CBHS Launches In-House Spay/Neuter Program for our Shelter Pets

The Cedar Bend Humane Society is excited to announce our new, in-house spay and neuter program for our shelter pets!

This program allows us to have all our shelter pets that are at least 12 weeks of age spayed or neutered before being adopted.

Thanks to a very generous donation from one of our financial supporters, we were able to purchase all the equipment necessary for these in-house spays and neuters. This program is also made possible thanks to a partnership with a local vet who will perform all the surgeries for us.

According to the ASPCA, only 10 percent of the animals entering shelters are spayed or neutered. The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year.

Part of our mission is to educate the community about responsible pet ownership. We believe spaying and neutering our homeless pets is a major component of responsible pet care, which is why this in-house program is so important and exciting for us.

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Teeth Brushing Tips for Dogs and Cats

DOGS

Why should you brush your dog’s teeth?

Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t just about fresh breath. It’s an essential part of good oral care, and good oral care is important to your dog’s overall health. Although most people aren’t aware of it, periodontal, or gum disease is a common, serious problem in dogs. Yet brushing your dog’s teeth can prevent it! Veterinarians estimate that 85 percent of dogs older than five years of age suffer from periodontal disease, which develops when food particles and bacteria collect along the gum line and form soft deposits called plaque.

Over time, the plaque turns into rock-hard tartar. If tartar isn’t removed from your dog’s teeth, it will eventually inflame his gums. As the inflamed gums begin to separate from the teeth, pockets form in which more bacteria grow, causing periodontal disease to worsen. At this point, your dog can experience severe pain, lose teeth, form abscesses in his mouth and develop a bacterial infection that can spread through the bloodstream to the kidneys, liver, heart or brain. Periodontal disease is irreversible, so now is a great time to get started on a regular oral-care regimen for your dog.

Aim to brush your dog’s teeth several times a week.

Smaller dogs and brachycephalic breeds—dogs with flat or short, broad snouts, like pugs and bulldogs—may need more frequent brushing. Their teeth are often crowded together, which allows more plaque to accumulate and increases their risk of developing periodontal disease.

What You’ll Need

Do not use products made for humans to brush your dog’s teeth. Human toothbrushes and toothpastes can be harmful to your dog.

The Brush

Choose a tool that you’re comfortable using. Pet stores carry toothbrushes for dogs as well as small, plastic brushes that fit on your finger and special dental sponges. If these products don’t appeal to you or your dog, just wrap a piece of clean gauze around your finger instead.

The Paste

Purchase toothpaste made for dogs from a pet store or from your veterinarian. Pet toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors, including liver, mint, chicken and peanut butter. You may need to experiment with a few flavors to find out which one your dog prefers. Avoid using human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth. Keep in mind that your dog will end up swallowing a lot of the paste during brushing sessions, and ingesting a paste made for people might upset his stomach.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Your dog will probably find the sensation of you poking around in his mouth strange. It might make him nervous at first.

After you’ve collected supplies, take your dog to a quiet, calm area. You might need to keep your dog on a leash to limit his movement during the brushing session. If you do, you can tie the leash to a heavy piece of furniture in order to keep your hands free. It’s okay to keep the leash short, like three feet—but not too short. Make sure there’s enough slack in the leash so that your dog can sit or lie down comfortably while you brush his teeth. Then follow the steps below to start brushing. (The steps are the same, regardless of the brushing tool you choose. We’ll assume you’re using a toothbrush.

–Put some toothpaste on the brush. Placing one hand over the top of your dog’s muzzle, gently lift his lips. With your other hand, brush or rub a few teeth. Your dog can keep his jaws closed at this point. Just focus on cleaning the outer surfaces of his teeth and gums. After only two or three seconds of brushing, stop and release your dog’s muzzle. If he did a great job holding still while you brushed, reward him with a tasty treat. Then end the brushing session.

–Repeat Step 1 two or three times a day for one to two weeks. Each day, slowly increase the time you spend brushing. Start with three seconds. Then, the next day, try five. The next day, try eight, and so on. Eventually you’ll be able to brush the outer surfaces of all your dog’s teeth during a single brushing session.

