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The Financial Benefit of Keeping Pets Out of Shelters

Anyone who has ever welcomed a pet into their home understands the value that animals offer to their families. Many people assume that most pets are brought to shelters because of behavioral issues, family changes, allergies or simply due to their caregiver’s lack of understanding about what it takes to care for an animal. Pets certainly end up in shelters for these reasons, however, a startling number of pets end up in shelters because their heartbroken families cannot afford to care for them.

A Common Scenario

The sudden loss of a job, divorce, injury or death of a family member can all lead to financial havoc. During times of stress and grief, it’s the pets in our lives that can provide just the comfort and unconditional love that we need. Unfortunately, when faced with a crisis, many families are forced to make difficult choices, and the cost of feeding a dog or cat can become so overwhelming that families feel that they have no alternative but to turn to a shelter.

Fostering a pet, or finding a new permanent home are two options for pet owners who are unable to care for their pet, but in reality, shelters have far more resources than most families who are trying to re-home a pet and are better equipped at ensuring that each pet ends up in safe hands. It’s a devastating decision for most families. Fortunately, there is another option that is far less costly for shelters, and far less traumatizing for pets and their families.

The True Cost of Sheltering and Re-homing a Pet

Every time that an animal enters the shelter environment, no matter how healthy they are, there are specific costs incurred. Beyond intake vaccinations and medical exams and lab work, animals who reside in shelters often receive preventative treatments to avoid infection from parasites and illnesses that may result from many animals living in close proximity. All of the costs associated with sheltering and re-homing a pet quickly add up, especially when you consider factors such as the marketing required to find a new home, screening potential families and administrative fees.

Along with the financial cost, sheltered pets also pay a hefty emotional toll. Animal shelters do their best to care for pets, provide training, a comfortable place to sleep and to enrich their lives during a stay, but nothing replaces a home and family. If you have a pet, you’ve probably had to provide comfort at some point because of unexpected loud noises, changes around the house and other startling conditions that can be stressful for anyone! Imagine how often pets in new and confined spaces experience extreme stress. In some cases, this emotional cost translates into even more financial cost, when pets end up getting sick or on anti-anxiety medication.

A More Cost-Effective Alternative

Pet food can get pricey, but for just $4.00 a month, we can provide pet food for a family in need, while they work toward getting back on their feet. By partnering with “human” food banks, leveraging relationships with pet stores, pet food suppliers, corporate donors and other organizations while utilizing the resources of dedicated volunteers, our team is able to help thousands of struggling families to keep their pets at home.

Through outreach to those who might be considering taking their pet to a shelter, we can prevent pet homelessness, reduce pet shelter overcrowding and allow pets to continue to bring love and joy into their homes. It’s a great alternative and a realistic one, and it’s already making a huge impact on pets and their humans in Colorado. If you’d like to hear more about the benefits of keeping pets out of shelters or would like to learn how you can help, please contact us for more details.


New Year Resolutions For Your Pet – Pawsitively Perfect 2018

Happy New Year!

Making a resolution for the new year is no small feat. Less than half of Americans actually make a resolution and less than half of all resolutions are maintained past June. What is it that makes it so difficult to establish and follow through with choices that will improve our lives? Some say it’s a matter of money, some say it’s a matter of time, some say they feel guilty putting themselves first. But, what if you could make a resolution that was technically not for your benefit, but for someone else’s yet, in turn, benefited you both? You can! Make a resolution to take the best possible care of your pet and you will both reap the rewards. With that as your overarching goal, here are some ideas for bringing that goal to fruition.

