With roughly 7.6 million animals ending up in shelters every year, the task of reducing the number of homeless pets may seem daunting. However, there are many steps that you can take to help keep pets in secure homes with the families that love them. Below are eight great ways to reduce the number of homeless pets in your community.
1) Support your local pet food bank.
Supporting your local pet food bank will help keep pets with the families who love them. There are multiple ways that you can offer support, including the following:
- Make a cash donation
- Volunteer your time
- Donate pet food
- Host a pet food drive
- Purchase pet products that support your local pet food bank
2) Foster pets for your local animal rescue or shelter.
Fostering pets for your local animal shelter or rescue offers many benefits for pets and pet owners alike. In addition to saving animals’ lives, you help to increase the likelihood of permanent adoption by exposing foster animals to friends, family members, and other potential owners. Additionally, fostering is a simple process and foster families often receive assistance with medical care.
3) Support organizations that help cover veterinary costs.
When your pet is suffering from an illness or injury, your primary goal is to ensure that your pet receives the proper medical care quickly. Unfortunately, many pet owners find themselves unable to cover the costs of mounting veterinary bills. The good news is that there are some great organizations devoted to helping pet owners cover the cost of vet bills. By supporting organizations that help with veterinary bills, you will help keep pets at home with the families that love them. On the Front Range in Colorado, we especially love PetAid and Peace, Love, & Paws.
4) Support providers who offer spay and neuter services.
This step is especially important in low-income or rural areas where pet owners are more likely to avoid spaying and neutering pets because of the associated costs. In Colorado, organizations such as Spay Today, Dumb Friends League, CAWL, and PawsCo devote time and energy to providing solutions to low-income pet owners.
5) Microchip your pets.
The microchipping process is quick and virtually painless for dogs and cats. The procedure typically costs less than $50 and can be undertaken at your local veterinary clinic. There are many reasons to microchip your pet, including the following:
- 52% of lost dogs with a microchip are returned to owners versus only 22% of dogs without a chip
- 38% of lost cats with a microchip are reunited with owners versus only 2% of cats without a chip
- Microchips offer permanent identification that cannot slide off or be removed
6) Train and socialize your pets to coexist with people and other animals.
Exposing your pet to other people and animals at a young age will help your pet develop a trusting, non-aggressive attitude. If you notice any problems with your pet, they should be addressed quickly to prevent negative long-term habits from forming.
7) Purchase pet insurance.
Pet emergencies and illnesses are unpredictable and can be costly. Pet owners can expect to pay an average of $800 to $1,500 for unexpected medical care for pets. Purchasing pet insurance can alleviate the strain of unexpected medical costs and can prevent your family from being ripped apart and financially drained. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance is an example of a pet insurance provider that will donate $50 to Colorado Pet Pantry with each policy purchased.
8) Allow pets in rental properties.
72% of renters own pets. Unfortunately, many of these pet owners have difficulty securing pet-friendly rental housing. Many landlords have policies that forbid renters to have pets, and owners who do allow pets often impose weight and breed restrictions. If you own rental properties or if you know someone who specializes in rental housing, you can become an agent of change by encouraging owners to allow pets.
There are things that you can do as a pet owner or an animal advocate to make a positive impact on animal livelihood in your community. By following the eight steps above, you can help reduce the number of homeless pets in our country.