Winter Safety Tips

By: Kaitlin McCarthy

With the temperature dropping and winter just around the corner, it is important to keep your pet warm and safe. Here are some tips to ensure your pet is comfortable during the cold months:

  • Between the cold weather outside and warm temperature inside, it’s important to
    protect your pet’s skin. Going between warm and cold temperatures quickly can irritate a dog’s skin.  The ASPCA recommends completely drying off your dog, along with his/her paw pads to remove any snowballs and/or salt from between their pads. Salt will not only irritate the skin, but if ingested can cause serious health issues.

  • If you plan on putting ice salt down on your driveway to prevent slippery spots, it’s important to use non-toxic or all natural products. Salt can get caught in a dog’s fur or between the pads of their paw and if ingested can make a dog seriously ill. Check out SafePaw or Paw Thaw at your local Petco. If you don’t feel comfortable putting ice salt down around your pet, you can also try dog boots. Boots will protect your dog’s paws from extreme cold, salt and sharp ice. It might take some time for your dog to adjust to something on his/her paws, but boots are the safest option.

  • Just like people, dogs can have a hard time warming up and staying warm once cold.
    It’s a good idea to give your pet extra blankets and pillows in the winter, especially if you dog has a short coat. Another option is to get your dog a heated dog bed or heating pad. Dr. Foster Smith online offer heated beds as well as other winter essentials. Don’t forget to keep your dog’s bed away from windows and vents, cold air can creep in giving your dog more than a cold nose.

  • For families with cats, particularly outdoor cats, it is important to provide a safe and warm haven in the event your cat is not able to get inside. Purchasing or creating a shelter can ensure your cat has a place to go in the middle of the night or when mother nature decides to let it snow. Basic shelters can be created with items from a local Home Depot or Lowes.

Are You Ready to Adopt a Rescue Animal? 8 things to consider first.

title

Last week, we talked about some of the incredible benefits of pet ownership. If you’re thinking it might be time to get a cat or dog, adoption through a shelter or foster program like Survivor Tails is a great way to go! Not only are you saving a life, but you’ll have plenty of loveable pets to choose from. However, before you get taken in those big brown puppy eyes or an infectious purr, there are 8 things to consider to make sure you are truly ready to adopt a rescue animal.

1. Getting a pet is a life-time commitment.

It’s easy to be swept up in the moment when you’re choosing a pet, but remember that adopting is a life-time commitment—the animal’s lifetime, that is. Some dogs can live as long as 18 years and many cats live into their early 20s. Of course, not all pets will live that long, but it’s worth doing some research into the breed of animal you are considering adopting so that you know what to expect.

 

2. Does a pet fit into your lifestyle?

Everything from the size of your home to your work schedule can influence your ability to care for a pet. Rather than taking home the first cute puppy you see and expecting him to fit into your life, take some time to consider what kind of pet you really want. Are you looking for an energetic dog to play fetch with in the backyard or a sedate kitty to snuggle with in your tiny apartment?

chachi

This is Chachi, one of the many adorable dogs available for adoption right now.

 

3. How future life changes might affect your pet.

Sometimes people end up relinquishing their pets because they are moving or going through another life change that makes pet ownership difficult. Of course, you can’t plan for everything, but think about how possible changes in your future might affect a pet. What happens if you move? Change work schedules? Get married? Have a baby?

 

4. Is anyone in your home allergic to animals?

This might seem pretty obvious, but do you know whether anyone you live with might be allergic to the type of pet you are getting? It’s definitely worth finding out before you bring that cuddly kitten home.

teddy

Teddy is one of a litter of five kittens currently looking for forever homes.

 

5. Pets take time.

You’ll be responsible for feeding and grooming your pet, as well as making sure they get enough exercise and taking them to the vet if they get sick. Different pets require different time commitments. Do you have time for a daily walk with a dog or would you rather just have a cat who can go out without you?

