These 5 cold weather habits will help keep animals safe
Let’s face it: residents of New England are no stranger to the frigid temperatures and harsh precipitation that winter can bring. Whether it’s salting our walkway, defrosting our car windows, or layering ourselves with heavy fabrics, we are quick to adapt to the changing elements.
When the blustery weather hits, adjusting a few more of your daily habits can actually help protect your pet and the animals in your community too! Just add these 5 Dos and Don’ts to your winter safety routine:
1. DO watch the thermometer. Although some animals are conditioned for cold weather, many are not. Whenever possible, bring all pets indoors when the temperature plummets below 20 degrees. Animals with short hair, puppies and kittens, senior pets, and those that have a lowered immune system are most at risk and should be moved inside when the mercury drops below 40 degrees.
2. DON’T forget to check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Unfortunately, this method of warming up can have dangerous consequences, such as severe burns and other grave injuries. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check to wake a napping kitty before you stick the key in the ignition.
3. DO winterize outdoor accommodations. If your livestock or neighborhood feral can’t be moved into a warm garage or basement, ensure that they have adequate protection against the elements. A winter-friendly outdoor shelter should have three enclosed sides, be raised off the ground, have heated water bowls to prevent freezing, and contain bedding, such as clean straw. The space should be big enough for the animal to lay down, stand, and turn around, but small enough to help trap the heat.
4. DON’T leave flames unattended. Pets gravitate toward warm spaces when they’re cold, just as humans do. If you have a working fireplace, wood stove, space heater, candles, or other heat source supervise your pet at all times to keep them a safe distance from hot surfaces and to avoid serious burns.
5. DO pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Long-haired pets, especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat. Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable..
For more helpful tips about dog and cat health and behavior, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.
Meet Zim: From a Rescue, to Patient, to Adopted!
Zim, an 11-month-old tabby classic, came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) after being trapped for more than two days nearly 50 feet off the ground in a tree in Brockton, MA. Responding to calls from surrounding neighbors, ARL’s Rescue Services was able to scale the tree and save the scared and vocal stray.
“He was certainly happy to be out of that tree,” said Mike Brammer, ARL’s Assistant Manager of Rescue Services. “Almost immediately you could tell that he’d been around people and was very friendly.”
Zim’s beautiful markings and sweet demeanor garnered instant attention, but so did a congenital defect called Eyelid Agenesis that was discovered during his intake exam. It’s a condition where part of the eyelid doesn’t form properly, causing fur to rub up against the cornea, resulting in chronic irritation. For Zim, both eyes were affected, increasing the concern.
“If the condition is left untreated, this chronic irritation can permanently damage the cornea and cause vision impairment,” said Dr. Erin Doyle, ARL’s Lead Veterinarian for Shelter Veterinary Services. “This chronic irritation also causes significant discomfort.”
The only way to truly fix the condition is with a skin graft; however the surgery is complicated and requires extensive post-operative care. While Zim’s condition affected both eyes, it wasn’t extremely severe, making cryosurgery an option. Zim had the procedure done by an ophthalmologist at a partner organization less than a week after being rescued out of the tree in Brockton.
“Cryosurgery does not fix the eyelid, but is used to freeze the hair follicles of the fur that is rubbing on the cornea,” Dr. Doyle said. “As such, the cryosurgery removes the chronic irritation caused by the fur and restores comfort to the eyes.”
Zim recovers from cryosurgery wearing a protective cone.
ROAD TO RECOVERY
With the surgery complete, Zim settled in for a few days to recover. Despite undergoing the procedure and being placed in a protective cone, he continued to showcase his personality, purring almost immediately for all the shelter staff and volunteers who would check on the handsome tabby.
Making an excellent recovery, ARL’s veterinary staff determined exactly one week following his surgery that Zim was ready to find his forever home. Certainly not a surprise to anyone at ARL who came in contact with Zim, just a few days after being made available, he has been adopted!
Zim is ready to go to his forever home!
DOING THE WORK ONE ANIMAL AT A TIME
Zim represents the collaborative effort that is necessary to fulfill ARL’s mission of being an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes. No matter how they come into our shelters, all animals are treated with kindness and compassion, but we cannot do the work alone.
ARL receives no government funding, and relies solely on the generosity of individuals to support programs that help animals in need. Please lend your support so ARL can continue to give animals like Zim a second chance at life.
Hop on over to the ARL and ADOPT a bunny today!
