February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

5 reasons why you should spay/neuter your pet

During National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month this February, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds the public that pet overpopulation is a real issue, however, there are steps us humans can take to curb this problem.

“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 & 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:

09-24 Boston Spay Neuter Day_Thumb1. Cost Savings. 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. Reducing 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. Stopping 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. Extending 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. Long-Term Health 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.

ARL offers a number of spay and neuter services and programs, including the Spay Waggin’ and the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters Program.

 

Play it Safe in the Cold

6 winter pet safety tips to protect your pet from the elements

Oh, the weather outside is frightful… It’s winter in New England and the snow, ice, and frigid winds from the Atlantic are upon us. While our human instincts are to cozy-up indoors with a heated blanket and cup of hot cocoa, we know that it’s impossible to hibernate all winter long; even our pets have places to go and people to see!

When you and your pet brave the outdoors, follow these 6 winter pet safety tips:

1. Prepare Rover for the elements. If your dog typically has a longer coat, let it grow out for the winter; it will provide warmth and protection from the cold. If your pup has a short coat, keep him warm with a coat or a sweater. Just like you, your furry friend will enjoy the outdoors much more if he isn’t shivering!

winter pet safety tips

BONUS TIP: Snow can sometimes affects a pet’s sense of smell and their ability to navigate home! Make sure your pet’s microchip and identification tag are up-to-date in the event you and your pet become separated.

2. Keep Fido on a leash. Dogs can easily lose their scent in the snow, so never let your pet off-leash during a snowstorm, or when there’s ice or snow on the ground. If you’re walking near “frozen” ponds, lakes, or streams, remember that ice is not always uniformly thick or stable, and your pup could fall through into the icy water!

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Sidewalks are often treated with rock salt, antifreeze, and other dangerous chemicals. Not only can these chemicals sting your pooch’s paws, but they can be poisonous if ingested. Keep pet wipes by your front door to clean off you dog’s paws and stomach before he licks them first!

6. Never leave your pet alone in a cold car. Just as it’s TOO HOT FOR SPOT in the summer, the temperature in your car can become TOO LOW FOR FIDO and dangerously cold in the winter. The toasty temperatures inside your vehicle don’t stick around for long once the engine is turned off. Always bring your pet indoors with you or leave them safe and warm at home!

For more pet owner resources, click here.

 

7 Holiday Pet Safety Tips

DON’T FORGET… to help your pet have a furry and bright holiday too!

7 holiday pet safety tips to guarantee a celebratory season for everyone in your family:

holiday pet safety

Ditch the tinsel. Our feline friends often think this eye-catching decoration is a toy. Ingestion of this seemingly harmless material can lead to a obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.

1. Decorate with care. Ribbons and tinsel are especially attractive and hazardous to cats, as they can end up their intestinal tract, causing string foreign body blockage. Holiday plants like mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias can cause vomiting, upset stomach, and blisters in your pet’s mouth. Avoid placing lit candles anywhere your pet can reach or on a surface that can be toppled over.

2. Secure your Christmas tree. Your frisky feline won’t be the first to topple over a 6-foot fir! Support your tree with a sturdy stand and wires to prevent tipping, should they decide to make a leap for it. For your canine companions, consider surrounding the base with a baby gate and hanging fragile ornaments higher on your tree.

3. Watch out for wires. Chewing on electrical cords can cause severe oral burns and even fatal shocks for cats and dogs. Secure cords with plastic casing you can find at a hardware store, or cover with a bitter-tasting, non-toxic product from your local pet supply shop.

4. Toss out table scraps. Although it’s tempting, avoid giving  your dog any meat bones that can become lodged in their throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. Also steer clear of sugary or alcoholic beverages, fat trimmings, raw dough and cake batter, onions, mushrooms, and grapes, which can cause severe abdominal issues, organ failure, toxicity, and even death. Allow your furry friend  to indulge with extra tasty pet treats instead!

5. Travel safely. If your entire family is making the trip to grandma’s house, securing your pet in a crate or seat belt harness may save their life should you get into an accident. If your pet isn’t used to being on the road, place treats and toys in and around your parked car a few days before your travels to let them sniff around. Then take a spin around the block to get them comfortable in the moving vehicle. You don’t want to begin a two hour trek only to find out that they become easily carsick!