 

6. Pets take money.

Have you thought about all the potential costs involved? What about kitty litter, a dog house, training classes, and toys? Did you know that you can get pet insurance to help with vet bills? There’s a lot to consider, so make sure you do a little adding up before making the commitment. Here’s a good article that discusses the annual cost of having a pet.

daisy

Daisy is a pit bull mix puppy. You can find out more about her and other adoptable pets by visiting http://www.survivortails.rescueme.org.

 

7. Is your home safe for pets?

Before you bring an animal into your home, be sure it’s safe. Exposed cords, accessible chemicals, and other household hazards can be dangerous to your new pet. For some suggestions on making sure your home is pet-proof, check out this article.

 

8. Are you ready to be a responsible pet owner?

Owning a pet can be lots of fun! However, it’s also a big responsibility. You’ll be in charge of making sure that your pet is healthy and safe for other people and animals to be around. You will need to know what the local ordinances are for things like licensing and leash requirements, provide your pet with tags or other identification, and ensure that your pet is well-trained. And that’s on top of all the other issues we’ve already mentioned.

honeybunny

Honey-Bunny is a 9-year-old Dachshund in need of a good home.

 

Sometimes animals wind up in shelters, and even facing euthanasia, because their owners might not have been as prepared for pet ownership as they initially thought. So, while we love pets and love the humans who foster and adopt them, we want to make sure that potential pet owners are ready to take on the responsibility, as well as the joys, of gaining a four-footed family member. We encourage you research and think before adopting!

 

If you are thinking about adopting through Survivor Tails Animal Rescue, you can learn more and check out the animals waiting to find their forever homes by visiting our website. And if you have questions, you can contact one of our volunteer coordinators by emailing adoptions@survivortails.org or check out this blog post that addresses some common adoption concerns.

Title image via Unsplash.

What Are Pets Good For? 5 Reasons to Adopt a Pet.

The 2015-2016 APPA survey indicates that 65% of U.S. households include a pet. Ever wonder what all the fuss is about? Whether you’re seriously considering getting a pet, or just curious about why so many people do, here are 5 reasons that explain exactly what pets are good for.

1. Pets are good for your heart.

cat

Source: Unsplash

Really, they are! According to the CDC, owning a pet can result in lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Why? Probably because pets tend to have a calming effect on their owners, helping to combat stress, and because pets can help you stay more active. If you want to know more, check out this article from Harvard Healthy Publications.

2. Pets are good for helping you lose weight.

walk

Source: Pexels

You wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds, but you know you don’t exercise enough. Sound familiar? Owning a pet, especially a dog, can be a great motivation to get up, get outside, and get moving. This article from Weight Watchers notes a study that showed participants who walked as little as 20 minutes a day, five times a week, lost an average of 14 pounds!

3. Pets are good for your social life.

Want to be more social? Pet ownership not only gives you an instant animal pal, but can help you make more human friends as well. For example, one study found that pet owners were 60% more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood! Just taking your dog for a walk can be a great way to meet new people and any kind of pet gives you an instant conversation starter.

crowd

Source: Pixabay

4. Pets are good for your mental health.

hammock

Source: Unsplash

If you ever feel stressed out, anxious, depressed, or lonely, having a pet can help to relieve these negative emotions and improve your overall mental health. Partially, for all the reasons listed above, like getting outside and being more active, but also because of the hormone oxytocin.

Oxytocin is released during physical contact and plays a big role in human relationships, causing us to feel more relaxed, trusting, and psychologically stable (PyschCentral). But did you know that interacting with your pet can also increase your oxytocin levels? For more on the psychological benefits of pet ownership, check out this Psychology Today article or this one from Huffington Post.