Thanks to our knowledgeable staff and volunteers, the ARL has many types of animals available for adoption- not just cats and dogs. If a feline or canine is not the pet for you, or you have limited space in your home, consider SPREADING THE LOVE and adopting a rabbit!
Bunnies like Tifa are searching for a family to love this Valentine’s Day.
8-month-old Tifa is ready to hop her way into your heart! Click the picture to see her profile.
Here are 5 reasons why you should consider adopting a rabbit this February:
- Bunnies spend the majority of their day quietly inside their cage, making them the perfect companions for apartment dwellers.
- Cottontails can be trained to use a litter box, so you won’t have to rush home from work to let them out.
- Hares need minimal exercise every day, so they require less attention than cats or dogs.
- Rabbits are curious, friendly, and will entertain you for hours with their silly antics.
- Hop-a-longs keep themselves tidy and are all about “clean eating”, snacking on salad, hay, and carrots as treats.
Need a 6th reason? All adoptable rabbits at the ARL receive the following: Spay/neuter services, health screening and veterinary examination, behavior screening and evaluations, vaccinations, parasite treatment, and more!
Don’t forget… to please bring a photo of the cage your rabbit will live in, as it’s required for adoption.
SPREAD THE LOVE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY: Not able to ADOPT right now? That’s OK! Consider sponsoring a rabbit’s adoption fee to help a deserving bunny find a home this February! Contact our Boston, Brewster, or Dedham shelter for more information.
Does your dog need a sweater this winter? Answer these 5 questions!
Love it or hate it, many animal-lovers can’t resist a dog in clothing. Whether it be a holiday sweater, a Halloween costume, or simply a fancy collar, photos of a dressed-up doggies are shared by the millions on social media each day.
While the pet retail business may seem frivolous to some, the reality is that some dogs, just like humans, need a little extra help staying warm in the colder months. Sure, your dog naturally sports its own “overcoat”, but some breeds are just not suited to survive in harsh winter climates.
Dog sweaters, coats, and booties may be fashionable, but they can also be extremely functional as well!
Not sure if your if your canine companion needs a dog sweater this winter? Answer YES or NO to our questions below:
Dog sweaters can be both fashionable AND functional! Answer YES or NO to these 5 questions to determine if your dog needs a sweater this winter!
1. Is your dog’s coat made up of short hair like a Boston Terrier’s or French Bulldog’s?
2. If your dog’s coat is made of fur, do you keep it groomed short, as you would a Poodle?
3. Is your dog considered a puppy (under one-year-old), a senior (over 7-years-old), or a toy breed, such as a Chihuahua?
4. Does your dog have a weakened immune system due to health issues, such as hypothyroidism?
5. Do you live in a climate where temperatures dip below freezing during the hours your dog spends time outside?
If you answered “YES” to one or more of the questions above, you may want to consider buying a dog sweater for your canine companion to wear on cold days or during snowfall.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to run out and purchase 17 hound’s-tooth sweater options (unless you want to, of course!) you should browse a little to select outerwear that will work best for your dog.
Take your pooch shopping with you to determine what style, size, and fabrics fits your pup. Make sure whatever you select is simple to put on/pull off and has closures (buttons, zippers, etc.) that are easily accessible.
Your dog’s new sweater may just get everyone at the park saying, “now that’s one practical pup”!
For more useful pet safety advice, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.
5 tips to protect your pet from theft… and what to do if you’re a victim
We do it all the time: We let our cat out in the backyard on a sunny day. We tether our dog to the street lamp to run a quick errand. We live in a safe neighborhood, so what could possibly happen?
Due to the ever-changing economy and the pet business becoming increasingly more lucrative, the scary truth is that pet theft is on the rise. Just as you wouldn’t leave a young child outside unsupervised, the same should go for your pet.With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, don’t forget to show your furry companion how much you love them by keeping them out of harm’s way.
If your pet goes missing, immediately contact your local animal control and shelters.
Follow these 5 important tips to protect your pet from theft:
- At home, keep your pets supervised at all times. Think twice before letting your cat roam freely around the neighborhood or tying your pup to the tree in your front yard.
- Running an errand? Leave your pet at home. Although walking your dog while tackling your daily chores may seem like you’re accomplishing double-duty, the reality is that it only takes a few seconds for a dog-napper to take off with your pet.
- Follow the same rules for pets of all breeds and sizes. Although purebreds and small dogs are the most desirable to a thief for obvious reasons, big friendly dogs or mixed breeds can be just as easily lured into a get-away car waiting nearby.
