5 Ways to Prevent Injury

February 28, 2013

Animal shelters are home to many animals across the United States, and they should be looked after like homes.  They are used for animals as refuges when they are lost, or places to nurse them to health when they are abandoned or mistreated.  With these animals coming to a second home, there are five ways to keep not just them safe, but the caretakers and volunteers as well.

First, know your animal.  When dealing with animals, they can be hostile, confrontational, or even mild.  When working in an animal shelter, knowing the animal’s body language can help you discern what it is, that they are telling you.  If an animal is showing that he wants to confront you, it’s best to wait until they quiet down, because if an animal jumps toward you, you could fall in trying to either subdue or escape the animal.

Second, operating cages.  When opening cages, you always want to use your knees, instead of squatting eye-level to the animal.  The inside of the knees are more practical, in that, your hands are free to move a rambunctious animal back into its cage if need be.  Racing after an animal with full hands, could visually impair you to see clearly and eventually trip.

Third, spills and cleansers.  Cleaning animal cages is an arduous task and should be done thoroughly, yet safely.  If liquids are spilled and you have available kitty litter, spread the kitty litter over the spill and pick up the cleanser.  Use a broom and dustpan and dispose of the litter accordingly.  If no kitty litter is present, dry paper towels are always a great resource, paired with salt, and this way your floor is slip resistant.

Fourth, tools and equipment.   All equipment should be stored and locked away from harm, so that if bucket falls, it falls not onto the floor, where cages are located, but inside stored away places.  This enables to keep the animal shelter free from spills and unnecessary sharp objects that can cause harm to you and the animal.

Last, apparel.  Apparel is a key way to keep from falling when working with animals.  Boots, long pants, and shirts, which are not loose fitting, can protect you from getting snagged on a cage.  Boots with a rubber sole help protect you from slipping.  These are five quick things to remember that can help you from falling in your animal shelter.


As an animal rescue shelter, you need volunteers to help socialize and care for the animals on a daily basis.  Working as a volunteer with animals can be one of the most rewarding experiences however animals especially in a stressful situation can be very unpredictable.  Educating and training your volunteers on personal safety with the animals is very important to protect them, the animals and other volunteers.  You also want your volunteers to be acutely aware of all the possible dangers associated with becoming a volunteer so you will want them to acknowledge and sign a waiver.  This waiver will attest that the volunteer is fully aware of potential hazards of working with animals and is willing to take precautions to prevent accidents.  There are five main points to include in your waiver.

1.  The risks associated with aggressive or scared animals.  Animals may bite or scratch especially if they are feeling threatened.  All animals are unpredictable and can cause serious injuries.

2.  Health risks associated with diseases such as rabies.  Many stray animals come into contact and are exposed to a variety of diseases which they may be able to spread to humans.  If a volunteer is bitten by an animal with rabies they will require immediate treatment and it could also cause death.

3.  Health risks to their own pets and vaccinations required.  Many volunteers have their own pets at home that they love and cherish.  They need to know that those pets must be vaccinated against possible infectious diseases the volunteer may pick up from the animal rescue shelter.

4.  Injuries associated with lifting pets or by walking a dog that pulls.  Depending on the job description of the volunteer, they may be subjected to bending, lifting and other physical demands of the position which can lead to injury especially if not performed correctly.

5.  Possible injuries from slippery floors.  Animal rescue centers have a big job of keeping the animals, their kennels and the facility clean so wet floors may occur to maintain sanitary conditions.

Animal Shelter liability insurance is essential if you are interested in opening up an animal shelter. Animal shelters house stray, lost, and abandon animals – mostly dogs and cats – for an extended period of time. There are several things to consider – the main one is your love for animals. You have to be an animal lover, and should have at least some training or experience in dealing with animals before you consider opening an animal shelter.

When choosing animal insurance for your shelter, your passion for animals and your business should be considered as well. Animal insurance is not just for pet owners. Most business owners invest in some sort of insurance to cover for losses and things that occur unexpectedly. If you are contemplating opening up an animal shelter, you will need to have some sort of insurance in place. Although your love for animals and taking care of them may be your first concern, getting the right type of insurance is essential because this is also a business venture.

