Choosing to care for a pet is a commitment for a pet’s entire lifetime, which can be as long as fifteen to twenty years or even more. Despite best intentions, however, life events and unexpected circumstances sometimes occur. Determining what to do with an animal can be an extraordinary challenge, but it is important to remind everyone not to abandon a family pet outdoors, where all animals face considerable risks.
Re-homing cats, dogs, and other pets can be difficult, depending upon a pet’s age, health, and behavior, but there are steps that pet owners can take to make each pet more adoptable. Social workers can be instrumental in helping pet owners plan and prepare to relinquish or re-home their pets.
What Social Workers and Their Agencies Can Do
- Encourage all pet owners to spay or neuter their animals to ensure a longer life and no reproduction
- Encourage pet owners to schedule veterinary appointments to be up-to-date on vaccinations and to ensure the animal’s overall health
- Encourage those with older pets to consider getting them a senior blood work-up and teeth cleaning
- Encourage a consultation with a pet behaviorist for challenging behaviors, such as litter pan issues, barking, and aggression
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