A pet is for life, but for some dog and cat owners, life can get in the way of pet ownership. Many pet owners have had to consider surrendering their animals to a shelter or re-housing them because of accommodation changes, behavioural issues or unexpected life events. So, what should you do if you find yourself in this position?
Remember, a change of home is a huge adjustment for an animal and can prove quite traumatic. Is it really necessary? Surrendering your pet should be a last resort. Let’s look at the reasons why you might be considering it.
- I’m moving into a rental house – Have you tried finding pet-friendly housing? Talk to your real estate agent or landlord about your pet. Provide your potential landlord with a letter outlining your pet’s importance in your family. Offer to sign an agreement ensuring your pet will be well-behaved. It doesn’t hurt to ask first, even if the rental ad says ‘no pets’.
- I’m pregnant – If you are concerned about how your pet will cope with a new arrival, talk to your vet or trainer about your concerns, and check out our post on preparing pets for a new baby.
- I’ve become too busy for a pet – Dogs need walking, cats need cuddling and if life circumstances mean you just don’t have the quality time you used to have, perhaps someone else can help. Check out the dog walkers in your area, ask a neighbour if she wants some company during the day or even check with your boss, as your pet might be allowed to join you for a day or two in the office. Think outside the box on this one.
- My pet has behavioural issues – if your dog has become aggressive or your cat’s temperament has changed, don’t give up on them until you’ve talked to your vet or animal trainer. These issues might be caused by a treatable illness or can be easily modified with training. If your animal isn’t spayed or neutered, this simple procedure can make a dramatic difference.
- We have allergies – suffering from hayfever and allergies due to pet hair can be a nightmare, but before surrendering your pets make sure you have tried other ways to ease your pain. Talk to your doctor about allergy medication or your naturopath for natural ways to ease your blocked nose or itchy skin. Have your pet groomed regularly to reduce shedding, and try to limit your exposure to other allergens.
Keep an eye on our blog for an upcoming post on finding a new home for your pet.