Weight Control In Pets

September 23, 2015

Approximately 54 percent of cats and dogs in America are obese. Animal obesity tends to be a major problem for pet owners as it is important to watch what your pet eats just as you monitor what you eat on a daily basis. There are several ways that you can control the weight in your pet by simply making sure they get enough activity throughout the day and monitoring what they eat.

First determine if your dog or cat is overweight. This can be done by looking at them and noticing that they have a sagging stomach, no waistline, and/or a broad flat back. See if you can grab a handful of fat. This will help you recognize there must be something done immediately to help your pet lose weight. Obesity can shorten your pet’s life and excess fat will impair its health and quality of life.

Indoor cats of 10 to 15 pounds should not eat more than 200 to 220 calories a day and dogs at 10 to 15 pounds shouldn’t eat more than 275 calories a day. Check the food you’re giving them and determine if it’s right for them. The more organic and healthier the food is the more chances your pet will live longer without gaining much weight. Knowing how many calories your pet takes in a day is vital to preventing animal obesity.

The following steps will help decrease their chances of gaining weight.

  • Neutered/spayed pets tend to gain weight easier. Be prepared to monitor what your cat or dog eats regularly to avoid obesity.
  • Decrease food intake and increase activity level. Take dogs on longer walks and provide cats with more toys and things to climb on including cat trees.
  • Feed twice a day in smaller amounts than usual. Avoid any table food. Give fewer treats and offer them in the middle of the day so that they can burn it off before dinner.

Try playing with your pet. Dogs can go for a run in the park while cats can have an activity time in the morning or evening for chasing rope, lasers, or balls.

Pets like to spend time with their owners and if you’re active they will want to be active with you. It’s more than just petting or feeding time to your pets, it’s sharing moments with you that help them bond with you and live longer lives.

Snow Emergency Preparedness

September 14, 2015

When winter temperatures plummet, it is important for animal rescue organizations to have solid plans in place.  Disaster preparedness for animals is just as important as the preparations that are made for humans. In fact, these plans feature many of the same elements. Taking the time to make ready for unexpected events in advance of their occurrence can save lives, prevent illness and ensure continued comfort.  It can also help animal welfare organizations avoid a host of wholly preventable, financial problems.

Access To Water

Water is always a critical element for survival and thus, when it comes to disaster preparedness for animals, it is important to have adequate water supplies for each animal and person who will be present in the facility throughout any major storm.  The general recommendation is to have between one and two gallons per person, per day along with one gallon per animal, per day.  As an alternative to investing in costly, bottled water supplies, animal rescuers can sterilize empty, reusable water bottles with modest amounts of bleach and sufficient rinsing.  These can then be filled with clean, potable water and stored.  Water that has been stored in reusable containers for disaster events should be changed out once every six months.

Shelter In Place Supplies

A snowstorm can make it necessary for all team members to shelter in place.  For volunteers and all other facility personnel, it is important to have a comprehensive first aid kit, adequate blankets, high-protein, high energy foods, back-up supplies of any personal medications and sufficient water.  Animals will need a supply of kitty litter, bags for storing other solid animal waste for preservation of the shelter in place environment, dry food stores, blankets for additional warmth as necessary and back-up supplies of all veterinarian-issued medicines.  It is also important to have a first-aid kit that is specific to the needs of the animals that are housed.

Coverage For Protecting The Facility And All That It Contains

One of the most important elements of your plan for snow emergency preparedness is sufficient coverage for the shelter facility and all of the items that it contains.  In addition to presenting a number of challenging, shelter in place events, seasons of heavy snowfall can also wreak havoc on physical building structures and their contents.  With comprehensive commercial property insurance, animal welfare organizations can limit the financial impact that severe weather has on their facilities.

The very first thing that you have to take into consideration when you are formulating a press release is your audience.  For large corporations, the format is going to be quite different than for smaller groups.  The big companies are generally well known, so it doesn’t take much to grab the public’s eye, and for the most part it isn’t necessary for them to have to give the public an overview of the things that they do.

For smaller organizations, it can sometimes be necessary to get some information about the things that you do out to the public within the body of the piece, and not just focus on the specific topic of what the press release is based on.  You have to make sure that people know what it is they are donating their time or money to, because there is such a plethora of smaller organizations, that it can become very overwhelming for the common person to really have a solid idea of what the goals of each one are.

