldogs are a great example of this. Their breeding is heavily restricted in many countries or even banned.

Promoting purebred superiority
When people hear dog breeding, they hear purebred dog breeding. Often a mixed breed or rescue dog is referred to as a downgrade or “mutt”.

Not properly vetting the buyers:
How extensively do you think the breeders, who see these animals as commodities, really vet their buyers? How many breeders drive to the buyer’s house? Virtual home checks are not acceptable for me and follow-ups are crucial if you care about these animals. I believe animals are already in the wrong hands when they are from a breeder, so how can the wrong hands determine what is best for this animal?

Breeding animals creates a problem

Redesigned dog breeds
Dr. Karen Becker a veterinarian who understands the overpopulation crisis and genetics has written about how breeding has deformed once healthy dog breeds. She looks at 8 breeds specifically including what we call the poster child of bad breeding namely the English Bulldog. These are not the only ones though.

“Breeders may consider them ‘improvements,’ but when you take a closer look at how they’re affecting the dogs’ quality of life and longevity, but they’re anything but! Before humans began their “remodelling” project and playing god, dogs like the Bull Terrier, Boxer, English Bulldog, and Dachshund were well-proportioned, generally healthy, and physically active, but not anymore.

Over the years, several breeds have been deliberately fashioned to exaggerate certain physical traits at the expense of their health, longevity, and quality of life. Today’s German Shepherd Dog, with his sloped back and incoordination, is no longer the canine athlete he once was; the modern-day Pug comes with an extensive list of brachycephalic-related disorders that make his health a constant concern.Breeding physically resilient, healthy dogs has been replaced with breeding for the sole purpose of attaining twisted beauty pageant awards, and breeding for aesthetics has cost us the health of beloved breeds.”

As a veterinarian, Dr. Karen has seen first-hand the problems created when dogs are bred exclusively to achieve specific features, without concern for their health, mobility, or quality of life. It is deeply disturbing that, with all we know about the suffering these animals endure, breeders persist in exaggerating their dogs’ physical characteristics, even if it means sacrificing their health, and national kennel clubs condone it.

A note on genetics.  Anyone who knows anything about breeding knows that forcing two dogs that “look good”, to mate (whether they have papers or not) is not a guarantee of a good litter. Stellar genetics needs testing and an understanding of genetics. It is about bloodlines, not looking nice. Often an excuse for the exploitation of animals through breeding is that they care about the future of the breed.

I don’t buy into that narrative. If you are not doing genetic testing, behavioural assessments, keeping pups with mom for 12 weeks, and a whole bunch of other responsible actions then you do not really care about the future of that breed. If you crop ears or dock tails then you also do not care about the animals because it is cruel and unnecessary.

I agree with the Science and Dogs blogger, Caen Elegans, who concludes:

“No dog breed has ever been improved by the capricious and arbitrary decision that a shorter or longer or flatter or bigger or smaller or curlier ‘whatever’ is better. Condemning a dog to a lifetime of suffering for the sake of looks is not an improvement; it is torture.”

We domesticated these animals and created this problem, so it is now our moral duty to fix it and do better for these animals who do not have a voice in the matter. This animal welfare issue needs to be addressed through education, sterilization campaigns, and stricter breeding regulations.

What you can do?

  • Sterilize your pets.
  • Keep them safe in your yard.
  • Micro-chip them & put a tag on their collar.
  • Don’t support ”free to good home” ads.
  • Don’t support breeders of any kind or brokers including pet shops that sell live animals.
  • Adopt don’t shop (without physical home checks and sterilization their contracts it is not adoption, even if the organization is registered).
  • If you are familiar with the breeder, then invite them to a shelter with you.
  • Educate others.

Capitalizing on the life of an animal, especially since they don’t have the luxury of a choice, for personal and financial gain is one of the most selfish acts and causes many to lose their lives. Asking people nicely to consider the well-being of these animals doesn’t seem to have quite the effect and for that reason, we are working on legislation to put an end to the unnecessary killing of healthy animals because there are just not enough homes.

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin

Looking to adopt?
Search our Animal Welfare directory!

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3

Pet

Image: Pixabay

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3

Your pets can be healthier and happier in 2024 with some or all of these pawsome pet new year’s resolutions!

A new year brings new goals and more than 300 days of opportunity for you and your pet to bond, develop healthier habits and discover new ways to live a full life. Your pet can live a better tomorrow with your help. An important first step is to avoid becoming overwhelmed thinking you need to make big changes overnight. Baby steps in the right direction are the way to go. The important thing is to make a plan and move steadily forward.