There are a number of things to consider when searching for animal insurance for your shelter. There are the typical things that need to be covered like any other business – insurance for employees, fire and theft insurance, and insurance for your equipment. You will also need to consider some sort of liability insurance if something unfortunate happens to the animals in your care, especially those that have been adopted by someone.

For example, if a person adopted a dog or cat from your shelter and brings in their animal for necessary follow-up shots offered or required by your shelter and during the visit the animal is injured from either your negligence or some unforeseen occurrence, you will need to be insured to cover any expenses that may occur or any lawsuit that may be filed by the pet owner.

Be sure you conduct a thorough research for the insurance company that is right for your animal shelter. Compare companies, rates, advantages and disadvantages so you can make the right decision to protect your shelter with the best animal shelter liability insurance available.

Dogs can show aggression with people, cats, cars, food and fellow dogs. There are numerous steps that may help in testing dogs for people aggression.

Consult the vet doctor

First and foremost, you should always make arrangements to take your dogs to the vet for regular checkup as this will help determine the health condition and know whether the health condition is a cause for aggression.  Dogs that suffer from mental ailments may prove to cause aggressive behavior around people.  It can then be controlled through proper medication so that the many aggression problems are easily solved.

Dog training

By taking your dogs to obedience dog training can help determine their behavior. While in the training, dogs with other dogs and people will make it easy to test and see a lot of things.  Furthermore, this will help your dogs to be more agreeable and learn to accept people and dogs of all kinds.

Give separate rooms

By this, they will not feel threatened and hence will be operating in their controlled form without force from the others who may want to dominate others within the dogs’ territory. It will enable the dogs to be independent in all they do and any slight uncouth behavior will be easy to detect.

Keep the dogs busy

It will also be a good step in testing the dogs for people aggression because once they are idle, they become bored and may lose focus in some way. Proper exercise will make them act in their rightful minds as they are kept mentally fit.


Animal shelters are over-run with dogs in need of homes, and testing for food aggression is part of the way dedicated shelter workers and volunteers prepare animal shelter dogs to find good Forever Homes. If you’re involved with food aggression testing, here are some tips to make it easier.

Tip: See a Vet First

Sick or hurt dogs are often aggressive dogs. That’s why it’s so important that all canine shelter residents be evaluated by a qualified veterinarian. Any obvious illness or injury should be treated, but the veterinarian should also check for hidden problems that can cause pain, such as tooth decay. Other medical causes for aggression include thyroid and adrenal issues, orthopedic problems, and sensory disorders.

Tip: Evaluate Dogs as Individuals

While it’s true that certain breeds of dogs tend to have certain characteristics, it’s more important to evaluate dogs on a case-by-case basis. The dog’s individual personality, as well as its history, are the primary factors that control how aggressive it may be, not what kind of dog it is.

Tip: Take Proper Precautions

You don’t want to hurt any of your animal shelter dogs, but you don’t want to get hurt either. Taking proper precautions can prevent injury to yourself as well as your canine charge. For example, use a soft prosthetic limb or other soft-ended reaching device to pull a dog’s food dish away (a standard test to judge food aggression). This will ensure that if the dog bites, it won’t hurt it’s teeth or your hand.

Tip: Don’t Punish

Punishing an aggressive dog will not help. Common motives for food aggression include fear and dominance. Punishing a fearful dog will lead to an increase in fear, while punishing a dominant dog will often cause the dog to “ramp up” the aggressive behavior in order to maintain dominance.

Tip: Do Counter-Condition

Counter-conditioning means teaching different behavior in response to aggression triggers. Consult your local ASPCA, Humane Society or a qualified animal behaviorist for advice on how to provide positive, reward-based counter-conditioning to help the dog overcome aggressive behavior.


Dogs are great pets for a lot of families in the United States. One thing to consider; however, if you plan to get a dog as a pet, is choosing the right breed of dog for you and your family. Once you’ve chosen a breed of dog, you will want to add, or inquire about “dog bite insurance,” with your insurance carrier. Especially if you adopt a dog that many homeowners insurance companies deem to be dangerous and exclude from your insurance policy.

