May is National Pet Month
May is National Pet Month which shines a light on responsible pet ownership and the joys pets bring to our lives.
In honour of National Pet Month Jessica Brody from Our Best Friends has written an article for us to help encourage potential pet owners to choose one of the millions of dogs and cats in shelters across the country as their next pet, in the hope that it will encourage folks to adopt a loving animal.
Here's her advice.
Getting Ready for a New Four-Legged Friend
Like any normal person, you’ve probably wasted a few hours of this week on the internet watching videos of cats napping on keyboards or dogs barking at mirrors. So how about some live entertainment? Besides the amusement, a pet is a boundless source of love and affection, making an excellent addition to your family. It is a lot of responsibility, however, so make sure you find the right critter and are ready to bring it home. Here are some tips.
Have an Allergy Check
First off, don’t get an animal that’s going to make you sick. If you don’t think it can happen, have a look at this sad story from the proud owner of a rescue dog who brought the fella home only to find himself sniffling, sneezing, and itching nonstop even though he never had problems with pets in the past.
Not all animal allergens are the same, according to the experts at Vetinfo, and you can have an adverse reaction to cats but not dogs, or vice-versa. Moreover, as in the story above, your symptoms may not appear immediately but only after you’ve bonded with your new buddy. The best thing to do is have an allergy test before it’s too late.
Find a Breed That Fits
One factor that’s likely to narrow down your choices is how much space you have. If your property has a huge lawn surrounded by a chain-link fence, then anything short of a llama is fair game. However, more modest dwellings require something that won’t feel too cramped. Don’t worry, there are plenty of options.
Small yards are fine for a number of dog breeds, some of which would even be happy to share an apartment. These include Yorkshire terriers, spaniels, and Chihuahuas. As their name implies, indoor cats like ragdolls and British shorthairs can thrive in a small space, and there are always little beasts like hamsters and gerbils if you’re really limited.
Research Their Behavior
Imagine you have a cat or dog. What are you doing with them? If you’re hoping for a spirited game of fetch, you might be disappointed with a pointer when they don’t bring the ball back. You’re probably looking for a retriever. How about a little ball of fur that sits on your lap while you read? That would be a Persian cat, well known for their love of snuggling.
Highly affectionate breeds are just the type for those struggling with depression or addiction as spending time with animals is wonderful therapy, according to CBC.ca. "Animals don't judge. You don't have to worry about anything. They are a safe place to speak and to share your feelings,” said one researcher. Furthermore, their presence reduces stress hormones while boosting production of the “feel good” chemical oxytocin.
Set a Schedule
You’re going to have to make room in your routine, no matter what type of pet you settle on because they all need to be cared for. Set aside specific times in the morning, evening, and weekends for activities like exercise, grooming, and playtime. Bonding is the most important thing of all, especially when you first bring your pet home, and even more so if it’s a rescue.
Having lived on the streets and in shelters, these dogs have been under a lot of stress and suffer from fear and anxiety. Keep their arrival low-key and introduce them to every member of the family and room in the house. You’ll have to gain their trust as well, but it’ll be fun for both of you as this involves a lot of cuddling, playing fetch, and belly rubs.
Get Your Home Ready
First off, remove anything from the floor that might end up in their mouth. This includes cords, cables, and choking hazards. Remember that cats like to climb, so remove decorations from on top of cabinets to make sure they don’t come tumbling down when your new tabby heads up to her new perch to play.
You may have your hands full for a while, but you won’t regret it. There’s nothing like a furry friend to brighten your day.