–When your dog seems comfortable about you brushing all his teeth while his jaws are closed, you can start to open his mouth. Gently place one hand over the top of your dog’s muzzle and open his mouth. With your other hand, reach in your dog’s mouth with the brush. Brush a few teeth for a couple of seconds. Then release your dog’s muzzle, praise him and feed him a treat. Repeat three to five times for about three days. Try to practice a couple of times a day.

–At this point, you can start alternating between brushing the outer and inner surfaces of your dog’s teeth during brushing sessions. It’s best to keep brushing sessions short (aim for about five minutes), but brush daily if possible. Remember to continue to reward your dog with tasty treats or his favorite game after you brush his teeth. If you do, he’ll come to love brushing sessions because good things always happen afterwards.

Although periodontal disease primarily affects dogs over five years old, it’s best get your dog used to regular brushing when he’s young. If you have a puppy, start now to make it easy for both of you as he matures.

Feeding your dog hard kibble and treats instead of canned food alone can help prevent the build-up of harmful plaque. Providing plenty of edible chews, such as rawhide, pig ears and natural bones, as well as hard, inedible chew toys, like Nylabones® and Greenies® Smart Chews™, can also reduce plaque on your dog’s teeth. (Be sure to closely supervise your dog when you give him a new chew toy to make sure he doesn’t accidentally choke.)

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CATS

Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause a buildup on a cat’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. The solution? Regular teeth cleanings, of course.

All you’ll need to brush your cat’s teeth are cotton swabs and a small toothbrush and tube of toothpaste formulated for felines. You can also use salt and water. Ask your vet to suggest the brushing supplies that he trusts, and be sure never to use toothpaste designed for people—the ingredients can be unhealthy for your cat.

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Brush your cat’s teeth at home by following these simple steps:

  • First get your cat used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. Start by gently massaging her gums with your fingers or touching a cotton swab to them.
  • After a few sessions, put a little bit of cat-formulated toothpaste on her lips to get her used to the taste.
  • Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for cats—it will be smaller than human toothbrushes and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your cat’s gums.
  • Finally, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing.
  • A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your cat’s gums are inflamed. Many cats have mild gingivitis and brushing too hard can hurt their gums.

Sources: ASPCA Dental Health and ASPCA Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Doggy DNA Testing

One of our adoption counselors just did a Wisdom Panel DNA test on her dog, Sabrina.

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Sabrina was adopted from the Cedar Bend Humane Society in April 2014.

The DNA test detected four key breeds for Sabrina.

Sabrina

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Sabrina 3

Thanks for making your predictions!

Here are the four key breeds detected in Sabrina’s DNA test:

1. American Staffordshire Terrier

DNA 1

2. Cocker Spaniel

DNA 2

3. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

DNA 3

4. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

DNA 4

Do you see the resemblance?

The Wisdom Panel DNA tests are available at the Cedar Bend Humane Society for $70.

12 Reasons Why it’s Great to Adopt a Senior Pet!

1. What You See Is What You Get

Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right dog and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime. If you’re not so into surprises, an older dog is for you!

2. Easy to Train

Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.

3. Seniors are Super-Loving

One of the cool parts of our job is reading stories from people just like you who have opted to adopt. The emails we get from pet parents with senior dogs seem to all contain beautiful, heartfelt descriptions of the love these dogs give you—and those of you who adopted dogs already in their golden years told us how devoted and grateful they are. It’s an instant bond that cannot be topped!

4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job

Grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing. If you have young children, or just value your “me time,” this is definitely a bonus.

5. They Settle in Quickly

Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. They’ll be part of the family in no time!

6. Fewer Messes

Your floors, shoes and furniture will thank you for adopting a senior pooch! Older dogs are likely to already be housetrained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers.

7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

There are those who yearn for a doggie friend of their own, but hold back because they worry what might happen in their lives in the years to come. And they are wise to do so—a puppy or young dog can be anywhere from an 8- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with certain long-term future plans. Providing a loving home for a dog in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one.

8. They Enjoy Easy Livin’

Couch potato, know thyself! Please consider a canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged. Not that older dogs don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day.

9. Be a Hero!

At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted. You’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together of bringing an older animal into a good home

10. Older dogs make instant companions.

Unlike a puppy, which requires leash training, etc. an older dog is ready to accompany you on a long walk and already knows how to play fetch. An adult dog will make a great workout partner, a loyal companion, and a late night snuggle buddy.