There are many breeds of dogs to choose from, and like humans; each dog will have his own personality. Each breed has specific traits that are common to see throughout the entire breed. It is these traits that need to be studied before making a decision on which breed of dog you want to bring into your home, and before you take out a dog bite insurance policy.

A list of the top 5, most notable dog breeds known for being excluded from homeowner’s insurance policies are:

  • Pit Bulls – One of the most beloved dogs also has the worst reputation with insurance carriers.  Some states, like Maryland are now requiring all Pit Bull owners to carry dog bite insurance.
  • Rottweiler’s — Commonly used as guard dogs because of their aggressive nature; Rottweilers can also be used for other duties; such as, search and rescue, guide dogs for the blind, and police dogs.
  • German Shepherds — German Shepherds have strong jaws. If trained well, they can be good dogs that are obedient and protect the family.
  • Doberman Pinschers — Dobermans are strong, muscular dogs with a lot of energy. They have been used as guard dogs for many years because they’re strong and fearless.
  • Boxers — Boxers are generally good-natured. They make good family pets; however, they are protective, and they are strong.

Any dog or beloved pet has the potential to bite, if they are put in situations that cause fear.  Protect yourself and your family today by being proactive and check with your homeowner’s insurance agent to see if there are any dog exclusions on your insurance policy.  If there are, contact an agent that specializes in providing insurance protection for all dogs.



There are hundreds of abandoned animals every year and they are desperate for a loving home.  Dogs and cats make excellent pets, companions and family additions. An animal shelter that takes in pets wants to assure that they are put in safe homes where they will live a long happy life.

Making sure a pet is taken to a good home takes work.  Many people wish to obtain a pet on a whim, or because a child simply asks for one. Adopting a pet requires research by the family and a commitment of several years.  Go to a humane animal shelter with a good reputation.

Since a pet requires interaction and care every day, it is important that a screening process includes finding out about the family’s schedule and day to day activities. Being home alone inside a house for twelve or more hours a day is not a good scenario for a dog.  Staff at the animal shelter should ask about the family’s schedule for this reason.

Families who have a member who works at home is an ideal situation.  Other families who may have a member who works or goes to school near home is suitable, as well.  Family schedule options involving members in and out at various times of the day offers great stability for a pet. It breaks up the day for the animal and it begins to realize that it can look forward to human interaction daily at given times.

Reassure potential pet adopters at the animal shelter that when their pet has companionship, they are more likely to be co-operative and well behaved pets. Training is recommended. Pets are best when given attention and encouraged to play.

Interaction with a pet, playtime and affection, strengthens the bond between owner and pet. Pets do require some time for training and transition to a new home.  Certain types of pets may be better for some families and this can be discussed.  Cats may be a better option for some families and certain dog breeds are best suited for different levels of activity and for personality types.

Pets may not be a great idea for people who often travel for pleasure or business.  However, if plans include taking the pet or having a responsible person care for it, then it can still be a good fit.

Animal shelters utilize foster home and adoptive home screening measures to confirm that pets being adopted or fostered will be in great care.


When adopting a new dog, it’s easy to not know their previous history with other animals. Sometimes, when a dog is aggressive, it can seriously harm other animals, or put itself in danger. Luckily, there are steps you can take to figure out how a dog will react to other animals.

First of all, in any situation, keep an eye out for the following warning signs:

  • Lunging
  • growling
  • snarling
  • biting or snapping

They tend to mean that the dog might have some aggression problems and it would be advisable to contact an expert.

To see if the dog is aggressive, start by, with the dog leashed, bringing another dog within a reasonable distance and judge the reaction. Does it stay still? Show any signs of aggression? Act nervous? Determine the correct course of action and go on. Bring the other dog closer. See if the reaction changes. You’ll have to do this multiple times.

Then, if you’re confident that the dog will behave appropriately, take the dog off the leash. Repeat the test, keeping close to the dog, so that you can grab it if you have to.


