For most pet owners the idea of having to say goodbye to a furry member of the family, for any reason, is heartbreaking and unbearable. There are moments, though, when for some very legitimate reasons you can no longer provide a good home for your pet, or they're no longer a good fit for your family. If you are a pet owner in a tough position, it's natural to wonder when you should re-home your pet. For better or worse, there are some signs that can let you know that a drastic, albeit sad, change might just be necessary (and beneficial) for everyone.
First, you should know you aren't alone. According to a national survey conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), an estimated 6.14 million people in the United States have re-homed their pets every five years for a variety of reasons, including problems related to their pet (e.g. aggression), their family (e.g. health problems), or their housing (e.g. unable to have pets). Because the same study notes that many of these situations are completely beyond the pet owners' control and not easily fixed, sometimes the best choice is finding the pet a new home.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are resources available to help pet owners get past some common situations that might make them consider re-homing a pet. For instance, many pet behavioral problems are actually medical problems that can be treated by a veterinarian. There are also financial resources available for pet owners who are no longer able to afford to take care of their pet. But if you find yourself in a situation where having a pet is negatively impacting your health, your family, or your pet's ability to thrive, it might be time to say goodbye. Read on for some expert advice on when to make that call:
You Don't Have Enough Time For Them
Some pets require a lot of time and energy, and if your situation changes — you get a new job, have a baby, or get sick — you might find you are unable to offer them the level of care they deserve. Unfortunately, this might mean having to make a tough choice about re-homing your pet.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, when you are interviewing a potential adopter you should definitely ask them how much time they can set aside for a pet. Some furry friends like cats are OK being along for long periods of time, but others, like dogs, need regular social interaction or they might get bored or destructive.
Your Pet Has Been Violent
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million dog bites happen each year, mostly to children. The same site notes that often dog bites can be prevented by teaching your kids how to interact with their pet, and keeping them separated during meal time or when your pet is sleeping. If your dog has bitten your child, though, it might be time to re-home them to a home without children, according to Best Friends Animal Society.
You Can't Have Pets Where You Live
According to the ASPCA, 18 percent of pet owners who have re-homed their pet did so because they couldn't have pets where they lived or no longer had enough space for their furry friend. While the Humane Society of the United States notes that there are pet-friendly housing options available in many communities, they might not be affordable or it might not be possible for you to move.
Your Pet & Kids Don't Get Along
According to Family Paws Parent Education, there are ways to help ensure that your child and pet are safe and sound in the same space. For instance, you should definitely supervise your child and pet at all times, use baby gates, and create positive encounters between your baby and your fur baby. If, however, they can't learn to get along, you may need to find a child-free home for your pet where they can be safe and secure.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), if you or your child is allergic to your pet, there are things you can try to reduce symptoms, like using antihistamines, removing carpet from your home, or grooming your pets regularly. It might also be wise to, if you can, see an allergist for immunotherapy to treat your allergy. If all else fails, though, the same site notes that you might have to find a new home for your pet, as pet allergies can be serious and can make symptoms worse in people with asthma.
You Can't Afford To Care For Them
As the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) notes, all pets deserve food, shelter, and medical care. Sometimes, though, things happen that interfere with our ability to provide that care. The American Human Society notes that there are resources available to help pet owners with veterinary care, food, and other pet care costs. However, if you find that you still can't afford to offer your pet the care they need, it might be time to find them a new home or surrender them to a humane shelter.
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