10 Reasons People Take Pets to the Humane Society.


We see lots of new puppies at Animal Family this time of year.  Everybody loves them!  They are sweet little bundles of  fuzzy cuteness!  They make coming to work wonderful!

We also do a lot of  spays and neuters for the Humane Society of Scott County.  From past experience, we know that when fall rolls around there will be an uptick in surrendured young adult dogs.  Fortunately for us, we will only see those that are lucky enough to be adopted.

According to the ASPCA, “approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.” 

That is a really sad statistic.  We work closely with local shelters and are always surprised at the quality of the pets we see.  These animals are neither worthless nor dangerous.  In fact, often the opposite is true.  Many are pure bred and almost all are loving, healthy animals who through no fault of their own end up homeless.

The 10 most common reasons owners give when surrendering a pet at the Humane Society of Scott County are:

  1. The owner is moving and is not able to take their pet with them
  2. The pet is too active for the owner to handle.
  3. The owner does not have enough time to devote to pet care
  4. The owner has encountered problems with housebreaking
  5. The animal is too expensive to care for.
  6. The animal is too young, too old or has developed health issues.
  7. The owner or a family member is allergic to the pet.
  8. The pet does not get along with another animal in the household.
  9. The pet belonged to a child who no longer lives in the home.
  10. The pet has become pregnant

Do you see a common thread among many of the reasons for pet relinquishment listed above?   How many of these problems could be avoided by a little research and planning before acquiring a pet.  For all the information on specific breeds that is available, it seems that people still jump into pet ownership on impulse.

So, please, before you bring a pet into your life, do your research. Think about your lifestyle, future plans, and overall health.  How busy are you?  Can you even afford a pet at this time?  Do you have the time or interest for training, walks and general health and coat care.  Don’t pick your pet based on looks.  Don’t assume you have to have a puppy and never, ever give a pet as a gift without a thorough discussion with the prospective new owner first.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Most importantly, thanks for taking the time to learn why we need to research before bringing any new pets into our life.

Animal Family’s Easy Guide to House Breaking your Puppy

 When it comes to puppy training consistency is the key.


  • Always use the same door to take your puppy outside to eliminate. 


  • Take him or her to the same area.  Hopefully once that area smells like urine and stool their sense of smell will help stimulate them to eliminate.


  • Go out with them, so you can praise while they are going and give a treat right afterwards.  Don’t give them their treat once they are in the house.  If you do,  you praised them for is coming back in, not going potty outdoors.


  • Always use the same word for elimination, Start talking as soon as you take them out of the kennel and continue until you get to the designated place outside.  Choose a word.  It can be “go potty”, “do your business” or any other phrase that works for both you and your puppy.


  • If your puppy starts going to the door on his or her own, ask them to let you know it’s time to go out.  An easy way to do this is to hang a bell by your door.  You can teach the pup to touch the bell or simply reward them when they do it inadvertently. 


  • If your puppy goes outside and doesn’t get down to business (within 5 minutes or so) bring them back indoors and put them in their kennel (yes I do recommend crates or kennels).  Wait about 15-20 minutes and try again.  Make a big deal about it when they go outside (“YEH!!! GOOD PUPPY, GOOD JOB….LOOK HOW SMART YOU ARE!!!!!”)  Go ahead and give a treat as well. (Remember,  give the treat while they are outside.)


  • Anytime your puppy has been playing for more the 30 minutes go outside again…… Puppies can’t engage in more than  30-50  minutes of active play without needing to eliminate!


  • Puppy stays in the kennel when you can’t give them 100 %  of your attention!!!! That way they can’t sneak off into another room.  Use it like a play pen or crib for babies .  As they get better, try using the kennel less and less. 


  •  If your puppy makes a mistake in the house, clean it up thoroughly and be more vigilant.  The fewer mistakes your puppy makes indoors the faster he or she will learn.  No corrections unless you catch them in the act.  If you see your pup going potty in the house, startle and redirect.  Yell, shake a penny can or throw a toy towards them and then quickly take them to their designated area outdoors.  Spankings just scare and confuse the puppy.


  • Repeat as needed for good house breaking…. If you put all of your work in at the beginning you and Rover WILL SUCCEED! 


