Dogs and cats can provide judgement free companionship and a release from life’s stresses.
Learn what future pet parents need to know before adding a furry friend by checking out the questions below.
Owning a Pet
Caring for an animal is a commitment that requires much more than bringing home a cute, lovable fur ball. Are you ready for the commitment of owning a pet long-term?
Pets need your time, energy and depend on you for survival. Knowing how much energy you can devote to a pet can help you decide what type of pet is best for you. Dogs require stimulation and attention to prevent them from getting bored or anxious, and certain dog breeds require more activity than others. Cats are more independent but still require their litter box cleaned everyday and replenished food. Although they do not require a daily walk, some cats prefer more socialization and playtime than others.
Birds, rodents, reptiles and other types of pets all have varying needs. Birds are generally flock animals that create tight bonds with their owner and need daily playtime whereas reptiles typically don’t require as much human interaction. It is important to research the type of pet you want and make sure your lifestyle is compatible with its needs.
Do you have a yard?
Whether it is sunbathing, sniffing around or getting some exercise, it is beneficial for dog owners to have a yard or some kind of open space for their pet to go both leisurely an to do their business. Although not required for being a dog owner, here are some benefits of having a yard:
- Helps with convenient potty training, especially for the furry friends with smaller bladders (you won’t always have to leash up to take your dog out for a quick bathroom break)
- Allows for regular exercise and stimulation outdoors
- Place for spontaneous training and playtime
Do you have time?
Dogs need to be walked, exercised and socialized. Owning a dog is a time commitment– this is a member of the family, after all.
Most dogs require training, regular walks and exercise in order to curb behavioral issues such as excessive barking, chewing or having accidents. Remember, a well socialized dog is a happy dog!
Just like humans, pets can have health issues, and it is a pet owner’s responsibility to address them. Many of the ailments our pet’s experience (like the Ringworm kittens in the video below) are manageable or treatable.
One way to avoid more severe illnesses impacting your dogs or cats, is by getting them vaccinated. Vaccinations can help avoid costly treatments for diseases that can be prevented, and can prevent diseases that can be passed between animals and also from animals to people. Learn more about the vaccination services we offer here.
Dog Vaccination Timeline:
Cat Vaccination Timeline:
Why Spay & Neuter?
Are your family or other pets ready to add a furry friend?
Adding a pet to the family is a big change to not only your routine, but your environment. Ask yourself, “Would the people or animals in my household be okay with a new pet?”
It is important to ensure your pet will be accepted, so that the newly adopted animal is not returned to the shelter/rescue. It can be traumatic for an animal to be welcomed into a home and then turned away, so please be sure everyone is on board!
Why do cats fight?
This is my space!
Territorial aggression occurs when a cat feels that his territory has been invaded by an intruder. Cats are very territorial—much more so than dogs—and female cats can be just as territorial as males. The behavior patterns in this type of aggression include chasing and ambushing the intruder, as well as hissing and swatting when contact occurs. Territorial problems often occur when a new cat is brought into a household, when a young kitten reaches maturity, or when a cat sees or encounters neighborhood cats outside. It’s not uncommon for a cat to be territorially aggressive toward one cat in a family yet friendly and tolerant to another.
Man of the house!
Adult male cats normally tend to threaten and sometimes fight with other males. These behaviors can occur as sexual challenges over a female or to achieve a relatively high position in the cats’ loosely organized social hierarchy. This type of aggression involves stalking, staring, yowling, and howling. Attacks are usually avoided if one cat “backs down” and walks away. If an attack occurs, the attacker will usually jump forward, directing a bite to the nape of the neck, while the opponent falls to the ground on his back and attempts to bite and scratch the attacker’s belly with his hind legs. The cats may roll around biting and screaming, suddenly stop, resume posturing, fight again, or walk away. Cats don’t often injure one another this way, but you should always check for puncture wounds, which are prone to infection. Neutered males are much less likely to fight in this way— another great reason for having your animal sterilized.
Leave me alone!
Defensive aggression occurs when a cat is attempting to protect himself from an attack he believes he cannot escape. This can occur in response to punishment or the threat of punishment from a person, an attack or attempted attack from another cat, or any incident that makes the animal feel threatened or afraid. Defensive postures include crouching with the legs pulled in under the body, laying the ears back, tucking the tail, and rolling slightly to the side. These responses are not the same as the submissive postures dogs show because they’re not intended to “turn off” an attack from another cat. Continuing to approach a cat in this posture is likely to precipitate an attack.