11. Older dogs are not necessarily “problem dogs” as many tend to think.

Senior dogs lose their homes for a variety of reasons, usually having nothing to do with their behavior or temperament, but more due to the fact that their owners are unable to keep them for reasons including: the novelty of owning a dog wearing off, allergies, death of a guardian, a new baby, loss of a job, a move, change in work schedule, and various other lifestyle changes. These dogs need homes just as badly as young adoptees do, and make wonderful household pets.

12. They’re CUTE!

Need we say more?

Source Credit: ASPCA and Cesar Millan

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Here are some senior pets available for adoption at the Cedar Bend Humane Society in Waterloo:

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Scooter

Scooter

PAWS Humane Society Partnership

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Gypsy just arrived at the Cedar Bend Humane Society from PAWS Humane Society in Charles City.  We accepted Gypsy, a five-year-old pit bull, into our adoption program to give her a little more exposure to help her find a forever home.

You can find out more about Gypsy, and why she would make a great new addition to your family on our website or on Petfinder. You can also see Gypsy by visiting our adoption center at 1166 W. Airline Highway in Waterloo. We are currently accepting applications for her adoption!
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 Thank you PAWS Humane Society for partnering with us to save more animals!
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Ear Cleaning Tips for Dogs and Cats

ear cleaning 1 According to Animal Humane Society, keeping the inside surfaces of your dog’s ears clean will not only feel good to your dog, but is good way to help prevent ear infections. Examining the outside surface will also alert you to the presence of wood ticks, fleas, or anything else unusual.

How often?
Clean your dog’s ears about once a week.

How to get started?
You can use either a cotton ball or a piece of gauze with ear cleaning solution, or you can use a baby wipe wrapped around your finger. Don’t use water because it doesn’t evaporate very easily. Wipe the inside surface of your dog’s ear, going down only as far as your finger easily fits. Don’t use Q-tips or try to put anything further down the ear canal or you will risk causing a painful ear injury.

Tips for dogs from the ASPCA:

Canine Anatomy

Because of the twisty, curvy design of a dog’s inner ears, it’s easy for parasites, bacteria and yeast to hide and thrive in them. This also means that any debris in the canal must work its way up to escape. Infections can result from trapped debris. Dogs with allergies are particularly vulnerable, as are those with floppy ears, like Cocker spaniels, basset hounds and poodles.

Routine Care

Your dog’s regular grooming/maintenance routine should include regular ear checks. This is especially important for dogs who produce excessive earwax or have a lot of inner-ear hair:

  • If your dog’s inner ears appear dirty, clean them with a cotton ball dampened with mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide or a solution formulated specifically for this purpose. Inner-ear skin is delicate, so allow your vet to demonstrate the proper method for cleaning your dog’s ears.
  • Do not clean your dog’s ears so frequently or deeply as to cause irritation, and take care to NEVER insert anything into your dog’s ear canal.
  • If your dog sprouts hair from his ear canal, you or your groomer may have to tweeze it out every few weeks to prevent problematic mats and tangles from forming. Please discuss with your vet whether this is necessary for your dog.

Wet Behind the Ears?

If you’re not careful, frequent bathing and swimming can lead to irritation and infection. To prevent this from happening, place cotton in your dog’s ears before baths, and be sure to dry her ears as thoroughly as you safely can after all water sports and activities.

If your dog is prone to ear infections, you might want to pour a tiny amount of an ear drying solution made for dogs into her ear canals to help evaporate any water trapped inside. These ear washes, usually witch hazel-based, are available at better pet supply stores.

Danger Signs

Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms affecting your dog’s ears:

  • Ear discharge
  • Bad smells
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Crusty skin
  • Hair loss

Please also be aware that brown or black ear wax—and dry, dark wax resembling coffee grounds—are classic indicators of microscopic ear mites. Only your vet can tell for sure, so please don’t delay bringing a gooey-eared pooch in for a checkup.

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Tips for Cats from the ASPCA:

Ear Cleaning 101

Place a little bit of liquid ear cleaner (ask your vet for a recommendation) onto a clean cotton ball or piece of gauze. Fold kitty’s ear back gently and wipe away any debris or earwax that you can see on the underside of her ear. Lift away the dirt and wax rather than rubbing it into the ear. And do not attempt to clean the canal—probing inside of your cat’s ear can cause trauma or infection.