Once you get past that back story, what your organization does on a daily basis, and you move into the press release itself, you want to approach it almost like an advertisement.  It is always going to fall back onto how large and how well known the organization is when you are deciding how to address the target audience, but the absolute best advice is, the smaller the organization, the more personal you want the release to be.  You want to feel like you are selling yourself to the audience, because you are.

When you are reaching out to people about the fundraisers, or pet adoption events that you are hosting, you have to make them feel like they are a part of it before they even arrive.  For most pet parents and possible adopters, animal rescue is more than just a charity, it’s something that strikes them closest to home.  When a person not only believes in the cause, but knows that it is something that has effected them personally, their response to your organization will be much greater.  Your press release should not only educate, it should also welcome the reader in as a friend and an ally to the cause.

Fostering an animal who needs guidance and love is rewarding. You’re literally saving a life when you offer support and structure for an animal in need.  Volunteer foster parents need to have the desire, of course, but should also consider the responsibilities that come with the rewards.

Before you decide to foster, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your home need any modification?  Think about what needs your chosen animal may have.  Is there enough space?  Do your family members or other pets have any allergies or intolerances that may be an issue?  Is your home safe for a healthy animal of your choice?
  • What kind of foster do you want?  Some people are amazing at behavioral training, some do better with older or physically diminished animals, and some would be best at just offering love and shelter.  Be honest with yourself about what you and your family can handle.
  • Will your insurance cover it?  In the case of large dogs, for instance, an extra insurance rider may be required to protect you from liability, even if the dog hasn’t been a behavioral risk previously.  Double-check your homeowner’s policy.
  • How much financial risk can you assume?  How much you’re responsible for is largely up to the organization through which you’re fostering.  Items like vet bills and ID tags are sometimes covered; additional food or litter may not.  Find out ahead of time what you may have to cover to avoid any surprises.
  • Do you have the time?  Because many fosters have special needs, they can require a bit more love and attention than other pets.  Give some thought to how much time you have for training and other needs before you decide.
  • How good are you at letting go?  Often, the hardest part of being a foster family is having to say goodbye when an adoption goes through.  The beautiful thing about fostering is that it’s temporary.  The worst thing about it is also that it’s temporary.  Make sure you and your family are able to let go when the time comes.

When you’re comfortable with your answers, the application process for fostering is outlined on most organizations’ websites or can be explained by staff volunteer coordinators.  There’s generally a home visit, a check of your references, and an agreement to be signed.

Once approved, it’s just a matter of waiting for an animal that needs your love and care.

Fall Fundraiser Ideas

September 7, 2015

Fundraising for your organization doesn’t have to be a boring proposition.  Now that the vacations are over and the kids are settling back into school routines, you have an opportunity to encourage some seasonal fun while raising much-needed funds.  Here are a few ideas:

Hold a Harvest Festival
Invite local businesses to participate, bringing in samples, giveaways, and games.  A dog-kisses booth for donations and showcasing the friendliest animals available for adoption can bring in a steady stream of dollars.  Crown a non-human Harvest King and Queen, and offer photos with the winners for a donation.

Howl-o-Ween Costume Contests
Pictures of animals in costumes tend to go viral easily.  Hold a Halloween costume contest for furry companions, and have participants send in a photo to be judged.  Put them up on Facebook or another social media or free photo site, and allow users/viewers to “vote” with a “like”.  Participants will share these photos, bringing more traffic and awareness to your organization, where you can link them to a donation page to support your mission.

Dog Wash
Many schools are requiring a public service component now, and you can capitalize on this trend by recruiting school students and organizations for free help.  Put them to work in a dog wash event, for example, setting it up like a car wash, with signs and visibility from a road.  (Make sure the animals are safely secured while washing, of course!)  Take lots of pictures to use online later, for those who couldn’t make the event.  Sudsy dogs grab attention.