■ If your cat’s behavior changes suddenly, your first step should always be to contact your veterinarian for a thorough health examination. Cats often hide symptoms of illness until they’re seriously ill, and any change in behavior may be an early indication of a medical problem.
■ Spay or neuter any intact pets in your home. The behavior of one intact animal can affect all of your pets.
■ Start the slow introduction process over from the beginning. You may want to talk to an animal-behavior specialist for help implementing these techniques.
■ In extreme cases, consult with your veterinarian about medicating your cats while you’re working on a behavior-modification program. Veterinarians are the only people who are licensed and qualified to prescribe medication for your cat, so don’t attempt to give your cat any over the-counter or prescription medication without some guidance. Animals don’t respond to drugs the same way people do, and a medication that may be safe for a human could be fatal to an animal. Also keep in mind that these medications, by themselves, aren’t a permanent solution and should only be used in conjunction with behavior modification.
What Not To Do
■ If your cats are fighting, don’t allow the fights to continue. Because cats are so territorial, and because they don’t establish firm dominance hierarchies, they won’t be able to “work things out” as dogs sometimes do. The more often cats fight, the worse the problem is likely to become. To stop a fight in progress, make a loud noise (like blowing a whistle), squirt the cats with water, or throw something soft at them. Don’t try to pull them apart.
■ Don’t let future fights happen. This may mean keeping the cats totally separated from each other while you’re working on the problem, or at least preventing contact between them during situations likely to trigger a fight.
■ Don’t try to punish the cats involved. Punishment is likely to elicit further aggression and fearful responses, which will only make the problem worse. If you attempt to punish either combatant, you may even become a target for redirected aggression. Because their social organization is somewhat flexible, some cats are relatively willing to share their house and territory with multiple cats. It’s not uncommon for a cat to tolerate some cats, but not get along with others in the house. But the more cats who share the same territory, the more likely it is that some of your cats will begin fighting with each other. When you introduce cats to each other, one of them may send “play” signals which can be misinterpreted by the other cat. If those signals are interpreted as aggression by one of the cats, then you should handle the situation as “aggression”.
There are many factors that determine how well cats will get along with one another, but even animal-behavior experts don’t fully understand them. What we do know is that cats who are well socialized (those who had pleasant experiences with other cats during kitten hood) will likely be more sociable than those who haven’t been around many other cats.
In order to have a dog that brings companionship, pride and peace-of-mind, pet training is imperative. Training a dog decreases behavioral issues and strengthens the owner-pet bond, making it the responsibility of every dog owner.
Why train your pet?
- To keep your dog safe. Dogs that know commands are less likely to run off and sustain injuries or get lost.
- To understand your pet’s needs. Communication between you and your pet will only help you form a stronger, more trusting bond.
- For your dog to be more sociable, learn boundaries & be manageable in each interaction.
- To make boarding OR travelling with your dog easier for everyone involved.
Dog Walk Training
Are you planning any major changes in the future?
Changes like moving or having a baby can impact your ability to keep the pet you plan to adopt. What we want to avoid is returning a pet due to a circumstance that prevents you from keeping the animal. If you have a major life event coming up and are unsure you can accommodate a new pet, wait to adopt until you are sure the furry friend can fit into your situation.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Shelters and Rescue Organizations are a great place to find a pet to welcome into your home.
The Inland Valley Humane Society & S.P.C.A. cares for the homeless, abandoned, neglected and injured animals of our service area. We are constantly welcoming new animals that are in search of a home into our shelter with varying ages, breeds and species (That’s right! We don’t just have dogs and cats.)
You can find a shelter or rescue local to you by simply searching “pet adoption near me” online.
There are lots of dog breeds that can be classified into different categories! Evaluate what is important to you and what kind of breed fits into your lifestyle.
For example, if you have a busy lifestyle and won’t be able to take your dog on extensive walks or exercise them as frequently, a young, high-energy big breed dog may not fit into your everyday life.
Breed Factors to Consider:
- Activity Level
- Coat Type/Shedding