May 4-10 is “Be Kind to Animals Week.” The American Humane Association came up with this idea in 1915 to celebrate the human-animal bond and, of course, encourage kindness toward animals. For many pet parents, this may seem repetitive – after all, we’re kind to animals

The human-animal bond is certainly a special one. As we know, many pets today are viewed as members of the family. While they can sometimes do little things to annoy us, like chewing on our things or using the throw rug as a bathroom, the unconditional love we share with them is worth it. There is nothing like playing or snuggling with a beloved pet to erase the stress of a long day.

In honor of Be Kind to Animals Week, think about what you can do in your own life to encourage kindness toward animals. While obviously this applies to your own pets, be they dog, cat, horse, chicken or guinea pig, perhaps you can also use this week to help out needy animals in your community.

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Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

1. Be an advocate for your pets: They can’t speak for themselves, and they rely on you for their care. Keep up with regular wellness checkups, and don’t hesitate to mention even the smallest thing that might be out of whack with your pet. As vets, we know that you know your pet best!

2. Be an advocate for other pets: Become informed about legislation that may have an impact on the animals in your community, including breed-specific legislation. These may affect your or your neighbors, so get involved and speak up!

3. Report animal abuse: Anything you see that may be abuse of an animal should be addressed. If you suspect abuse is happening, contact your local humane society, animal control office or police office.

4. Volunteer or donate to an animal shelter: Gather information about volunteering at your local shelter and see if your schedule might allow you to help out in person. If time is just too scarce, make a donation of another kind. Shelters can always use monetary donations, but check with them to see what else they need. Blankets, towels, litter, newspaper, toys and food are often much appreciated, too.

5. Consider adopting a new family member: If it works for your family, this would be a great time to adopt another pet. So many pets have no family to call their own, and what greater kindness can you show than to provide a forever home to a pet in your local shelter? Just be sure that your whole family (four-legged members included!) is prepared before you bring home a new pet.

6. Consider fostering a pet in need: If adoption is out of the question for your family right now, consider fostering a pet. By bringing a pet into your home as he waits for a forever home, you’ll not only help the pet but the shelter as well, by creating more space for other pets in need of good homes.

May 6, 2014
Pet Care

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