5. Pets are good for your children.

Have your kids been begging for a pet? There are plenty of reasons to give in. Not only can your children enjoy all the above benefits, but there is research that indicates having pets in the home actually reduces your child’s risk of developing some types of allergies. Is your child learning to read? Pets also make great reading buddies, since kids may feel more relaxed reading aloud to a pet than to an adult.

kids

Source: Unsplash

Pets are great for all these reasons and so many more! If you live in Massachusetts or New Hampshire and are considering fostering or adopting a rescue animal, visit our website to learn more about Survivor Tails Animal Rescue. If you live somewhere else, we encourage you to seek out shelters and animal rescue organizations in your area. There are many, many healthy, loving animals just waiting for a good home!

Of course, pet ownership may not be for everyone. Next week, we’ll be talking about things to consider before you adopt, so keep watching for that!

In the meantime, if you already own a pet or are seriously thinking about getting one, take a moment to comment and let us know what you love about pets!

Adopting a Pet from Survivor Tails? Here’s what you need to know!

By: Alex Cheng, Adoption Coordinator

So you’re interested in adding a furry family member, and you’ve decided to turn to rescue! That’s AWESOME – congratulations on such an amazing decision to save a life. You’re probably super excited to get started and eager to give a pal a forever home; we’re equally as excited to work with you to find your perfect match!

Survivor Tails Animal Rescue’s most important mission is advocating for our furry friends who can’t advocate for themselves, and that includes matching them with their perfect forever home. Sometimes, the adoption process can be frustrating and confusing, and we completely understand.

14650755_1399711130046661_3182799634440312590_n

This is Ricks!  And he is adoptable through Survivor Tails!

You’re asking for an application, and an adoption phone interview, and a home visit. Why is this such an involved process?

It is a very involved process, and it takes many volunteers to help one animal find their forever home. When adopting animals out to forever families, we want to make sure everything is a perfect fit, and that the animal will be safe, happy and even spoiled in their new home. The process is meant for us to really get to know you, so that we’re absolutely sure that both the animal and your family will be completely at ease with the new addition.

A home visit seems kind of invasive and stressful!

The home visit portion of the adoption process is not meant to be invasive or stressful! We’re not here to be nitpicky about how you keep your house – we want to make sure that your new furry family member will be safe in their new home. We’ll ask for a tour, and look for areas of potential concern. Many times, your Adoption Coordinator will send you home visit notes! These are usually minor things, such as, “Noted some exposed wires – please find a way to put these out of Fido’s reach during decompression period until you know his chewing habits.” If you’re worried about the home visit, ask your Adoption Coordinator what to expect. They’re more than happy to help you out!

I’ve emailed you and you haven’t responded 😦

We respond to all inquiries from adopters! We understand that you’re excited, and we’re excited for you, too. Unfortunately, we can’t always respond super-fast, and our usual response rate is within 72 hours. Just remember that all of us are volunteers, and we have full-time jobs, families, pets and lives outside of rescue, which means we aren’t always manning our inboxes 🙂

10-14 days to be approved to adopt a dog?! But I can just walk into a shelter and take a dog home today!

You could, yes! And if you decide to go the shelter route, that’s great – you’re saving a life there, too. It takes a village to adopt out a dog at Survivor Tails: each application is worked on by at least 3 volunteers! Sometimes everything happens fast, but sometimes volunteers need a few extra days to complete a task. We’re all volunteers, after all! We’re working hard to make sure every dog is matched perfectly with a family.

I’m terrified of being denied the ability to adopt.

Survivor Tails will not deny you the ability the adopt unless we truly believe that the animal will not be a good fit for your home. We will work with you at every step to ensure that you understand what’s happening throughout the entire adoption process. We don’t want to deny any adopter – in fact, the more adopters we approve, the more animals we can adopt out!

Oh my gosh, I’ve talked to so many people, and I don’t know who to go to with questions now!

Not to fret, you can always ask your Adoption Coordinator anytime you’re not sure where to turn. That’s what they’re there for 🙂

We hope this has answered some of the questions surrounding Survivor Tails’ adoption process! If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below, or to email adoptions@survivortails.org  We’re happy to help – and if we get more questions, we can do a FAQ part two on the adoption process!