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We can come up with a million reasons why it’s a great idea to adopt a pet. They keep us company, they give us someone to talk to (seriously, dogs and cats really are the best listeners!), they cheer us up, they are great snugglers … the list goes on.
But then, there are the “reasons” for pet surrenders, too – many of which leave us shaking our heads, wondering why certain people were even allowed to adopt a pet in the first place. Some of the choice responses we’ve heard are: “The dog pees too often,” “She eats too much,” “It’s annoying to clean the litter box.”
…Really? REALLY? We know our Green Monsters would never do such a thing, but you all know exactly what we’re talking about.
Here are some popular reasons for pet surrender that are avoidable and can be worked around. Whether it’s medical, behavioral, or habitual, there’s usually a solution to the problem that allows the pet to remain part of the family.
1. We’re Moving
If you’re looking at apartments, make sure you know all the weight restrictions and the limit on the number of pets that are allowed. Sometimes you can negotiate with the landlords to make exceptions, but knowing all the facts from the get-go is crucial. If you try to convince a landlord to allow a Great Dane when their restrictions match the standards of a Chihuahua, it might not be realistic. Even when taking breed bans into consideration, there are options.
If you have a bully breed, check into renting a house over an apartment. Often individual landlords will make exceptions if you prove you’re a responsible pet guardian and have dog’s vaccinations up to date.
2. The Pet is Destroying My House
Excessive chewing is usually a behavior that is triggered by some form of stress or frustration. Consider whether or not you have recently changed your pet’s schedule. Have you recently started a new job that requires you to be away longer than the animal is used to? Perhaps the solution to the chewing problem is as simple as getting more exercise or play time outside.
If nothing has changed that would cause your pet to act out in this way, consider working with a behaviorist or trainer to pinpoint the root of the problem and concentrate on fixing it that way. Remember, you made a life-long commitment to your pet, abandoning them for such a small reason is just unfair.
3. My Cat Pees EVERYWHERE
While it might seem like your cat is acting out just to spite you with this one, there is a good chance that they might just have a urinary tract infection. Start taking careful notes and seeing if your cat is urinating more frequently or if they’re just avoiding the litter box completely.
After you take them to the vet for a checkup and rule out any infection, consider the possibility of anxiety. Either way, your vet should be able to offer some viable solutions. You can also try some of these natural remedies for stress and anxiety.
4. We’re Having a Baby
Some people think that when you have a baby it means that your pet will be instantly jealous and pose some sort of threat to a little newborn. But more often than not, the babies end up having an extra bodyguard!
New parents may also have concerns about exposed their newborns to “germs” or “allergens,” when in fact, studies have shown that children who grow up with a pet during their first year of life have a much higher immune system and suffer from 31 percent less respiratory tract infections later in life.
Just because you have a human bundle of joy on the way doesn’t mean you need to give up your fur baby. Yes, while you’re pregnant you may need an extra hand with caring for your pets, but pregnancy is a temporary thing; a pet should not be. Consider doggie daycare or hire a pet sitter to help out with walks or a pet nanny to come stay with them while you are in the hospital. Giving your pet ample time to adjust to life with a new little human in the picture is the key to a harmonious relationship. They might be a little confused at first, but as long as you make an effort to pamper and play with your cat or dog, they will take the transition in stride.
5. My Pet’s Too Old
First of all, think about the fact that one day you will be old and sick too. Should your family dump you in the middle of nowhere because of this? Of course not. Many senior pets live out their final years with plenty of vim and vigor and should not be discounted because of their age. If your pet is sick and suffering from old age, a consultation with the vet may be in order rather than a trip to the shelter. Check out these six tips to help you adjust to living with a senior pet. It might take some getting used to but you’ve loved your pet for their entire lives, why stop now?
Finding a Solution for You and Your Pet
Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, you owe it to your pet to make things work. Part of this means making sure you are able to fully commit prior to adoption; the other part is simply following through and exploring your options to ensure the health and happiness for the life of your furry family member. If the roles were reversed, you know that your pet would do it for you.
Image source: Austin Kirk/Flickr