6. Keep your pet stress-free. The holidays can be a stressful time of year for everyone- including your pets!  If your pet is timid around new people or those they rarely see, it may be best to keep them in a separate quiet room with toys and treats to keep them occupied.

7. Check the (micro)chip. Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals during the holidays when pets are more likely to escape as visitors go in and out of the front door. Be sure your microchip contact information is current and that your pet’s collar is always on to ensure an easy reunion.

From everyone at ARL,

Happy Holidays!

 

For more pet owner resources, click here.

 

Pets As Gifts… CAN Be a Good Idea!

5 factors to consider before you give pets as a holiday 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 holiday even more joyful.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

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

 

5 Thanksgiving Foods Your Pet Should Avoid

Keep your pup joyful and healthy this holiday with these helpful tips

Thanksgiving is a time to savor delicious food, enjoy the company of our family and friends, and to show gratitude for all that we are thankful for in our lives.

Be sure to also keep pets away from food wrappings and decorations, as these items can cause intestinal obstructions!

While it’s wonderful to include your pets in your holiday traditions, it’s important to remember that our furry companions cannot indulge in the same feasts that we prepare for ourselves. Some of the common Thanksgiving foods that fill our plate can actually be very dangerous for your pet to ingest.

Here are the 5 Thanksgiving foods that your dog should avoid:

  1. Turkey bones are small and can become lodged in your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. They may also splinter and cause severe damage to the stomach or puncture the small intestine.
  2. Fat trimmings and fatty foods like turkey skin and gravy are difficult for dogs to digest. In fact, consuming turkey skin can result in pancreatitis. Symptoms for this serious disease can include vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain.
  3. Dough and cake batter contain raw eggs, so the first concern for people and pets is salmonella bacteria. What’s more, dough may actually rise in your dog’s belly, which can lead to vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating.
  4. Mushrooms can damage your dog’s internal organs, including kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. Symptoms can include seizures, coma, vomiting, and possibly death.
  5. Raisins and grapes, although the causes of their toxicity are unknown, can cause kidney failure in dogs.

The best way for your pet to partake in the holiday cheer? Stick with traditional treats that are safe for dogs and cats! Food puzzles and interactive toys like a Kong filled with peanut butter are a great way to keep your canine entertained and feeling satisfied all holiday long.

Bonus tip: Keep your vet’s emergency number handy. Should your pet become ill, contact your pet’s veterinarian or the local animal hospital’s number! A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER. You can also reach Boston Veterinary Care at (617) 226-5605.

For more helpful tips about dog and cat health and behavior, visit arlboston.org/helpfultips

 

Double Your Impact: Matching Gift Challenge

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Donate now through June 15 and have your gift matched dollar for dollar!

A special group of generous donors will match your donation to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, today through June 15.

These donors, who share your compassion for animals, were inspired to create a matching gift opportunity to honor the memory of Stitch, a young dog who was rescued too late to save. Your gift will be doubled to provide safety, shelter, and veterinary care so that more animals can get the second chance that Stitch did not.

Your generosity will make stories like Phil’s possible… Phil Post Pic

(Above) Phil, a Maltese-type dog, was found abandoned inside a crate along the side of a busy road in Hingham, MA. Though he was left with a blanket, toys, and food, he was also left shivering in near-freezing temperatures. Fortunately he was found in time and brought to ARL where he received immediate care.

Our shelter veterinarians determined Phil to be about two years old and, despite his harrowing ordeal, in good health. While skittish upon intake, the friendly pup was quick to warm up, showing off his energetic personality to ARL staff and volunteers.

Much to our delight, Phil quickly found a new loving home. We don’t know why Phil was abandoned. We do know that because of you, Phil was saved and received the care he desperately needed.

There are so many animals like Phil who need your help now. Last year over 6,400 rescued, abandoned, and surrendered animals came through our doors and we need you to help the thousands that will come to us this year.

Your gift today has twice the power to change the lives of animals most in need in Massachusetts. This means you can support twice as many emergency rescues, twice as many anti-cruelty investigations, and twice as many adoptions.