1. Organized activities and enrichment opportunities

Just as people do, pets crave routine and structure. They like to know when meals will be served when bathroom breaks will be taken, when walks will be taken, and when it’s safe to lie down and take a snooze. Many pet owners, however, do not think to schedule a time for their furry friends to play and socialize. Pets need outlets for their energy and opportunities to interact with other pets and people. Wonder why Fido chewed up your new boat shoes? Wonder why Whiskers whizzed in your suitcase? It’s possible that they are bored. Give your pets a positive outlet for their energy and curiosity by trying some of these activities:

  • Play times – just like children, pets LOVE to play. But how often do you see children who want to play alone? Not often; and pets feel the same way. More than anything, your pet wants YOU to play with them. You are your pet’s best friend and vice-versa, and who doesn’t want their best friend to be their primary playmate? Every few hours, take 10-15 minutes to pal around with your pet. Toss a ball or play tug-of-war with Fido. Wave a feather or blow catnip bubbles for Whiskers. Just do any activity that your BFF loves to do with you.
  • Play dates – To be honest, Whiskers is probably not going to be enthusiastic about a play date with your coworker’s cat. Fido, however, would most likely be thrilled to get together with one or two neighborhood canines for a romp in the park. Dogs are social beings and need lots of practice and opportunities to engage with other dogs. Not only do they release pent-up energy, they also learn how to interact with and behave around their peers. Make sure to introduce your dog to other dogs slowly and on neutral turf. A dog in his own yard may feel territorial and his visitor may feel unsure of which areas he is welcome in. Be certain to provide plenty of toys so there are fewer chances they compete for a certain toy. Also, do not leave your dog alone with a new dog. Your dog needs you present for reassurance and as a safe haven should he become scared or shy.
  • Enrichment activities – Even if your pet has plenty of play time, he needs opportunities to use and expand his brain power. Just as learning a new language, working a crossword puzzle, or assembling a desk from a Scandinavian superstore challenges our human brains, enrichment activities for pets offer them ways to make connections and use their reasoning abilities. Find a dog treat puzzle for Fido or help him learn some agility stunts such as jumping small hurdles, navigating a play tunnel, or weaving through poles. Hide treats for Whiskers in a puzzle feeder or create a safe outdoor space where she can chatter at the birds and stalk through the plants.

2. Create a home-grooming routine

Keeping your pets in good health doesn’t just mean getting them vaccinated, feeding them a balanced diet, and making sure they get plenty of exercise, it also means keeping them groomed regularly and properly. Grooming can be a challenge for many pet owners, though. While some pets love being bathed and brushed, others (note – almost every cat) run and hide when they hear the bathtub run or see the brush in your hand. The best way to get your pets to feel comfortable, or simply tolerate, grooming is to start when they are young (or new to you) and have a routine so your pets can anticipate your next move and not panic. A few tips for your safety and theirs are to:

  • Keep the grooming session short – Bathing, brushing, nail-clipping, and tooth-brushing all in one fell swoop may be overwhelming and stressful for your pet. One or two of these activities in a row is the most you should expect your pet to calmly sit through.
  • Stick to a regular routine – If brushing or tooth-brushing needs to be done every day, do it at the same time every day. Try scheduling a time right after your pet eats breakfast or right before everyone turns in for the night.
  • Praise your pet for his compliance – Being still is not easy for most pets, so offer yours a treat after a grooming session so they feel rewarded and loved.
  • Be willing to alter the routine – Is Whiskers super active before bedtime? If so, that’s not the best time to groom her. Does Fido like to nap right after breakfast? Let him lie.

3. Create a budget for your pets that includes emergency funds

We all budget for our pets’ regular vet visits, medications, food, and other necessities, but it’s not until Fido eats a super-sized chocolate bar and needs to have his stomach pumped that we realize we should have budgeted for emergencies. It goes without saying that your pet will take at least one trip to the emergency vet during its lifetime. If your pet is high-energy, excessively curious, or a talented escape artist, you may even average one visit per year. Since a bill for the emergency vet can run two to three times as much as your regular vet bill, you don’t want to get caught unprepared. Just as you set aside emergency funds for yourself, your kids, or your parents, keep one for your pets so you never have to choose between overdrawing your account or making your pet suffer. Pet insurance is a terrific option, and we have one to recommend! Healthy Paws Pet Insurance will donate $50 for every new family that signs up.

4. Watch your tone 

Pets do not understand our words. They understand our tone, our inflection, and the repeated sounds we make. Yelling during sports games, shouting at one another, and being overly loud or animated when addressing your pets can make them stressed or scared. For your pets’ sake (and for everyone in your home), lower your voice and speak calmly to create an inviting and pleasant home.

Here’s to you and your pets in 2018!

Source for resolution statistics: https://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/