- Spay or neuter your pet. February is National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and the ARL has been sharing the many health and behavioral benefits of the low-risk procedure. Another perk? Spayed or neutered pets are much less desirable to thieves, since they can’t be bred.
- Microchip your pet. It only takes a second for a thief to remove your pet’s collar, making them very difficult to identify should they turn up at an animal shelter or hospital. Quick and painless, microchipping your pet is extremely important to ensure that you and your pet are reunited.
If you find yourself in a situation where you think your pet was stolen:
- Immediately file a report with your local police department and animal control.
- Contact your pet’s microchip company, as well as local animal shelters and hospitals to see if your pet has turned up.
- Post fliers around your neighborhood, especially in public spaces and businesses, with your pet’s photo, name, breed, color, weight and any distinguishing characteristics.
- If you offer a reward, ask for a very detailed description of your pet and how they came into that person’s possession. If you suspect that you are being scammed, call the police.
- Monitor newspaper ads and online postings to look for any that might fit your pet’s description.
PREVENT PET THEFT BEFORE IT HAPPENS! Report any suspicious activity, or animal cruelty and neglect to your local police department and animal control office.
5 factors to consider before you give pets as Valentine’s Day gift
It seems like a no-brainer… Giving a pet as a present can be a win-win situation for everyone involved: the animal has a cozy home to call its own, the recipient is in a state of awe, and the giver (you!) has made your loved one’s Valentine’s Day even more romantic.
While this is the gift-giving scenario that every animal lover dreams of, make sure it really is the purrfect present for the person on your list.
If giving your loved one a new pet as a present is on your mind, here are 5 things to consider:
- Manage the surprise. Even at the risk of spoiling the surprise, make sure that the intended recipient wants a new pet. Check in with someone who currently has pets or has recently lost one to make sure they are ready.
- Don’t make them sneeze. That’s not a twinkle in their eye; it’s allergies. Confirm any allergies among all household members. No one wants to go get an allergy shot after opening what’s supposed to be an extra special gift, after all.
- Know where they live. Even if you know your intended recipient really wants a pet, ensure that their building and development allows them. If their home is pet-friendly, be sure to confirm any weight or breed restrictions.
- Find out what they can handle. You want to know that the animal you are getting matches the lifestyle, physical limitation, ages, and personalities in the household.
- Adopt from a shelter. When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life. Adopting from a reputable animal shelter like the ARL’s locations in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham also has many practical benefits. All our adoptable animals, for example, receive spay/neuter services, vaccines, and a health and behavioral screening.
Keep in mind… It never hurts to run the idea by your loved one beforehand or take them along to pick out their new pet. They and their new furry friend will be thanking you for many years to come!
The ARL has many deserving animals looking for a home!
It’s not just snowing cats and dogs here at ARL’s shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham. We have many special small shelter pets like birds and rabbits who are looking for loving homes!
Search all adoptables
ARL programs and administrative offices will be closed on February 9
Due to the winter weather, ARL will be closed to the public on Thursday, February 9:
- Administrative offices
- Adoption centers in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham
- Boston Veterinary Care
- Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery
- Rescue Services
- Spay Waggin’
Dedicated staff and volunteers will remain at each shelter location to make sure that the animals in our care remain safe, warm, and in good spirits as the snow flies.
When a snow storm hits, we often receive an increasing number of calls from concerned citizens with questions about feral cats. We suggest trying to coax a feral cat indoors to a garage or basement for shelter. If that’s not possible, watch our helpful how-to video to build a DIY cat shelter.
For more winter weather pet safety tips, visit arlboston.org/winter-pet-health.
Simple and inexpensive to make, a pet emergency kit is a must for your home
Blizzards, flooding, and power outages are par for the course during the harsh New England winters. When you’re stocking your pantry and gathering snow removal equipment for the next big storm, don’t forget to plan ahead for your pet too! In the event of an evacuation, natural disaster, or other emergency the Animal Rescue League of Boston wants to make sure that your pet is already packed and ready to go with you! Follow these 7 steps to keep your pet safe during an emergency In addition to having a sturdy comfortable crate or carrier on-hand for transporting your pet, be sure to prepare a pet emergency kit ahead of time with the following supplies:
- Water-resistant backpack or lightweight bag to hold everything
Don’t forget to bring a photocopy or portable USB drive of your pet’s medical records.
- Food and water – at least 3 days worth!
- Portable food and water bowls
- Manual can opener and fork, or measuring cup
- Litter or newspaper to shred and litter boxes
- Paper towels and trash bags for additional pet sanitation needs
- Bleach (dilute 9 parts water to 1 part bleach for cleaning)
- Pet first aid kit
- Collar with ID tags – be sure the information is up-to-date!
