So what are the common reasons why pets are returned to shelters at any point in time? Many new pet owners became overwhelmed with the costs of a pet, health issues (for the pet and/or the owners), disobedience, destructive behaviors, barking, hyper activity, and aggression. That’s a lot of reasons.
How can we ensure our new family member will be a pleasant member of the family? Let's go through the reasons.
First, let’s make sure you can afford a new pet. According to the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine, the average cost for first-year dog owners was $3,085. That’s basic supplies, food, vet bills, etc. Depending on the dog and situations that may occur the cost could be more or less than their average cost.
Next concern is human (and pet) health issues: I’m sure everyone has or knows someone with some sort of allergy weather it is to dust, grass, or even pets. Some people have allergies to pets, including hair or dandruff. If you are thinking about getting a pet, make sure no one in the house has allergies to animals and if they do, that the allergy can be controlled. Animals can also share parasites with humans (hookworms and tapeworms). We recommend bringing your new furry family member for a wellness exam and/or running a fecal analysis ensuring there are no intestinal parasites causing problems. Also, keep in mind animals can become ill or emergency can occur just as they can with us.
To help ease things for everyone, give your dog lots of attention while you are home and give them lots of exercise before leaving. Also, having a toy (a non-destructible) in the kennel will help keep them distracted while away. This may not solve the entire problem but it will help. Crate training is another key piece for barking. Training your dog that good dogs don't bark often will help decreasing the amount of barking in the future. Also, please keep the dog breed in mind when getting a dog. Some breeds are bred to be energetic and have a job to do.
Lastly, aggression; if you are afraid your new family member is being aggressive, closely monitor their behaviors. Pay attention, get to know what triggers (other dogs, children, etc.) the aggressive behavior(s). Find a way to avoid your dog’s triggers. Talk to a veterinarian, professional behavior expert, trainer to expert help on the situation. Aggression is commonly a result of poor training and exposure. Be careful if you feel your dog is aggressive.
Doing your homework and understanding pet behaviors before you add a new family member is the best way to prevent a new family member having to be surrendered. Best wishes and happy holidays!