Pet Advice & Ideas

5 Ways You Can Help Abandoned Pets

 

Dr Jane Bicks As uncertainty about the economy lingers, the pace of pet abandonment is on the rise. Largely attributable to the collapse of the housing market in 2007, the effects of which continue to ripple through our economy, nearly every state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of homeless animals. During this short time frame, tens of thousands of companion animals have been surrendered to rescue organizations, or worse, simply abandoned, left to fend for themselves.

You’ve probably read some of the heartrending stories: dogs left behind, locked in foreclosed homes; a box of kittens dumped in a community park; and families facing homelessness themselves surrendering to a shelter all of their pets in a moment of heartbreak. The problem is so severe that some shelters have exhausted their resources and are forced to refuse new intakes.

As a society of pet lovers, this represents an unprecedented situation in most of our lifetimes. Now, more than ever, homeless pets need our help.

Many of us want to provide assistance, but don’t know the best way to make a difference. Fortunately, there are five ways to reach out and make a difference to pets in need. 

Pets in shelter

1. Volunteer at a shelter
Brimming with new animals, many shelters urgently need “boots on the ground”. Volunteers are needed to walk dogs, play with kittens and greet potential adopters, as well as handle routine feeding and cleaning tasks. In some cases, you may be able to offer assistance based upon your unique skill set. If you have a knack for organization, your talents could help streamline anything from file systems to fundraising appeals. Even if you only volunteer for only a couple of hours per week, you will still be providing invaluable help.

2. Donate money
Unfortunately, growing shelter populations are not the only crisis shelters and animal rescues are experiencing. Organizations of all sizes are struggling with finances, as personal and corporate donations have dropped off a cliff. As you might expect, this lack of funding affects every aspect of a shelter’s operations, including staffing, facility maintenance, veterinary care, food and medical supplies. Any amount you can spare will be welcomed by your local shelters. Don’t fall prey to the misconception that small donations don’t make a difference. Even $5 or $10 can provide several meals for a pet in need.

3. Donate goods
If you prefer to donate physical items rather than cash, please consider donating items like food, treats, blankets or toys. In most cases, these items are sorely needed and gratefully accepted at most animal rescue organizations. Be sure to contact your local shelter to learn their specific needs prior to deciding what you’ll give. If you can’t afford to give new items, consider doing some “Fall cleaning” … because old towels dry just as well as new ones! Just like with financial donations, the gift of goods is tax deductible; just be sure to confirm that the organization you choose has non-profit status.

4. Foster a homeless pet
Fostering a pet is a great option if you’re not ready to commit to a long-term relationship with a companion animal. As a temporary adopter, you will not only provide a loving and healthy environment for a pet in need, but you will also free up valuable space and resources at rescue facilities. Be aware that many of these animals are coming from difficult circumstances and may require a good deal of patience and understanding on your part. To get more information, speak with your local rescues, veterinary schools or humane societies about foster programs in your area.

5. Adopt a pet
Lastly, the boldest and most dramatic step you can take also offers the greatest rewards. Perhaps the best way to combat pet homelessness is by opening your home to an abandoned pup or kitty. Many shelters maintain an online presence where you can review photos and descriptions of the companion animals that are available for adoption.

Even if they receive outstanding care during their stay, shelter animals experience high levels of stress, which can lead to minor illnesses (like colds). With time, love and good nutrition, these conditions usually quickly abate. If you adopt, remember to be realistic about your expectations with the pet and invest time early on acclimating your new family member to their new environment.

If you have ever considered adopting a companion animal in need, the time to act is now.

If your circumstances prevent you from taking part in any of these solutions, please keep in mind that simply by purchasing Life’s Abundance products you’ll be making a positive difference. Every order that you place results in a contribution to our foundation, which in turn awards financial grants to small rescues across the country.

No matter how you choose to help during this crisis, you will have my eternal thanks, and the thanks of the entire Life’s Abundance staff. Together, we truly can make our world a better place.

So You Found a Pregnant Cat…

 

Dr Jane BicksDid you know that cats can become mothers in their first year of life? While more and more pet parents spay their cats early in life, many good Samaritans have gotten more than they bargained for, after finding that the stray they adopted is pregnant. As a matter of fact, we here at the Life’s Abundance office found ourselves in a similar situation when a sweet little stray showed up at our door a while back. Of course, food and water were the first order of business. After a few days, she began to trust us enough to pet her. That’s when we discovered that she was pregnant. To make a long story short, we took good care of her and her kittens, and now the whole feline family lives with their new adoptive parents. If you have a pregnant cat, you may be wondering what to expect and how best to care for the expectant mother. More...

Doggie Dunce Caps: Bad Behavior or Serious Medical Issue?

