Pet Ownership

Benefits of Owning a Pet

People who spend time with domestic animals can experience some of the immediate benefits pets can bring. It is important to take into account all aspects of having a pet before bringing one home.

1. They provide companionship: Whether they’re furry, scaly, shelled or feathered, pets can be excellent companions. They are there for you after a long day.
2. They can help you make friends: People struggling to make friends may benefit from pet ownership. Pets can be great conversation topics and can help break the ice.
3. They encourage exercise: People who have pets that need regular exercise, like dogs, may find that they can benefit from the extra time outside and depending on breed, they may love joining you for a run.
4. They give a mental health boost: Animals can have positive effects on mental health. Studies have shown that pets can increase people’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure, by 300%.

Checklist: Is a Pet Right for Me?

1. Are you allowed to have a pet?
You should not adopt a pet if your rental does not allow it. Many people think they can get away with hiding their pets, but when they get caught, they either have to give up their animals or find a new place to live.
2. What kind of animal makes sense for your situation?
Your dream pet may be a husky puppy but that’s probably not the best choice if you live in a studio apartment. You should be realistic about the kinds of pets you want and which are actually feasible for your lifestyle.
3. Can you afford to care for an animal?
Pets can be expensive; you need to look at your finances and spending habits before committing to adoption. You can prepare for pet ownership by researching insurance policies and having emergency funds if any medical problems should occur.
4. Do you have the time?
Caring for your pets involves daily care, attention and responsibility. If you are away from home for long hours you may want to look into hiring a dog-walker/pet-sitter or adopting a low maintenance pet.
5. Are you prepared for the years of commitment?
Caring for a pet is a long-term commitment that you need to plan for. People typically view pets as members of their family, and having to relinquishing them to the shelter because of poor planning can be a heartbreaking experience for both you and your pets.

Keeping Pets Safe in the Hot Summer Months

The summer months can be uncomfortable - even dangerous - for pets and people. It's difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone thick humidity, but things really get tough in areas that are hit with the double blow of intense heat and storm-caused power outages, sometimes with tragic results. 

We can help you keep your pets safe and cool this summer. Follow our tips for helping everyone in your family stay healthy and comfortable when the heat is on (and even if the power isn't). 

These tips will help to keep pets out of harm's way:
  • Limit exercise on hot days (limit to early morning or evening hours only);
  • Keep pets away from asphalt, which heats up in the summer sun;
  • Provide ample shade and water at all times;
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke, which include heaving, panting, glazed eyes, dizziness, and vomiting. Very young and elderly pets are particularly susceptible to heatstroke;
  • Never leave a pet in a parked car, not even momentarily;
  • Watch the humidity. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels;
  • Cool your pet inside and out. Whip up a batch of quick an easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs (or another favorite food). Provide your pets with a cooling body wrap, best or mat by soaking these products in cool water. You can also purchase a mobile, indoor pool for pets to keep them cool while having fun!

Pets and Fireworks

The Fourth of July, and other events where fireworks are present, are exciting and exhilarating events for people but not at all enjoyable for animals. The sudden loud noises and flashing lights can be disorienting and frightening for pets and when in close proximity can even pose greater risks to an animal's well-being.

Although for most people, completely separating their pets from the noise of fireworks in their city or community may be impossible, it is possible to make the situation easier for your pets. The Humane Society of the United States offers some very good tips; here are just a few:

1. As often as is possible, keep your pets away from fireworks. Instead of bringing them to an event that includes a fireworks display, consider leaving them with a family member, friend or at home where they are comfortable.
2. If your pet is continually frightened or exhibits altered behavior due to fireworks, consider taking them to your veterinarian. They may have medication, techniques or additional resources to help your pet.
3. Outdoor activities that include fireworks typically take place during summer and include hotter temperatures which can put your pet at risk for heat stroke. If not necessary, protect your pet by keeping them away from fireworks displays.
4. Finally, all pets should have collars and ID tags, including full-time indoor pets. This will help identify your pet if they happen to become frightened and run away. Microchipping your pet is another option to consider as well.

For more tips on how to protect your pet from fireworks, visit the Humane Society's website.