Pet shelters provide help for homeless pets, as well as owned pets, in their communities. These facilities offer services such as pet adoptions, sheltering and reuniting lost pets, instigating cruelty investigations, low-cost spay and neuter programs, and pet care assistance. Our team at Columbia Pike Animal Hospital values the pet shelters in our area, and we want to share ways you can show your appreciation for these dedicated organizations.

#1: Adopt a shelter pet

Adopting a shelter pet is a great way to support your local pet shelter. Choosing to adopt your next pet has many advantages, including:

  • You can save multiple lives — Many pets are euthanized every year because shelters don’t have enough room. By adopting your pet from a shelter, you are saving their life. In addition, you are making space for another pet to be rescued.
  • You can find the perfect match — Shelters house pets of different species, breeds, sizes, ages, and temperaments. Adopting your pet from a shelter increases your chances of finding the perfect furry companion for your family.
  • You can fight pet mills — Puppy and kitten mills are breeding facilities that compromise the animals’ welfare to increase profitability. Puppies and kittens in these establishments are housed in poor conditions, and they don’t receive adequate medical care. When you adopt your pet from a shelter, as opposed to buying them from a pet store, you are combating these businesses.

#2: Spay or neuter your pet

Spaying or neutering your pet will help control the homeless pet crisis. These procedures also provide many benefits for you and your pet, such as:

  • Medical benefits — Spaying or neutering your pet will help them live longer, healthier lives. Spaying your female pet before her first heat helps prevent uterine infections and mammary tumors. Neutering your male pet prevents testicular cancer, and also can decrease their risk for prostate problems.
  • Behavioral benefits — Spaying or neutering your pet also has behavioral benefits. Spayed females won’t experience heat cycles, which can be disruptive to your household. Neutered males are typically better behaved and less aggressive than intact pets, and they don’t tend to stray from home as frequently.
  • Cost benefits — Spaying or neutering your pet will prevent you from having to pay for costly medical bills related to reproductive health issues. In addition, these procedures are much less expensive than caring for a litter of puppies or kittens.

#3: Microchip your pet

Microchipping your pet is the best way to help ensure they are returned to you if they go missing. If your pet gets lost, their chip can be scanned, easily identifying you as their owner. This will keep your pet from being sent to a shelter and help lessen the overcrowding problem. The procedure is simple and is no more invasive than a vaccination. Factors you should consider when getting your pet microchipped include:

  • Identification tags — In addition to the microchip, you should keep identification tags that have your current contact information on your pet at all times.
  • Pet registry — Ensure you keep your information up to date in the microchip pet registry so you can be notified if your pet is found.

#4: Become a pet shelter foster parent

Fostering a shelter pet frees up room for other pets in need. Fostering also ensures puppies and kittens get the attention and socialization they need, and other pets who have special needs receive the necessary care. Becoming a foster parent is a good compromise if you aren’t able to commit to the long-term responsibility of adopting a pet because these situations typically only last a week to a couple of months. By providing foster care for a homeless pet, you are helping prepare them for their forever home.

#5: Become a pet shelter volunteer

Pet shelters always need extra hands to help take care of the many dogs and cats who live there. Pet shelter volunteers do such things as feed and water dogs and cats, clean kennels and cages, help with vaccination clinics and spay and neuter programs, transport animals, perform office work, and participate in community outreach events like supply drives and fundraisers. 

#6: Donate to your local pet shelter

Pet shelters can’t continue to serve their communities without donations. Monetary contributions are always welcome, but other types of donations are also needed. Non-monetary donations that greatly help pet shelters include pet food, pet care items, litter, toys, cleaning products, blankets, and towels. 

Without pet shelters, our communities would be overrun with homeless pets, and programs to help lower-income families own pets would not exist. Recognize how valuable these organizations are and take steps to show your appreciation and support today. If you would like to have your pet microchipped, or spayed or neutered, contact our team at Columbia Pike Animal Hospital so we can help you show your local pet shelter how much you care.