Parker County Today PCT June 2018 - Page 43

our advice: ASK DR. CATE Vet Rap by Dr. Ryan Cate Tips for Adopting a Pet to Help with the Summertime Blues Question: Our family is considering adding a pet this summer. Is there anything we need to consider if we are planning to adopt one from the local shelter? breeds. Make sure that you can welcome a new pet into your home before you bring it home. • Is this a good time to adopt a new pet? If you haven’t gone on vacation yet, wait until you get home. Some shelter pets have abandonment anxiety, which could be heightened if you board them soon after bringing them into your home. Small children who might not understand enough to be care- ful with a new pet are a consideration for small breed dogs and pocket pets like hamsters or mice, which are also a salmonella risk. • Do you have what your new pet needs in your living arrangement? Consider animal size, activity level and bark- ing when adding a new pet. Is your home and yard large enough for the animal you have chosen? Some dog breeds need exercise and room to roam. Other breeds have a tendency to bark a lot, which might be a problem in close quarters like a townhome or apartment community. Research the breed you are considering and make sure if you’re a laid- back person you’re getting an equally laid-back companion, for example. • Are you committed to being a responsible pet owner? Following applicable laws is just part of what’s necessary to be a responsible pet owner. Leash laws, immunizations, regularly scheduled vet visits, spay or neutering, microchip- ping, and emptying the litter box, are just some of the things you need to consider. While it’s nice to give your new pet love, companionship and a healthy diet, that’s not the total- ity of what a responsible pet owner gives to their animals. • Do you have a plan for vacation or work trip care? A friend, a relative or a trusted boarding facility is necessary if you are going out of town. Make sure and budget for these items ahead of time. • Do you know how long your pet will be with you? A pet is a long-term everyday commitment, and if you’ve planned and thought it through, it can be one of the greatest addi- tions to your family. The science even backs it up. In a study covered in Time Magazine, dog owners had a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease as well as other causes than non-dog owners. So, do the research, choose an animal that will check off all the boxes and go get him or her. If you want to choose a specific breed of dog or cat, has more than 17,000 animals from shelters all across the coun- try searchable by breed and location. Or just visit our local shelter and see if one of the furry faces looks just right for you and your family. Answer: Adding a pet, regardless of where it comes from, is a big decision. I do applaud your willingness to adopt from a shelter. During the summer, the shelters are full and there are many different animals looking for forever homes. In fact, Pet Appreciation Week, as well as Adopt a Shelter Cat Day are both in June, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. When considering adding a new member to your family, first look at what kind of pet would best fit your lifestyle. How much time do you have to spend training? How much room do you have? Does anyone in your family have aller- gies to consider? How much time do you have for grooming, cleanup and feeding? Can you afford not just the food, but the medical care of a new pet? These are just some of the questions you need to think about before you attend that adoption event. Many people don’t have a plan before bringing a new pet home and unfortunately some of those same animals are returned to the shelter after just a few weeks. A study by the American Humane Association found that one in 10 animals were not in the home six months after adoption. Having a pet can be a wonderful experience for your family. Having a plan for success can ease the transition both for the pet and its owners. Here are some things to consider about adopting a shelter pet. • Why do you want to add a pet to your family? Many people don’t even consider why. Adoption on the fly because you walked by an adoption event at the mall can sometimes be a big mistake. Some pets can be with you for decades. • How much time do you have for a pet? Animals have needs for food, exercise, water and companionship every day, not just on the days you’re not busy. • Can you afford a pet? Depending on the city you live in, a l X[HX^HH\]Z\Y Z[[\\^H܈]]\[ܛZ[ ]\H[\[Y\]ZXK(Y[H][\[Z[H[H[[[ˈ\H[B\܈H[[O[H][H\[[ۈ][Hۙ\[ ][H\H[وX\\ \\[B؛[\YYX[[Y\[Y\[][\[\]܋B]H\\H[[ۈ؛[\][[\[[X[[[H^XY[\Y\[][˂([[H][]HH]Y[H\H[[X[H[ Bܙ[\\Y[[][]Y\]H\X[ۜۈ]˂YHY[ۙ\&H[\[HXY\^YH\Z[