Sometimes unfortunate circumstances happen that result in people needing to surrender or rehome their dogs. The number of pets given up at animal shelters is staggering.
The ASPCA says that 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters in the United States every year, and about 1.5 million of them are euthanized. The numbers are heartbreaking.
Here are some reasons people relinquish dogs at shelters and how to change things for the better:
1) He Takes Up Way Too Much Time
Dogs are pack animals who prefer to be with their owner, so they do require a time commitment. Before bringing a dog into your life, consider if you have time to devote to him. Viable options to help keep him happy and thriving include doggy daycare, a pet sitter, or asking a friend or neighbor to check in on him.
2) She Won’t Stop Peeing In The House
Housetraining a dog comes with the territory, so prepare for accidents. If the accidents aren’t stopping, consider the reasons why the dog is peeing inside. She may have a medical condition such as urinary tract infection, that requires veterinary care, or simply needs to go back to potty training basics. Never hit a dog for peeing inside. She might be holding it too long, doesn’t have a routine, or never had proper training.
3) She’s Too Hyperactive
Dogs need attention. Most dogs love to play, whether with you, a toy, or another dog. Give your dog two 20-minute play sessions a day coupled with at least one walk to help channel his energy. Puppies are bundles of activity, too. Some breeds require more activity than others.
4) He’s Too Expensive
There are basic things every dog needs no matter the age or breed. In addition to water, food, attention, and love, veterinary visits should be a regular part of any dog’s routine. An unexpected medical situation can drain a savings account, so prepare for this with pet health insurance or a savings account. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so if you can’t afford a dog it’s best to wait until you can.
5) My Landlord Won’t Allow A Dog
This is an easy one: don’t break the rules if your landlord has a “no pets allowed policy.” If you must move and dogs aren’t allowed, try to place your dog into a loving home before going to the animal shelter. You never know if a friend, family member, or neighbor is looking for a dog to call their own.
6) Human Babies Are On The Way
Help your dog get used to the baby and they may grow up together being the best of friends. Your pooch may be jealous at first, but that’s totally normal as sometimes people even get jealous of a new family member. Allow the dog to get used to the smell, sight, and sound of the baby before introducing them.
7) She’s Too Old
Age happens to all of us, as it’s the one thing none of us has control over. A dog who gives you her heart and dedication throughout life deserves love and compassion as she enters her golden years. Consider things like a ramp to help her get onto the couch, slower walks so she can enjoy them, and lots of snuggles and pets to make her feel loved.
8) He Keeps Getting Into Things
A bored dog can become a destructive dog. Keep him active with exercise, walks, toys, playtime, and socialization. If your dog is destructive while you are away, he may have separation anxiety. There are a lot of things to remedy this situation. Only allow the dog access to certain parts of your home and have someone check in on him while you are away. Dogs love mental activity, too, so give him brain games like a Kong toy filled with treats to occupy him.
9) She Snapped At The Kids
The first question any positive reinforcement trainer will ask in this situation is what happened right before the dog snapped at the child. Did the child do something to instigate the dog like pull its tail, tug on its ears, or otherwise tease or taunt it? A dog who bites or snaps without provocation should always be seen by a veterinarian and behaviorist to assess what’s happening. Dogs rely on us to be their voice and understand the situations to which they are exposed.
10) He’s Not Popular On Social Media
This is a new and disturbing trend. Dogs are being abandoned at shelters because they don’t get enough likes, shares, or comments on social media platforms like Instagram. On the other hand, sometimes people get a dog for social media purposes and they are overwhelmed by the amount of care involved in the breed. This is a scary trend and one that we believe can be solved if these people would get a plant instead.
Feature Photo: Morgan Allen/Flickr