Please make the most out of this tremendous opportunity to double your impact for animals!

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THANK YOU for expressing your kindness and compassion for animals through your gift to the Animal Rescue League of Boston!

VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our Matching Gift Challenge Sponsors; Joan Bendery, Rosemarie & Charlie Boucher, David Fike, The Ellen B. Gray Memorial Fund, Molli Krauz, Charley & Kenneth Levine, Robert & Kathy Mahoney, Tara & Christophe Oliver, Cassie Ryan, and Marilyn Wales.

 

Remembering Arthur G. Slade

ARL President (1977 – 2005)

Arthur Slade

Arthur Slade and his ARL-adopted puppy, Winston.

In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Arthur G. Slade, President Emeritus. During his 41 year tenure at ARL, Arthur was a tireless advocate and unwavering champion for animals in need.  He was extremely passionate about ARL’s mission and cared deeply for every member of our organization and surrounding community.

Arthur served as ARL’s President for 28 years (1977-2005), as ARL’s Vice President for 1 year, and as Director of Operations for 12 years.

For young staff members like Lisa Lagos, ARL’s Dedham Shelter Manager, he was a true role model. “I strive to be more like Arthur every day.”

At ARL’s 100th anniversary celebration, Arthur was awarded the Anna Harris Smith Award. Upon his retirement from ARL in 2005, he was first recipient of the Arthur G. Slade Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with Arthur on numerous occasions and true to his reputation”, says ARL’s President, Mary Nee, “I found him to be a gracious and generous individual, deeply committed to ARL and animal welfare.”

A New England native, Arthur graduated from University of Connecticut in 1956. Following graduation, Arthur served as a first Lieutenant in United States Army, and remained in the Army Reserves until 1965 achieving the rank of Captain.

Prior to joining ARL, Arthur Slade held positions at the Connecticut Humane Society as a law enforcement agent and later as the Director of the Animal Department;  President and Director of the Massachusetts Federation of Humane Societies; Director and Treasurer of the New England Livestock Conservation; Director of the American Humane Association (AHA); National Chairman  of the Animal Advisory Committee of the New England Service Council of the AHA; Director and Assistant Treasurer of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA); Director of Red Acre Farm Foundation; and President and Advisory Director of the Pets and People Foundation of Boston.

Arthur Slade poses with Lt. Alan Borgal at an ARL event.

Arthur Slade poses with Lt. Alan Borgal at an ARL event.

“Mr. Slade was very passionate about animal advocacy and helped push through key legislation in the state with regard to pet shops, rabies vaccinations, dog licensing, and much more,” says Lt. Alan Borgal, ARL’s Investigations Specialist. “He was very well-respected in our field.”

During his long career in the humane field he received many other honors and awards; among them were the Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Agriculture, University of Connecticut in 1986 and the National Lifetime Achievement Award, American Humane Association in 1995.

“Mr. Slade was a man of integrity and always had the best interest of the animals at heart,” says Dr. Rashel Shophet-Ratner, Veterinarian at Boston Veterinary Care.

We know that Arthur’s dedication to animals and people in need can never be put to words, but today we remember him for his genuine kindness. “His compassion shone through in everything that he said and did,” says Beverly Hardcastle, Practice Administrator of Boston Veterinary Care. “Our heart goes out to his family and loved ones.”

Click here to make a gift in Arthur’s memory.

 

All Month: ARL Featured on WBZ Cares

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 … tune-in all month long!

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 is proud to support the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in their habitats and homes.

wbz newsradio 1030 logoIn 2016, ARL served more than 17,800 animals throughout Massachusetts.

WBZ Cares, a public service initiative that showcases the hard work and dedication of local nonprofits, will feature ARL during the entire month of March.

Learn more about ARL on WBZ NewsRadio 1030:

For additional information, visit arlboston.org or wbz.com/wbzcares.

THANK YOU to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 for selecting ARL as charity-of-the-month for March 2017!

 

Pet Me, I’m Irish!

Find your lucky charm at an ARL Shelter today

All the animals at ARL shelters in Boston, Brewster and Dedham are getting into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit!