  • Don’t be afraid to start out small. A decent sized stuffed animal can sometimes help to gauge a dog’s reaction to other animals if you’re apprehensive about bringing other animals around.
  • Remember that small dogs need this test too. Teacup Chihuahuas and toy poodles have the ability to be aggressive and bite. While their size and small amounts of strength may be less physically dangerous to humans, remember that picking a fight with a larger dog can get small dogs hurt.
  • Vary the test. How does the dog react to different sized dogs? Cats?
  • If a dog seems aggressive, immediately stop. Contact someone who can determine if there’s a problem.
  • Remember that fear is problematic too. Dogs can act out if they’re afraid.
  • Showing a sign of aggression or fear doesn’t mean a dog needs to be written off. Most dogs can be rehabilitated. Sometimes younger dogs just need to be trained. Sometimes a dog just needs some TLC. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people.

And most importantly, remember that the dog’s safety and comfort are important. After all, a dog is supposed to be man’s best friend.

It’s only natural for someone who loves animals and who cares about their welfare to want to help out. Volunteering at your local animal shelter is one way to do this. If you’re an animal lover looking to improve your animal shelter volunteering, here are ten ways to help out!

  1. Get Involved! – You can’t be a good volunteer if you don’t get involved! Contact your local animal shelter and inquire about any open volunteer opportunities you can help them with.
  2. Clean clean clean! – Offering to clean out cages and tidying up the office is a big help to animal shelter staff. Cleaning often takes a backseat to more pressing matters.
  3. Take calls and any general office work – Trying to take calls, mail letters and care for animals is a challenge. Take over any clerical work that needs to be done.
  4. Decorate for holidays – Everyone is festive when their workplace is festive. If there’s a major holiday coming up, why not dress up the office? Even the animals will be festive!
  5. Spin a web! – If you’re tech-savvy, offer to make a Facebook or Twitter for your shelter. An online presence spreads the news quickly of animals in need, generating amazing results.
  6. Write a newsletter – Animal shelter volunteering doesn’t have to be solely in the office. Offer to write and maintain a monthly newsletter for your shelter detailing changes and future events.
  7. Teach a class – Teaching a class for dogs brings the community together and spreads the word about adoptions. Educating the public is always a good way to volunteer for animals.
  8. Cat socialization – Troubled cats may need a bit of loving before they go to a new home. Taking the time to stroke and hold a recovering cat can do wonders.
  9. Find homes for pets – If you know someone who is looking for a dog or cat, refer them to your shelter. Do whatever you can to match pets to families
  10. Become a foster parent – Pet foster parents care for animals that can’t be held at the shelter. If you can spare room and food, you can be a foster parent.

Animal shelter volunteering is a great way to be an animal advocate and do something good. There are plenty of options and ways to connect you and your expertise with a shelter in need. The shelter staff will thank you, and although they can’t say it, the animals will too!

A dog is considered to be man’s best friend. Traditionally, dogs make the perfect companion for the whole family. Still, while your dog (no matter what the breed), may be perfectly friendly and loving towards your family, incidents may arise that provoke your beloved family member. No one suspects their dog to attack others, but incidents like these are known to happen.  Unfortunately, local governments are not usually forgiving of the situation and make it difficult for families to keep their pets in situations like these. Very few people are prepared for such a situation. Many of these people do not know that dog bite insurance exists, and it can help protect their family in such a situation.
If your dog bites or attacks an individual and the bite is bad enough to require medical attention, then the hospital will report it. If they call the police, then the dog may be taken away, and will likely be put down unless you have insurance on the dog. If you have home owners or renter’s insurance, events like these are normally excluded, leaving you open to a lawsuit or loss of your dog. A victim (or the dog’s owner in some cases), may be more inclined to forgive your dog’s behavior it their expenses are covered.

Dog bite insurance can purchased to protect you and your family from events such as these. No one can ever foresee bad things happening, and when they do, it is better to be prepared. If you own a dog, then it may be in your best interest to check with your agent today, and see if you have dog bite insurance. When the unimaginable happens, you will be glad you did.