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container
- Grooming items
ALSO, DON’T FORGET… to make your pet easy to ID! If you become separated from your pet, you’ll want to locate and claim them as quickly as possible. Microchipping your pet is always a good idea and a fail-safe way to verify that you’re their owner. Also, keep a photo of you and your pet together handy to help others easily identify them. For more useful pet safety advice, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips.
February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month
Let’s face it: there’s nothing cool about pet overpopulation.
Despite all the health benefits of spaying and neutering pets, approximately one third of pet owners still have not brought their pet in to have the procedure.
Dr. Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Shelter Veterinary Services, believes that lack of affordable options and lingering myths and misconceptions about the low-risk surgery are two major barriers to increasing spay and neuter rates. In fact, ARL frequently addresses these concerns with clients at our Boston Veterinary Care clinic and Spay Waggin’.
Dr. Edward Schettino with Moose, an ARL alum.
ARL Blog sat down with Dr. Schettino to find out the most FAQs about spay and neuter. Here’s what he had to say…
ARL Blog: What do you say to a pet owner who’s concerned that spay or neuter surgery is painful?
Dr. Schettino (DS): Pain is associated with every surgery. At ARL, we use pain medication before, during, and after surgery to make the procedure as pain-free as possible. The majority of dogs and cats are acting 100% normal by the next morning. In fact, the challenging part to the surgery is trying to keep the dog or cat rested when they feel so good.
ARL Blog: Is spay or neuter surgery expensive? What are the local low-cost options/clinics in the area?
DS: Spay/neuter surgeries vary in price depending on location and provider – here’s a link with some great resources – massanimalcoalition.com/resources/spay-neuter. Our Spay Waggin’ also provides affordable spay and neuter services to animals in need on the South Shore and Cape Cod. You can also check with your local veterinarian.
ARL Blog: At what age should dogs/cats be spayed/neutered?
DS: Many veterinarians now spay and neuter dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. You should check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures. And remember, it’s never too late to spay or neuter your pet!
ARL Blog: Should pet owners be concerned that their pet’s behaviors will change after the surgery? Will a male dog, for example, be less of a protector?
DS: Your pet’s behavior will not change. A dog’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones. It is a dog’s natural instinct to protect the home and family.
ARL Blog: What can people to do help end animal overpopulation?
DS: Spay and neuter your pet! Always talk to family and friends and explain to them the benefits of spay/neuter–tell them it’s hip to snip! Help them understand that this will benefit their pet as well as help prevent animal overpopulation. Additionally, people can donate to their favorite animal welfare charity to help support spay/neuter efforts.
For more spay/neuter resources, visit: http://www.arlboston.org/spay-neuter/
5 reasons why you should spay/neuter your pet
During National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month this February, the ARL reminds the public that there’s nothing cool about pet overpopulation.
“There are too many cat and dogs in our communities that don’t have homes,” explains Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare & Shelter Veterinary Services. “Every year, animal shelters like the ARL are inundated with stray and surrendered puppies and kittens that are the result of unplanned litters.”
In fact, national studies have found that amongst pet owners who indicate that their pets had at least one litter, 59% of cat owners and 38% of dog owners described the litter as “unintentional” or “accidental.”
Dr. Schettino believes that one reason that pet owners choose not to spay or neuter their pet is misconceptions about the low-risk surgery. “If we can increase spay and neuter rates, we can help prevent pet overpopulation,”
In addition to the benefits to the community, here are 5 more reasons why you should spay/neuter your pet:
1. You Snip, You Save. The cost of caring for an unplanned litter of puppies or kittens far outweighs the cost of having a pet spayed or neutered. The good news – there are many affordable and free options in Massachusetts!
2. Snipping Reduces Spraying. Neutering resolves the vast majority of marking behaviors—even when a cat has a long-standing habit. Other nuisance behaviors such as howling in cats and excessive barking in dogs eases and even disappears after surgery.
3. Snipping Stops Scuffles. According to the National Canine Research Foundation, approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered. Neutering male dogs and cats reduces their urge to roam and fight with other males.
4. Snipping Lengthens Life Span. The USA Today reports neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered males, and spayed females live 23% longer than unspayed females.
5. Snipping is a Safeguard. Neutering male cats and dogs before six months of age prevents testicular cancer. Spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat offers protection from uterine infections and breast cancer.
For more spay and neuter resources, visit arlboston.org/spay-neuter.