Signs of Ear Problems

Watch for the following signs that may indicate your cat’s ears should be checked by a veterinarian:

  • Persistent scratching and pawing of the ear area
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Head tilting or shaking
  • Loss of balance and disorientation
  • Redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Black or yellowish discharge
  • Accumulation of dark brown wax
  • Hearing loss
  • Bleeding

Know Your Ear Disorders

  • Ear mites are common parasites that are highly contagious among pets. Telltale signs include excessive itching of the ears and debris that resembles coffee grounds.
  • Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria, yeast or foreign debris caught in the ear canal. Treatment should be sought immediately as ear infections can cause considerable discomfort and may indicate allergies, hormonal abnormalities or hereditary disease.
  • Blood blisters (hematoma) are the result of blood accumulation in the ear flap. They’re often caused by infection, ear mites, fleas or trapped debris that causes your cat to scratch her ears or shake her head excessively.

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Top 10 Pet Parent Pitfalls

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Pet parents usually have good intentions when it comes to raising their feline and canine companions, but sometimes mistakes are made. Be sure to avoid these ten common pet care pitfalls:

1. Adopting a pet on a whim: Pets are a long-term commitment that require care, time, and money. The decision to adopt a new pet should be discussed with everyone in the household and preparations should be made before bringing a new animal home.

2. Not properly socializing young pets: Puppies and kittens need to be exposed to a variety of people and situations to build trust and social skills. Not providing proper socialization opportunities can translate into problem behaviors later in life.

3. Yelling at your dog for an accident: Housebreaking can be a trying time for any pet owner, but if you come home to a mess, scolding won’t help. Your pet won’t be able to associate your anger with the accident that likely happened much earlier in the day. Instead, offer plenty of praise when your pup does his business outside.

4. Skipping flea and tick medication: Parasites are a serious threat to dogs and cats. Opting to not protect your pet from fleas and ticks puts them at risk for an infestation and serious disease. Stick to a regular flea and tick control regimen to keep these harmful pests away.

5. Refilling the food bowl: Your intentions may be good, but always keeping your pet’s food bowl full is a big mistake. Overweight and obese animals are at a greater risk for heart disease, arthritis, and other serious medical issues. Discuss the proper amount of food for your pet with a vet and stick to it.

6. Letting your dog walk you: Basic training makes for a more well-adjusted dog and a happier owner. Also, taking a poorly trained large dog for a walk is a dangerous situation that can result in injury.

7. Giving pets too much alone time: Long periods of time without human interaction can lead to separation anxiety, which can cause undesirable behaviors like barking, digging, clawing, chewing, and inappropriate soiling. This is especially true with dogs. Look for other options while you’re gone during the day including a visit from a pet-sitter, doggie day care, or a regular dog walker.

8. Failing to set rules: Dog and cats don’t instinctively know that the couch is off-limits or that clawing at the carpet is bad. Use positive reinforcement to set firm and consistent rules from the beginning. Failing to set consistent boundaries will confuse pets and make training much more difficult later on.

9. Not properly supervising pets and kids: Children should be taught how to appropriately handle pets and should always be under the supervision of an adult. Sometimes a child’s enthusiasm can be misinterpreted by an animal, which can lead to a dangerous situation.

10. Skipping vet checkups: Regular veterinary visits ensure pets are always up-to-date on vaccinations and make it more likely that symptoms of serious illnesses are caught early on. Keep your four-legged best friend healthy by committing to annual checkups.

Source: VetDepot

Weight Loss Tips for Pets

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When we asked if your pet had a resolution for 2015, most of you responded with a desire to lose weight. It’s estimated at least 45 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight.

We’ve compiled some resources to help you put together a realistic plan to help your pet drop a few pounds this year. Just like humans, the keys to pet weight loss are food intake and exercise.

Dogs that maintain ideal bodyweight typically live two years longer than obese dogs. Think about it, you can have two more years with your beloved pet!

Also, overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from medical conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Cancerous tumors

None of those conditions are fun for your pet or for you to watch him/her go through. So it makes the most sense for you to help your pet live a longer and a healthier life by helping him/her lose weight.

