Why Are There So Many Pets in Pet Shelters? | iPetCompanion

Why Are There So Many Pets in Pet Shelters?

It’s a sad truth – pet shelters are, more often than not, overpopulated. According to PETA, over 6 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters every year.

For loving and committed pet parents, it’s hard to figure out why so many animals end up in pet shelters. While some of these animals find new homes, the majority of them stay. And some, unfortunately, have to be euthanized every year.

Nobody wants that. Companies have done a lot to combat this, iPetCompanion even tried setting up pet cameras where people could play with cats online but couldn’t keep up with the cost. But keeping the animals caged in an overpopulated space may only cause them more harm. Why are there so many unwanted animals? Here are some common reasons:

1. Too many animals at home

When there are already too many animals to care for at home, owners sometimes decide to send some of them to pet shelters. However, this can be avoided.

Before deciding to take home a pet, be sure that you’re ready to commit to the lifelong responsibility. Just because a stray cat or dog looks adorable doesn’t necessarily mean you have to adopt them.

And if you already have pets at home, spay or neuter them. There are places that offer free or affordable spay or neuter services for pets. If you want to control the number of animals in the household, this is the route to go.

2. Animals lack training

When a dog comes to your home, he doesn’t know the house rules right away. You need to train him first and that requires both time and patience.

There are several factors that may make the training more challenging. This includes the type of environment that the pet grew in and his natural characteristics.

Some pet owners end up surrendering their pet to shelters when they are faced with behavioral issues. But this can be prevented with proper training.

3. Owners moving

Life plans change. Some pets end up in shelters because their owners have to relocate. They’re unable to bring their pets with them for various reasons.

It can be because their new landlord does not allow pets. Or they may have housemates that are allergic or have fear of animals. There are also instances when owners just want to keep their new place clean and free of animals.

4. Lifestyle changes

Another reason animals are sent to pet shelters is because of lifestyle changes.

Their owners experience difficulties, say health and relationship issues. Or they may be entering a new chapter in their life and are no longer able to care for their pet. This can include getting married or having a baby.

These circumstances are unavoidable. But, they show that sometimes, it’s not the fault of the pets why they end up in animal shelters.

5. Dog ownership costs

Raising a pet comes with a cost. You need to invest in their basic needs, such as food and health. You also need to take into account their grooming and other needs. All this can easily add up.

Households that struggle to make ends meet hence sometimes decide to surrender their pet.

6. Lack of time

Another reason there are so many pets in shelters is that their former owners no longer have time to care for them. It can be because of their growing families or responsibilities at work. They end up prioritizing several other matters, leaving the needs of their pets ignored or set aside.

7. Dog has bitten someone

Sometimes, a dog ends up in a shelter because of biting someone. It can be a family member or someone living close by. Biting, however, can be prevented. If your pet is displaying behavioral issues, don’t ignore it. Look into it immediately. Consult an expert if necessary.

8. Poor health

Old dogs or those with illnesses require medical attention. This can mean more money and time that not all pet parents may be able to provide. Hence, they’re forced to give up their pets to animal shelters.

9. Allergic family members

If your family member ends up developing an allergy toward animals then chances are you may feel compelled to surrender the pets.

10. Rescued animals

Animal cruelty is one reason animals end up in shelters. Lost dogs and cats also get picked up by rescue teams and provide them with temporary homes.

How You Can Help

There are ways on how you can help lower the number of unwanted cats and dogs. Here are some of them:

  • Think before owning a pet. Being a pet parent is like having a child. It comes with lifelong responsibilities. Look into your future plans and see whether you’ll be able to commit to having an animal companion.
  • Spay or neuter your pets. Dogs and cats will reproduce without thinking about the size of their family. Before you end up with a dozen pets at home, spay or neuter.
  • Adopt, don’t buy. Save an animal. Rather than purchasing a pet, go to an animal shelter near you and inquire about the possibility of adoption. You can always get started by volunteering. See how the dogs behave before you decide which one to take home with you.
  • Take time in training your pet. It’s never easy, but it pays off. Include everyone in the household in the process. It helps if many others know how to care for your pet the proper way. That means being familiar with your pet’s specific needs and behavior.
  • Choose a breed carefully. Research a breed that fits your lifestyle best. Look past the appearance. Also, study their needs and potential concerns.
  • Look into other alternatives. Before giving up your pet to an animal shelter, look into other possible options first. Someone within your network may be looking to adopt a pet. If your pet finds a new parent you personally know, you might even get the chance to visit him in the future.

It’s Not Too Late

More pets enter animal shelters than those that get adopted. But, it’s never too late to do your part. Have you ever experienced adopting a pet from a pet shelter?

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