If you’re looking to add a furry addition to your family, visit our adoptable pets at our shelters from 1 pm – 6:30 pm, Tuesdays – Sundays and find your lucky charm today. (Green top hat not included.)

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When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life.  All adoptable animals at the ARL also receive:

  • Spay or neuter services
  • Health screening and veterinary examination
  • Behavior screening and evaluations
  • Vaccinations and flea/tick/mite treatment
  • Microchip identification and registration
  • And much more!

Speaking of pet-friendly holidays, St. Patrick’s Day is most definitely a festive celebration of Irish culture, music, and the opportunity to dress up in bright green and shamrock prints. (Read: fun!) As with any holiday however, remember to take precautions with food and libations which may not be safe for pets to ingest.

If you plan to celebrate the holiday in a home where a pet resides, keep in mind three safety guidelines to ensure that everyone has a good time:

  1. Keep the leash.  If your dog is a genuinely friendly, relaxed, confident and calm dog with familiar and unfamiliar people, things and dogs, maybe he could be included in St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Still, it’s best to keep your dog leash. The smell of food, a large group of people, and other excited pets can easily overstimulate a dog, increasing the potential for poor behavior and bites.
  2. Watch the secret sippers.  Alcohol is poisonous to cats, dogs, and other animals and can lead to severe illness or death.  Do not leave alcoholic bottles, cans, etc. on the floor or in reach of a pet. Although the container may seem empty, even ingesting trace amounts can cause illness in animals.  If you suspect that a pet may have ingested alcohol, look for the following symptoms and seek emergency medical treatment: excessive drooling, retching, vomiting, stomach distension, elevated heart rate, weakness, low blood pressure, hypothermia, or coma.
  3. Beware the sneaky eaters.  We’ve all had it happen—turn your back for just a second and your pet starts to eat the food right off your plate!  Keep food and snacks out of paws reach because many party foods can be hazardous to cats and dogs.  Though you might be tempted to share your St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage with your furry friend, keep in mind corned beef contains a high amount of sodium, which isn’t good for cats or dogs.  Onions—a frequent ingredient in many corned beef and cabbage recipes—can also damage a cat’s red blood cells, restricting their capacity to carry oxygen effectively.

Find your lucky charm today! Search adoptables

 

I Found A Baby Bird. What Do I Do Now?

The ARL provides tips on when and how to rescue a baby bird on the ground

Spring has sprung. The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. And baby birds are learning to fly.

This time of year, The ARL receives phone calls from concerned citizens who come across baby birds on the ground. Although this sight may seem alarming, remember that part of the process of learning to fly comes with being on the ground. It’s typically best to keep a safe distance and not to intervene unless you’re sure the bird is orphaned or is in immediate danger.

To decide whether or not to step in the next time you spot a baby bird on the ground, follow this helpful flow chart:

What to do if you find a baby bird - flowchart

If the flow chart points you toward intervention, follow these 11 steps to ensure a safe rescue:

How to rescue a baby bird*†:

  1. Grab clean container with a lid and line the bottom with a soft cloth. Poke air holes if there are none.
  2. Wear gloves to protect yourself from the bird’s beak, talons, wings, and any potential parasites.
  3. Cover the bird with a light sheet or towel.
  4. Gently pick up the bird and place it in the prepared container.
  5. Warm the bird if it’s chilled by placing one end of the container on top of a heating pad (low setting) or in a shallow dish of warm water. You can also wrap the container with the warm cloth.
  6. Tape the container closed.
  7. Note exactly where you found the bird. This will be very important for release.
  8. Keep the bird in a warm dark quiet place away from children and animals. Do not give it food or water.
  9. Wash your hands and any clothing and objects that were in contact with the bird to avoid spreading any potential parasites.
  10. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, state wildlife agency, or wildlife veterinarian.
  11. Get the bird to the wildlife expert as soon as possible. It is against the law in most states to keep wild animals in your home if you do not have a permit, even if you plan to release them.

To find a wildlife expert in your area, contact the New England Wildlife Center.

 

*Only adults should rescue baby birds. Before rescuing an adult bird, seek guidance from a wildlife expert.

†Source: Healers of the Wild: People Who Care For Injured and Orphaned Wildlife, By Shannon K. Jacobs