Lori Schluth, DVM, explains why we must keep pets out of shelters.
AS A VETERINARIAN who has worked at a large city shelter, I have unfortunately seen and treated numerous diseases that are preventable by keeping dogs and cats out of the shelter in the first place.
Stress sickens cats
For cats, the number one medical problem in the shelter is upper respiratory tract infection. Cats by nature are very easily stressed creatures. When they enter a animal shelter environment and become stressed they are weakened and unable to fight off common infections.
The common cold can kill
Sadly, some cats die in shelters from something similar to the common cold in humans. This kind of severe respiratory illness is rarely seen in routine practice and is largely preventable by keeping cats out of the shelter system.
Dogs need a home to stay healthy
As for dogs, they become sick with respiratory and other infections as well. But to me the saddest complication of dogs entering the shelter system is the effect of shelter life on the dogs’ behavior. As you probably know, dogs are very social animals and need to be around other dogs and/or people. All the time. As you may not know, most animal shelters do amazing jobs recruiting volunteers to spend time with the dogs in their care. However, nothing can replace constant connection and social contact in a home environment.
It’s a mental health issue
What happens in the shelter, especially with extended stays, is a dog’s mental health begins to suffer. They can potentially develop serious behavior problems making adoption and getting out of the shelter even more difficult. Keeping dogs out of the shelter system in the first place helps prevent them from developing problem behaviors and mentally suffering.
I love that Get Your Pet keeps pets out of shelters
I love the idea of Get Your Pet simply because it helps eliminate the medical and behavioral problems created by a dog or cat leaving a home environment and entering a shelter. These two above examples of shelter specific problems are preventable by the home-to-home adoption concept of Get Your Pet.
By Lori Schluth, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine affiliated with New Hope Veterinary Hospital and the Pennsylvania SPCA, among others.