Fun Run
If your region has “fun runs”, which many do, talk to those in charge about holding a parallel event:  a fun run with your pet.  It doesn’t have to be as long or grueling as its human equivalent.  Even a one-mile pet jaunt with sponsorship, both individual and overall, can raise money and promote exercise and fitness for humans and animal companions.  Again, taking lots of pictures for an after-the-event donation page is a good idea.

Autumn Art Auction
Open up submissions to local artists for animal-themed art donations, set in fall colors.  Invite both animal lovers and art patrons, and auction the pieces.  Alternatively, ask for digital files and create an ebook of the works as a seasonal fundraiser.

With a little creativity, your organization can have a donation-rich fall season…and a little fun while you’re at it.

During the fall, pumpkins, apple picking, fallen leaves, hiking, festivals and the football season are fun for people, and can be the inspiration for great fall activities for animals in shelters, rescue centers and foster homes.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Tasty Treats to Spice up Training

Many dogs love the taste of pumpkin, and pumpkins have lots of health benefits for dogs and cats, including:

• Improved digestion.
• Improved urinary health.
• A good source of vitamin A.
• Even weight loss.

During training sessions, dog treats made with pumpkin are an excellent high value reward.

If you’re fostering a dog, take him pumpkin or apple picking with you. Pumpkin patches and orchards are great places for you and your dog to explore. Many allow dogs if they are leashed.

Leaf-Pile Fun

Put out piles of leaves in the dogs’ runs for them to run through, jump into and toss around with you.

As dogs love tracking, you can hide toys among the leaves to add to the fun.

Cats also love playing in them and chasing leaves about.

Make sure there isn’t anything, like a branch, hidden in the leaves that could hurt animals.

Football Madness

Nothing says fall like football, and most dogs will love running around playing ball. You can be the quarterback and throw a ball for your dog to retrieve. Use a soft foam ball that’s easy to catch and won’t hurt his mouth.

For the kitty version of football, have a ball on a string that she can chase after or bat around.

Alternatively, crumple paper into a ball – cats love toys that make a crinkly sound – for your cat to chase and catch. Make sure she doesn’t chew or swallow any paper.

Getting Social at Festivals

The many different sights and sounds at a fall festival make it a great opportunity for socializing your foster dog. Check the festival is pet friendly.

Take a Hike

Hiking with your dog is easier during the cooler fall days. Start with short hikes and build up to longer ones. Things to take with you include:

• Water
• A Leash
• Poop Scoop
• Snacks

Always check dogs are allowed on the trail.

Try out these activities and have lots of fall fun with the animals in your care.

How to Form an Animal Rescue

September 2, 2015

Each day, tens of thousands of dogs, cats and other animals are abandoned on the streets of America’s towns and cities. You can help by forming an animal rescue shelter in a few easy steps to help out your community and give like-minded community members the opportunity to join in.

Steps to forming an animal rescue shelter

1. Do your research. What animals or animal breeds are most in need of rescue in your community?

2. Gain valuable shelter experience. Before you start, work in a local shelter to learns the ins and outs of animal care.

3. Scout locations. Find a space that allows for a front office, housing and play areas for the animals, and if needed, a medical room.

4. Get a lawyer. Choose a name for the rescue, file for your nonprofit business license, get insurance, and importantly, form a board of directors, and get legal advice.

5. Advertise. Brochures and a website for your rescue, and introduce yourself to shelters in the area.

How your animal rescue shelter benefits the community

An animal rescue benefits the community in ways that are both tangible and intangible. Rescued animals are a benefit to the community because they are taken off streets and given shelter and care, contributing to the tangible benefit of animal welfare in the community.

Animal rescues also provide intangible benefits for the community by highlighting the need for responsible pet ownership through spaying and neutering animals in addition to animal protection.

Further, caring for animals provides the intangible benefit to all of humanity in supporting because of the moral benefit of care. All life should be cared for and protected.

Can others help?

An animal rescue can become a second home for community members who share in the ideals of animal rescue and who want to be a part of the solution. Volunteers are crucial since they not only care for the animals, but they will share in the mission and carry its values into the broader community.

People of all ages can help you with administration, direct care of animals, fundraising and other events, and as ambassadors to the community.

Animal rescue shelters rely upon the expertise of community members in the formation, management and expansion of the animal rescue shelter. Together, you can make your rescue an important part of your community.