  •  House breaking is easier in the winter.  I find that you and your dog spend very little time outside, so the puppy really learns what you want.  Whereas in the summer, when both people and pets want to spend a lot of time outside,  puppy can potty any time and may have a much harder time understanding the actual mission.  Still if you are consistent you will get the job done.

Hot Weather Care Tips for Your Pet


We have started to get some hot weather.  Temperatures have already reached the 90s on some days and with our recent rains, the humidity has been up as well. At our house, we cope by switching to shorts and light t-shirts, drinking lots of water and taking breaks indoors or in the shade.  We also produce quite a bit of sweat and may take an extra shower.  That works for us but what about our pets?

Dogs and cats don’t have the same options.  They may shed out some coat but still have to cope with a body covered in fur.  They sweat through their paw pads but primarily dissipate body heat by panting. In warm, humid weather, that may not be enough.

So what can you do to make summer more comfortable and safer for your pet?

  • Provide lots of fresh water.  Make sure it is in a container that can’t be overturned by mistake and that there is enough to last all day.  In addition, if you use a zip line or some other type of tether you need to make double sure your pet can’t become entangled and unable to reach either shade or a source of water.
  • Indoors or out.  Is there a place where your pet can stay cool and out of the sun?  That may mean keeping your pet indoors in the air conditioning.  However, there is nothing wrong with a dog run or backyard shelter as long as there is access to shade, water and hopefully a cooling breeze.
  • Jogging – maybe not.   Your dog is in good shape.  He jogs with you all winter long.  However, that doesn’t mean that it is safe to continue the same routine in the summer heat.  Remember, dogs can’t cool themselves like we do.  Add that to the fact that your loyal companion will keep going no matter how hot he/she gets and you have a recipe for disaster.  Unless you run early in the day, long, before the heat sets in, leave the dog home.
  • Never leave your pet in the car!  Want to know why?  Check out this data compiled by the Animal Protection Institute.  If your car is closed with no open windows and it is 82 degrees outdoors, the temperature in your car is 109.   At 91 degrees, it is 115 in the car.   Think cracking the windows help?  If it is 84 degrees outside the temperature in the car is still 98 degrees.    At 90 degrees, it is 108 in the car.  Got the picture?  Even leaving your pet in the car while you run in for a short errand can be deadly.
  • What are the signs of heat stroke?  You may see excessive panting, stumbling, weakness, stupor and bright red gums.  Body temperatures of 104 degrees or more is possible As heat stroke progresses, seizures, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, coma and death may occur.  “Parked car” or brachycephalic breeds such as Bull Dogs, Pugs, Boxers, etc… are more susceptible to heat related problems. Heat stroke isn’t limited to dogs and cats.  Your bunny, chinchilla and even reptiles can suffer heat related problems as well.    Make sure they have shade and plenty of water.
  • If you suspect heat stroke it’s an emergency!  Hose your pet down and bring him/her to the clinic immediately!  Don’t try to treat on your own.  Too much cooling and your pet will actually become too cold.  In addition, heat stroke can literally cook internal organs. Pets who have suffered heat stoke may develop swelling and edema of the trachea making it difficult for them to breathe.  IV fluids, supportive care and monitoring are a must. 
  • Other suggestions for a safer summer.  Pet pools are great for helping your buddy cool down but remember to change the water frequently. Think about getting a pet fountain that provides a continuous stream of fresh, cool water to drink.  Fans can help where air conditioning isn’t available.  Bandanas and body wraps made specifically for cooling can help.  After soaking in cool water, these products can provide relief for a limited time.  Shaving??  That’s up for debate but if you do, remember your pet will be much more likely to sunburn.  Bunnies can benefit from a frozen pop bottle in their cage.  Just make sure to wrap them in a cloth before placing them in with the bunny and watch for chewing on the cloth or bottle.  Cold blooded pets require care on two accounts.  Air conditioning can be TOO COLD and a terrarium that is up against a hot window can easily become an oven.  This applies to birds as well.  Too much draft and cold will result in upper respiratory problems.  Too much heat can cause heat stroke and death.


So, enjoy yourself this summer, but, please remember to keep your pet’s well being in mind too. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 563-391-9522.