May 14, 2010

What are Puppy Mills?

Filed under: breeders,Puppy Mills — Dr. Amber Reed @ 6:05 pm

what are puppy millsDog lovers are often surprised to hear about the existence of puppy mills.  When you enter a pet store to find the perfect addition to your family, you don’t expect to hear about puppy mills that are essentially breeding facilities that produce large numbers of purebred puppies for commercial game.  But the reality of puppy mills is all too true and humane societies throughout North America have major concerns about puppy mills.

The biggest problems associated with puppy mills are almost always related to health factors.  Dogs born in puppy mills often receive poor veterinary care and may even be the result of severe inbreeding.  Over breeding, poor nutrition, poor socialization, and poor living conditions are all very serious concerns that humane societies have about puppy mills.  In fact, the prevalence of hereditary diseases, euthanasia of unwanted puppies, and malnutrition in puppy mills makes these very frightening institutions indeed.  And the problems with puppy mills are not exclusive to the health of the puppies alone; for example, breeder dogs are often forced to live in puppy mills for the duration of their lives so that they can continue to breed more puppies.

canine stressPet stores often stock purebred dogs from puppy mills.  While registration certificates are a requirement for purebred dogs, it is actually quite difficult to track the lineage of these dogs and subsequently the number of purebreds coming from puppy mills seems to be on the rise.  If you want to get a purebred dog but you want to avoid puppy mills the best thing you can do is find a qualified breeder and view his or her facilities.  Good breeders socialize their puppies with humans, feed them a healthy diet, give them plenty of exercise, and ensure that the puppies have access to adequate veterinary care.  Moreover, most reputable breeders will interview prospective owners to ensure that their puppies end up in loving, nurturing homes.

April 20, 2010

Taking In an Abused Animal

canine stressOne of the kindest things an animal lover can do is to take in an abused animal but there are obvious challenges that arise in these situations. Neglected or physically or emotionally abused animals often have a number of social and behavioral problems that can be difficult to overcome. When you take in an abused pet, you are responsible for showing that animal enough love and support so it can live a happy and fulfilled life.

Abused animals have serious issues with trust and can be socially withdrawn, lethargic, and even aggressive. When they are exposed to new environments they are reluctant to explore and demonstrate a wide range of behavioral issues from inappropriate toileting to barking and whining. If you’ve decided to take care of an abused animal you should prepare yourself for a long road to recovery. While you may be able to instill trust in your pet within a few weeks, it could take months or even longer to put your abused pet at ease with other humans and animals.

Indeed, caring for an abused animal requires a lot of patience and you have to be ready to accept your pet as it is. Always avoid situations that would cause fear or anxiety for your animal and never use punishment as a behavioral deterrent. abused animalsThe fact that positive reinforcement is much more effective for behavioral modification notwithstanding, an animal that is continually punished is unlikely to rehabilitate. Always make love and support your first approach so that your new pet will bond with you more quickly.

Finally, remember to stay focused. As already mentioned, you have to have a lot of patience to rehabilitate an abused animal and they’re not going to get better on your terms. Try to put your pet at ease in stressful situations, feed them and exercise them properly, and you’ll be well on your way to a happy pet.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.