The current economic scenario is creating cause to worry for most of us–but we humans aren’t the only ones facing crisis. Many pets are at risk when homeowners are forced to relocate due to change in employment or foreclosure, or when their owners can no longer afford to care for them.
According to USA Today, shelters that are experiencing an increase in pet intakes are almost without exception in areas where the foreclosure rate is high. And there’s growing concern that another, perhaps bigger wave of pet surrenders is in the offing, the result of the worsening economy and growing joblessness that will affect additional homeowners as well as renters.
It’s absolutely heartbreaking to think of losing your companion animal along with your job or house, below are some tips to help avoid that situation. One thing that animal welfare agents are strongly urging against is leaving your pet alone. Many people are so concerned about entrusting their pet to a shelter that they are leaving their pets with food and water either outside their old homes, in a garage, or anywhere they think their pet might be rescued. The truth, according to the Humane Society of the United States, is that often these abandoned pets become sick or die, and usually end up at the shelter anyway. These outcomes can be avoided by planning ahead as much as possible and finding pet-friendly housing.
The following steps provided by the Humane Society can help in the search for pet-friendly rental housing :
1. Give yourself enough time. If possible, check ads and contact real estate agents and rental agencies at least six weeks before you plan to move or when you first learn that foreclosure and/or eviction may be in your future.
2. Make use of available resources. Contact the humane society or animal care and control agency serving the area into which you are moving; the agency may be able to provide you with a list of apartment communities that allow pets.
3. Gather proof that you’re responsible. The more documentation you can provide attesting to your conscientiousness as a pet owner, the more convincing your appeal will be to your future landlord. This can include statements from current property managers and neighbors that you maintain your pet responsibly, as well as copies of veterinary records showing ongoing pet care.
4. Get it in writing. Once you have permission from a landlord, manager or condominium committee to have a pet, be sure to get it in writing. Comprehensive agreements protect people, property and the pets themselves.
Individuals facing financial hardships can reduce the cost of pet ownership in many ways. Some tips include:
• While buying expensive toys and accessories has become a popular way to demonstrate your attachment to your pet, your pet can be just as happy with less expensive toys or homemade toys. They need your love and attention more than a pricey product. Tips for inexpensive toys can be found at humanesociety.org by searching on “dog toys” or “cat toys.”
• Keep your pets safe inside or on a leash while walking outside. Animals allowed to roam freely are more prone to accidents and resulting veterinary bills.
• Let your veterinarian know that finances are tight and ask that he or she prescribe only the most vital vaccinations to keep your pet healthy.
• Consider pet health insurance to minimize the shock of an expensive bill from the veterinarian in case of an unexpected illness or injury.