Re-publication: Originally published 18 January 2023

CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT & A SPACE THAT IS ONLY THEIRS

  • Keep toxic substances like medications, cleaning or gardening products, alcohol and toxic plants out of reach.
  • Just because a pet shop or vet sells something, doesn’t make it safe. Buy safe bedding and toys made of natural material without strong smells.
  • Clean their food and water bowls daily. We prefer stainless steel bowls to plastic.
  • Be careful about cleaning products, non-stick pans, air fresheners, or perfumes and candles you use that can affect your pets.
  • Resolve to take the time to safely secure your dog in the car on all car trips, regardless of the length of the journey. Never leave them alone in a car!
  • Start firework preparation before the festivities catch you unprepared.
  • Secure your yard so it is safe and so that pets can’t escape or get poisoned from the street.
  • Keep your cats safe in your yard.
  • Make sure there is proper shelter from all the elements.
  • Have a safe space in your home that belongs to them.

CREATE A PET-FRIENDLY GARDEN

Since our pets spend the most time at home or in the garden, we should do our best to build them safe, entertaining places to rest and play. Make sure all potentially harmful plants or substances are out of reach. Create some nice hiding places and vertical territory for your pets to enjoy and explore. Learn more about zoopharmacognosy, which allows your pet to self-select remedies that best soothe them, especially during periods of anxiety.

OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT FOR PET EMERGENCIES OR GET PET INSURANCE

Be better prepared for the unexpected. This is a healthy habit and can save you a lot of worries later. Pet owners can now choose from a variety of pet insurance plans that meet their needs and fit every budget.

WRITE A BUCKET LIST FOR SENIOR PETS

What do you think your senior pet wants to do before crossing the Rainbow Bridge? You can make the last phase of your pet’s life memorable by compiling and completing a list of activities that will have their tail wagging and your heart soaring. Prepare in advance to navigate the Rainbow Bridge journey and making the tough but kind decision to euthanize your pet.

Pet

Image by The Paw Company

DO SOME COMMUNITY/PHILANTHROPY WORK FOR ANIMALS IN NEED

  • adopt or foster a pet
  • donate to a rescue or shelter
  • donate pet products like beds, towels, bowls, leashes, collars or food
  • volunteer at a shelter
  • say thank you to rescuers (and a vet)
  • take a shelter dog for a walk
  • sign a few petitions to help us save more animals
  • share lost and found animal posts to improve their chances of being reunited with their owners
  • join a specific cause like “stop fireworks”, “say no to the circus” or sterilizations campaigns

BALANCE YOUR MOOD (ENERGY)

Animals can pick up on our energies. We see how sensitive animals are to our emotional state. They get excited when we are or try to comfort you if you are down by climbing on your lap. If you’re continuously agitated or angry when you come home, this could negatively affect your pet’s emotional state. Maybe a good New Year’s resolution idea this year is to learn how to have balanced energy before coming home to see your furry family. Even though a walk might do you good, maybe not attempt it on a day that you are angry or frustrated or not in the mood because you might ruin the experience for your pet.

Keep in mind that barking, humping and digging for example are natural behaviours, but don’t allow your pet to do things if it frustrates you as this will not be good for either of you. There are alternative and healthy ways to deal with such natural behaviours.

FIND A GOOD PET SITTER

Identify what type of pet sitter service you need. Start your search as soon as possible, ask for referrals and interview potential sitters. For us, a big factor (apart from being trustworthy) is someone who has training in pet first aid (behaviour and grooming are a bonus) and who has professional documentation (forms and terms & conditions). List your pet sitter at your vet.

ADOPT DON’T SHOP

If you are planning to get a new pet, please do your homework in advance about the specie and their needs. It is important that the animal and breed you choose fit with your family’s energy levels and lifestyle. Please do not support breeders who fuel this massive overpopulation crisis, so opt to adopt from reputable organizations that include home checks, a contract and sterilization.

Pet

Image by The Paw Company

LIVE KINDER

Only visit True Sanctuaries and say no to those that offer animal rides, interaction, walk with, pet, or taking of photos with the animals.

  • Use your birthday to raise donations for a reputable animal shelter by asking friends and families to donate or let your wedding registry be donations to an animal shelter.
  • Organize a community clean-up because plastic and other trash are harmful to the environment and animals.
  • Support the life in your backyard like the small ecosystems, and animals and insects that live around your home.
  • Say no to pesticides and poisons because poisoning rats and other animals influences the natural food chain.

Choose to wear it kind by buying and wearing clothing ethically. Avoid leather, fur and wool and try sustainable, animal-friendly alternatives because their lives matter! Don’t buy products that are tested on animals. You can find the approved beauty brands on the Humane Guide.

EDUCATE & ADVOCATE

This is one we really want you to help us with! Try and share an educational post about animals regularly to help others learn more about animal care and welfare. Advocate for the voiceless and the unheard, especially about topics like breeding, selling, petting farms, the circus and fireworks.

FINALLY, CREATE A PLAN

Almost done. You have your pet and you have decided to make some pet-positive changes in the new year. You even have some great ideas now for pawsome resolutions. To execute these resolutions though, there needs to be detailed goals and an easy plan to follow every day. It is important to create a plan that you can stick to. Consider asking a friend to check in with and make sure you are keeping to those resolutions. Maybe start a calendar and write down the days and the goals. The most important part…..get excited!

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for your pet? Are you sticking to them?

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

Source: The Bulletin