Have you ever found freshly dug holes in your backyard? Or bits of your favorite chair strewn across your den? Are you the proud parent of a canine that greets your guests by repeatedly jumping on them? Does your furry friend beg at the table, bark incessantly or strategically deposit her poo next to the dining room table? Simply put, if your dog could star in a film entitled “Dogs Gone Wild”, then you share a common complaint among dog lovers worldwide: frustrating behavioral problems. More...

Five Plants That Can Seriously Injure Your Dog

 

Dr Jane Bicks

If you’re a dog lover, thoughts of summertime conjure memories of long evening strolls and outdoor recreation with your dog. In fact, you may have already started this summer to create new fond memories. Given that, the last thing you want on one of your nature walks is for your canine companion to be sidelined by an injury. Unfortunately, many pet parents don’t realize until it’s too late that there are menacing toxins lurking in the plants of both cultivated and wild landscapes. Plants that you are used to seeing in public parks, your neighborhood and perhaps even in your own backyard can lead to devastating effects. In what follows, I will review five of these dangerous plants so that you will be able to identify and avoid them when you’re with your dog. First up are four plants commonly used in landscaping that are actually toxic to canines …More...

Helpful Tips on Caring for Senior Pets

 

A relationship with a companion animal can be one of the most rewarding experiences we humans encounter in our lifetimes. In the last 20 years, medical science has repeatedly shown that having a dog or cat in your life can result in health benefits for you, including improved, self-reported mental and physical health, and even fewer doctor visits compared to no-pet people. Additionally, caring for pets can help us to develop a greater sense of responsibility, elevate our own sense of self-worth and foster a mutually beneficial bond that enriches not only our lives but those of our pets, too. More...

Tips for Better Nail Care

 

Nail trimming is a vital part of your pet’s healthcare routine. Unfortunately, it’s often neglected as many pet parents never receive any training about the best method for trimming nails safely. Watch this short video for helpful tips for better nail care. More...

Feline Inappropriate Elimination (Part 2)

 

Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) is the most common lower urinary tract disorder diagnosed in cats. Symptoms can include painful urination, urination outside the litter box and blood in the urine. Stress is a significant factor in the incidence of FIC. Veterinary researchers have determined that cats with highly sensitized nervous and endocrine systems are more prone to FIC. Research indicates that felines suffering from FIC may experience high levels of stress without exhibiting any noticeable symptoms. Fortunately, there are specific alterations to your home and changes you can make in your cat’s daily routine that can help to prevent mental and physical stress. More...

Tips for Feline Heart Health

 

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Dr Jane Bicks When I consider what I like most about cats, I’d probably say it’s their mysterious demeanor. I never know why one of my cats will suddenly pounce on my computer keyboard, why another might hide for hours on Wednesdays, or what could possibly be going on inside the head of one who spends time shadow boxing in my bathroom. Just as their motivations and desires remain secret to us, they are also, unfortunately, masters at concealing any illnesses they might have. A cat can have a medical problem and even the most watchful owner may not realize it until the condition becomes full-blown.

An unhealthy heart is an all too common feline problem, regardless of age. The good news is that heart conditions are best treated when found early. Additionally, early detection and treatment also give felines opportunities to live relatively healthy and happy lives. All you have to do is be proactive by routinely giving your cat a quick home-health examination. Don’t worry – it’s easy, fun and can even save a life. More...

Feline Inappropriate Elimination (Part 1)

Peeing outside the litter box, otherwise known as feline inappropriate elimination, is one of the most frustrating and common behavioral problems some cat lovers must endure. Feline inappropriate elimination refers to the location of the deed, and it is considered inappropriate by most cat owners because peeing on the bed, the rug, the curtains, the tile, the laundry or anywhere outside of the litter box is not considered appropriate!

What many cat guardians may not know is that urinating outside the litter box, or defecating for that matter, is a message from your cat. Cats have a natural inclination toward sand. They prefer to dig in the soil before they eliminate: that is why litter boxes are so effective, even in young kittens. Cats do not naturally choose flat, hard, or cloth-like surfaces, and they do not eliminate outside the litter box out of meanness or spite. Your cat is, in essence, letting you know that something is wrong and is asking for help. More...

Essential Fatty Acids Simplified

Mom Giving Daughter Supplement If you’re like most people, you are probably wondering, “What are essential fatty acids?” Or, “How could something with the word ‘fat’ in it be good for me?” The short answer is essential fatty acids (or EFA’s) are essential because our bodies alone cannot produce them – they must be obtained through our diet. EFA’s are long molecules that are used in the construction of the walls of our cells, known as the cell membranes. The cell membranes are critical for both nutritional processes and the excretion of toxic waste products. Without EFA’s, the body cannot make or repair cell membranes correctly. EFA’s also regulate bodily functions such as blood pressure, clotting, fertility, heart rate and immunity. For these reasons, they are often referred to as “good fats”.

Now that you know a little more about essential fatty acids, you may wonder, “Are there different types of EFA’s?” And if so, “What are the differences?” More...