Let’s talk about feeding your pets.

You should NOT have food available all the time for your pet. Free choice feeding is completely unnatural for any mammal, and (just like humans) a dog will eat when bored instead of just when hungry. What’s more, free feeding can contribute to unnatural hormonal changes — which can make weight loss even more challenging.

A dog should be fed two to four small portions a day. If your schedule makes it difficult to follow this strategy, there are timed automatic feeders that can help your pet get the right amount of food. And only at specific times.

It’s critical to actually measure your dog’s food. Never guess. Use an 8 ounce measuring cup. Checking the recommended feeding requirements listed on your dog food bag is a good place to start.

Also, make sure no one is giving your pet extra treats throughout the day. Set a specific time for treats in between meals.

Just as exercise is a key component to weight loss for us, it’s also important for pets. Take a walk. Run. Play fetch. Climb the stairs. Provide at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise almost every day to help with weight loss.

Not a lot is known about exercise and calorie expenditure in pets.

Some people believe exercise can contribute up to 30 percent of weight loss in pets, but some vets disagree because we don’t have an exact correlation between an exercise and the number of calories burned. They say the key is not to overestimate the value of exercise, especially for your pet. It is likely not going to contribute to 30 percent of weight loss, but it is not wasted effort either. As long as you are exercising at a pace that makes you sweat and your dog pant — it’s promoting a healthier lifestyle for both of you.

We hope these tips help your pet (and you) live healthier and happier in 2015!

SOURCE:  Dr. Donna Spector on DogAdvisor.com

SOURCE: Dr. Ken Tudor on PetMD

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet (and You)

Goals aren’t just for people! New Year’s Resolutions for your pet and for you.

Source: Jessica Vogelsang, DVM via PetMD

#10 Measure Your Pet’s Food – Every Time!

Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to use an 8-ounce measuring cup to ensure your pet isn’t taking in more calories than they need. The recommended feeding guidelines on the bag are a good place to start to figure out how much food Fido (or Kitty) really needs. Older pets and those who have been neutered usually have lower energy needs than young, intact animals.

#9 Choose an Age-Appropriate Diet

Growing pets have very specific nutrient requirements to ensure their bodies grow healthy and strong. For example, some senior pets may have lower energy requirements, but have other medical issues like degenerative joint disease that may be helped with the appropriate diet. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.

#8 Try a New Activity with Your Pet

From doga to hiking, skijoring to kayaking, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond, it’ll get you both out of the house, and both owner and pet will reap the rewards of a healthy physical activity. Meet-up groups are a great way to find like-minded pet owners to join you in your exercise, too!

#7 Incorporate (More) Playtime into Your Routine

Cats love the thrill of chasing a laser toy; just don’t tell them it’s exercise! Toys that trigger a cat’s predatory instinct are a great way to get them off the couch and engaged in a little aerobic activity. Experiment to see what really gets your cat going — in addition to lasers, catnip toys, crinkly balls, and climbable cat trees are perennial feline favorites. Even a cardboard box can become a cat cave that satisfies a cat’s desire for a hiding place.

#6 Make a Date with Your Vet

Yearly examinations by the veterinarian are a key component of good preventive care. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues that may be affecting your bonding with your pet.

#5 Groom Your Pet Daily

Brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. Lastly, daily grooming is a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them by taking care of them in a very soothing manner.

#4 Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits with Your Pet

Daily toothbrushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque at bay — just be sure to use a toothpaste meant for dogs and cats. Water additives, dental diets, and treats designed to reduce tartar can also be a helpful tool in keeping teeth clean. And even with all of these tricks, regular cleanings by a licensed veterinarian are the best way to keep those pearly whites in tip top shape long into your pet’s senior years.

#3 Teach an Old Dog a New Trick

Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Puzzle feeders, which force a pet to think through a task in order to be rewarded with a treat, are also an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged.

#2 Update Pet ID Info

Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. Often they only remember once the pet is lost. If any of your contact information has changed, don’t wait — update their tags and microchip information today! It’s the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way safely home.

#1 Consider Fostering

You think you want a new pet, but you’re not 100 percent sure it’s right for you? Try fostering. Many animal shelters and rescues need loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment, since you are simply hosting a pet while they wait for their forever home. Who knows? That home just might end up being yours.

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