Responsible Animal GuardianDo You Know What It Takes to Be a Responsible Animal Guardian?

We bring you 6 tips looking at some of the responsibilities involved in adopting a new pet, especially if he/she is rescued.

Committing to adding a new furry family member before you’re ready can be a tremendous disservice, both to the dog (or cat) and to you. Here are a few questions to ask before adopting a new pet. Make sure you’re being a responsible pet guardian during May Responsible Animal Guardian Month,

1. Got Allergies?

Before bringing a furry friend home, it’s important to ask: can everyone in the house be around them safely? Are you or your family allergic to pet hair or pet dander? If so, how serious is the allergic reaction? Is there a pill or a shot you can take to mitigate the symptoms?In short, will this new pet cause you or your family physical discomfort just by being around them? If you don’t know, ask your doctor for allergy tests for your household before adopting a dog. If any of the tests come up positive, forego the adoption; at least until you can find a permanent solution for keeping those allergies at bay.

Responsible Animal Guardian2. Population Control: Will You Spay or Neuter This Dog?
As Doris Day used to remind us, it’s important to help control the pet population by having your pet spayed or neutered. There are so many unwanted dogs out there already that you really shouldn’t bring any more dogs into the world unless you know for certain that they will be loved and taken care of. Additionally, there are health benefits. Spaying your female dogs helps prevent infections in their uterus which can cause serious pain and shorten their lifespan. Similarly, neutering your male dogs helps prevent testicular cancer and certain prostate issues. So, is the rescue dog you’re adopting already spayed or neutered? If not, do you have the money to have the procedure done? The operation can cost up to $200, though you might be able to find low cost spay/neuter services in your area with a little research. If you’re adopting an adult dog, it should probably be done as soon as possible after you get them. If the rescue is a puppy, veterinarians typically recommend the procedure between 5 and 9 months. Talk to your vet to find out about the best time for your rescue dog.

3. Oh, My – Will He Grow Into Those Paws?

Responsible Animal GuardianIf you’re adopting a puppy, as an animal guardian, keep in mind that they’re going to get bigger. If you don’t know the dog’s specific background, it can be hard to know exactly how big, but if you do a bit of research and ask your veterinarian, you should be able to get at least a rough estimate. With that knowledge, you can assess if you have room for the adult-sized version of this dog in your home?The bigger the dog, the more room they’ll need to roam around, rest, and get exercise. If you live in a small apartment, a large dog is probably not suitable. Unless you reside on a big piece of land, plan on taking your large fido to a dog park where they can run around freely at least once a week.

4. Do You Have a Dog With High Emotional Needs?
Do you have a pocket pet that needs close comforting? Aside from their physical needs, dogs’ emotional needs attribute to their quality of life. Many dogs may feel shy or scared with the sudden changes in environment – going from their previous home, to the shelter where they spent much of their time locked in a cage, to your home can be jarring.Furthermore, taking care of the emotional needs of a rescued dog with a difficult past is often more involving and more intense than that of a regular dog. They may have abandonment issues, or issues from being mistreated or abused by their previous owner. Be prepared to help them get through trusting, antisocial or even violence issues. This takes time. Also keep in mind that their past and personality may not be fully understood at the time of adoption. There may be trigger(s) that can cause your pet to freak out or even become aggressive. Be prepared to invest time and effort to get to know your rescue dog and overcome any personality issues they may have. Until then, it’s not advised to leave the dog alone with your small children. Introduce your pet to your family members slowly and gradually, make sure the dog feels safe and loved, and be there to step in if needed.

Responsible Animal Guardian5. All in the Family?If you have other pets, there’s no telling how the new dog will react to them or vice versa. The best thing to do is to introduce the pets to one another on some sort of neutral ground – a dog park, outside of your house, or a neighbor’s house. Let them get to know each other before forcing them to live together. Be cautious and mindful about leaving them alone together, at least at first.

6. Pets Need Activity and Attention – Can You Do It? All dogs, especially rescue dogs, need love and care. If you leave them alone in an empty house most of the day or providing little to no interaction with them, they’ll get lonely. Overtime, it can lead to behavior problems such as excessive barking, destroying their surroundings, and even trying to escape.If you’re going to adopt a dog, be willing to give them the love and affection they require and deserve. Bonding with your pets can be one of the most rewarding feelings to experience both for you and your fur baby. This can happen during cuddle sessions, play time, walks, and family activities.

Responsible Animal GuardianParting Note:
Adopting any dog, but particularly a rescue dog, is a big responsibility. As long as you are emotionally, physically, and financially prepared to take it on, it can be one of the best decisions of your life!

As always, Full Circle Vet Care is there for you when you take on the role of being a responsible animal guardian. Your pets’ health care is our utmost concern. So when you have questions – give us a call at 970-587-5140.

Other articles that may be of interest – Can We Empty the Shelters on Adopt a Shelter Pet Day? and Awareness: Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week