Are you a dog owner or a cat owner? Or are you one of those brave souls that own both? Perhaps you’re more of the goldfish type…?
Regardless, today is National Love Your Pet Day, so let’s celebrate and show some love to the animals!
According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters in the United States each year. Of that, 2.7 are euthanized. Pet overpopulation is a huge problem in the United States. In fact, according to the ASPCA, it is nearly impossible to count the overpopulation of cats alone in the states. Their estimate is around 70 million.
So what can we do about that?
There are several things you can do to help pet overpopulation, starting with your pets.
1. Spay and neuter your pets.
Spaying and neutering is a surgical procedure, preformed by a veterinarian, which makes animals incapable of breeding. Contrary to belief there are many behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering, including: decreasing a dog’s need to roam, therefore keeping them safer, and overall less troublesome behavior.
What if I don’t feel comfortable sterilizing my pet?
There are still a handful of other roads to take if you’re not comfortable sterilizing your pet!
2. Adopt from a shelter to avoid purchasing pets from breeders
There are around 13,600 independent animal shelters in the United States. That doesn’t include organizations. If you’re thinking about getting a pet, consider adopting from a shelter, instead of a paying a breeder. This will decreases the amount of animals getting euthanized, and open up more space for other animals.
3. Keep an eye on your pet
This may seem silly, but it’s important! Keep an eye out on dogs when taking them to the park, beach, etc. You never know when yours, or another dog, may be feeling frisky. Try to watch over your pets at home as well, no matter how well behaved they are. If needed, place a fence in your back yard to avoid your pup or cat from roaming free and finding a mate.
4. Volunteering at shelters and pounds
Animal shelters in the United States are in desperate need for extra help. Have a weekend off? Call your local animal shelter and ask if there’s any help needed. Nine times out of then they will take your offer. Plus, you get to play with the animals all day! No time to volunteer? Try researching a little about the animal shelters in your town. If you find one in need, try and donate. It can be anything from a check, to a bag of dog food. Anything helps.
5. Put a collar on your pet
Putting a collar and a tag on your pet is very important. Tags are generally inexpensive (anywhere from around $10 to $20) and can drastically decrease your pet’s chance of getting placed in a pound or shelter if he/she gets out. Try purchasing a tag and putting important details on it, including your pets name, your name and a number or reach you at in case someone finds him/her.
We may not be able to stop the overpopulation problem, but we can definitely help decrease it, every small bit helps. Now, go find your pet and show them some loving. Give them a big hug and a treat and celebrate National Love Your Pet Day!