Why Your Kids Should Grow Up with Pets
Some parents may find the idea of raising children and owning pets rather daunting, but research continues to show that being raised in a household with pets helps children to be better adjusted and healthier! How exactly?
What Kids Are Saying:
1. Almost 50% of all children with pets interviewed say that living with a pet makes them happier.
2. 30% of children say that being around their pets makes them feel calmer.
3. 20% of children say that their pets make them feel smarter.
4. Over 33% of kids say that owning pets makes them feel more caring and like they have more responsibility
5. 20% of kids say that they feel more confident talking to people because of their pets.
6. 79% of kids said they their pets have had a positive effect on their schoolwork.
But you don't have to take their word for it!
How Pets Help Improve Kids Health:
1. Research by Miami University in Ohio and Saint Louis University found much of what the kids above say is true! They found people with pets had higher self-esteem, were more physically fit, were less lonely, were more caring, more extroverted, less fearful and less preoccupied.
2. Studies are showing that kids that grow up around furry pets have a lower risk of allergies and asthma than kids who do not. In fact, research from he University of California, San Francisco shows that the dander from pets helps fight off a common respiratory infection that leads to asthma in children. Research by Kuopio University Hospital suggests kids who are around furry pets also saw a lower need for antibiotics! In fact, the researcher, Eija Bergroth, suspects "animal contacts could help to mature the immunologic system."
3. Research by Marion Vittecoq and Frederic Thomas of the Tour du Valat research center suggests that owning a pet could help prevent Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
How Pets Can Help Your Child Develop:
1. Research has showed that reading to dogs helps children improve their fluency by 30%!
2. Growing up around pets teaches children how to care for another creature and improves responsibility!
Do you think your family might be ready to add a pet to your family? Come visit the Austin Humane Society to meet pets that are purrfect for you!
The Truth Behind Animal Hoarding
We've all seen the photos on the news: dogs covered in feces-filled dreadlocks, cats coated in filth, piles of waste and trash filling the home. Hoarding is a problem that has been brought to the forefront of America's consciousness by shows like Hoarders and Confessions: Animal Hoarding. But unfortunately, animal hoarding is much more common than most people realize.
So, what is an animal hoarder?
Animal hoarding is an extremely complicated issue that effects entire communities because of the mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns involved. To be considered an animal hoarder, a group or individual must:
- Have more than the typical number of companion animals
- Be unable to provide even minimally acceptable standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and medical care. Often this inability results in starvation, illness and even death.
- Be in denial about their inability to provide the minimally acceptable standards of care and the impact it is having on their animals and themselves.
Most animal lovers know someone who has multiple pets -- that does not make them an animal hoarder. It is crucial to realize it is not merely the number of animals involved that makes an individual a hoarder. In order to be a hoarder, an individual must meet all three criteria.
Why do people hoard animals?
The results of animal hoarding can be horrific, but before you place judgement on the animals' owners, please understand that these individuals suffer from severe mental illness. ASPCA writes the following: "It is not clearly understood why people become animal hoarders. Early research pointed toward a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorders but new studies and theories are leading toward attachment disorders in conjunction with personality disorders, paranoia, delusional thinking, depression and other mental illnesses. Some animal hoarders began collecting after a traumatic event or loss, while others see themselves as 'rescuers' who save animals from a life on the street.
Animal hoarders may think they have good intentions, but their irrational behaviors cause significant suffering to the large numbers of animals in their care. The "hoarder" does not intend to inflict harm on the animals, and in most cases, the "hoarder" can no longer take care of himself, much less multiple animals."
How common is animal hoarding?
There are approximately 3,500 cases reported and 250,000 animals that are effected each year in the United States alone. Thanks to increased awareness of animal hoarding, the number of cases being reported over the past four years have nearly doubled.
What you should do if you know of an animal hoarder?
If you suspect that you know an animal hoarder, the best thing you can do is contact your local humane law enforcement department. While we do assist in animal hoarding cases, AHS does not have a law enforcement arm and therefore we cannot initially investigate these claims. In Travis County, please call 3-1-1 and they will put you in touch with the appropriate authorities. You may be scared of reporting someone you know, but the person and the animals both are in dire need of help, it is the best thing you can do for all parties involved!
Austin Humane Society recently rescued 19 negelected dogs from an animal hoarder. Please donate today to help us fund their care and the care of the thousands of animals we rescue each year.
Prepare Your Pets for a Disaster
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy we are reminded of just how quickly a catastrophic disaster can strike. As a pet owner, it is crucial that you create a disaster plan to ensure that in an emergency you and your pets stay safe.
Our friends at the Humane Society of the United States have created an exceptional to-do list to help guide pet owners through the creation of a pet disaster plan.
1. You need to start preparing now.
- Make sure that your pets are microchipped and that the information on the microchip is current. Remember to put your cell phone (and that of a trusted friend or family member) on the microchip and any pet tags you may have -- if there is a disaster it is unlikely you will have landline service.
- Make sure that each member of your family knows what they are responsible for grabbing in an emergency and ensure that you include the Pet Disaster Kit which should include enough food and water for each pet for 5 days, pet medications and medical records, a pet first aid book, cat litter box and supplies, sturdy dog leashes and harnesses, current photos of your pet with their description written on the back, pet beds and toys, and written information about your pets feeding schedule, routine and medical needs.
- Find a pet-friendly place to stay beforehand by calling hotels and motels in outlaying areas and nearby cities to locate ones that are pet friendly. Keep a list of these hotels and their numbers in your pet emergency kit. You can also use websites such as bringfido.com to locate pet friendly hotels. Do you have friends or relatives that would let you bring your pets for a stay in an emergency -- call to confirm with them now.
- Make arrangements for your pet to be rescued even if you're not home. It is important that you ask a nearby friend or neighbor to evacuate your pets and meet you at a pre-determined location in case you cannot get home in time to get your pets. Make sure these individuals are comfortable with your pets and vice versa.
2. If you evacuate, take your pet!
- Always remember, if a situation is unsafe for you, it is also unsafe for your pet. If you have to evacuate, always bring your pets with you! Even if you think it is a short-term evacuation, it is always best to bring them with you. Pets that are left behind in a disaster are easily lost or injured.
- Always evacuate early. If you think that an evacuation is imminent, go ahead and do so. Do not wait for emergency officials to force an evacuation because you will be pressed for time and high winds, smoke or lightning may make your pet harder to evacuate.
3. If you stay home, make sure to do so safely.
- Pick a safe area of your home and keep the entire family together. Make sure to block off nooks and crannies, move dangerous items and cover windows as necessary. Make sure to put your emergency supplies in this area in advance to save time in the event of an emergency.
- Make sure to bring your pet inside with you!
In Central Texas, two of our most common hazards are tornadoes and heat waves. Learn how to prepare you and your pet for a tornado here. For heat waves, remember to never leave your pet locked in a car (even with windows down or cracked), always provide them with lots of fresh water and shade, and limit pet exercise on hot days.