Pets for Kids with Allergies

Every kid should be able to have a pet. Pets can play a huge role in teaching your child responsibility, while providing many years of love and great fun. Unfortunately, allergies can get in the way. Some studies show that 15% of Americans are allergic to animals. Even people who aren’t allergic to certain animals can develop symptoms over time. It’s very important to be careful when selecting the perfect pet for your allergy-prone child.

Just remember that when your child has a pet allergy, the best solution is for him/her to stay away from the pet whenever possible. Conversely, if you get a pet, your child will not be able to stay away. Make sure to keep all the areas clean, and assign designated pet areas.

Below you will find two categories containing potential pets!


Fish Tank
Cold-blooded animals are the safest choice for a child with allergies. Although they don’t provide the furriness and warmth that an ideal pet may have, they can still make for a interesting, fun pet. Some kids want them even more than common pets!

Most frogs, fish, and lizards are fairly easy to care for. Their maintenance and food costs are very low. And the less your child handles their choice of cold-blooded pet, the lower their chances of getting sick. Don’t worry, children can still form a bond with cold-blooded animals!


Hammy the New Year's miracle hamster
Warm-blooded animals are a trickier, riskier choice. For children with allergies, a choice of a hamster, guinea pig, or dog will fall into this category. Make sure to avoid cats! They’re allergy magnets.

Some children may experience allergic symptoms around hamsters and guinea pigs, but the reactions could be decreased greatly if the cage is cleaned often. As for dogs, there’s good news! You may have heard that some dogs are “hypoallergenic.” There is no solid research proving this term true, however, some dogs will work a lot better than others for your child’s allergies. Consider small and medium sized dogs, like a poodle or a maltese. Keep them and their areas clean, as well as air filters in your home, and you may be good to go. Remember, if you’re allergic to one dog, you’re allergic to them all. So be careful!

Remember to keep your home and air clean, and have fun with the pet of your choice! Please remember that there are no perfect animals to go hand-in-hand with kids who have allergies. Your child’s safety is the most important, and if it means not having a pet in the home, it will be much better than your child developing serious health issues.

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Exotic Animals: Not Your Average Pet

There are many types of exotic animals that can make great pets for those looking for a companion other than your typical dog or cat. Exotic pets can range from pocket pets like sugar gliders to endangered animals like wolves. By nature, these animals are wild and can be potentially dangerous to humans. Truth is, you’re keeping a wild animal as domestic pet. However, while some exotic animals can make good companions, they often require special care, housing, diet, and maintenance. Here’s a list of exotic animals that can make great pets:


AlpacaAlpacas can make very good pets if they are treated well and you have realistic expectations for the animal. Like any livestock, the more you interact with alpacas as babies the more comfortable they will become with humans as they mature. In time, many alpacas will eat comfortably out of the palm of your hand. You can also train them to lead by a halter. Alpaca fur is made of luxurious fiber, which is known for its fineness, lightweight and luster.


Chinchillas are quick, happy little animals. As part of the rodent family, they are closely related to guinea pigs. Chinchillas have soft fur, clean living habits and lack of odor, which make them great pets! Nocturnal by nature, you can expect your chinchilla to be most active at nighttime. However, they can adapt to daytime activity too. Chinchillas come in a variety of colors, the most common color being silvery gray. For the most part, chinchillas are low maintenance, but they cannot tolerate hot weather well.


Geckos come in all sizes and colors and make wonderful pets. There are over a thousand different species of gecko lizards available, with several of these species livingeckog in human homes. Geckos have many unique characteristics, including the chirping vocalizations they use for communication. They also have one of the longest lifespans of any lizard, living on average, 10-20 years. Geckos are widely available in pet stores. But, before you purchase a gecko, take the time to become knowledgeable of their care and breeding.

Sugar Glider

Also known as pocket-size pets, sugar gliders are cute, friendly and fun! They’re named due to their fondness of sweet food and their love of gliding from tree to tree. One reason why sugar gliders make great pets is because you can take these charming animals wherever you go. Sugar gliders love to they be carried in pockets or pouches. More importantly, sugar gliders are extremely lovable, outgoing and they enjoy being around people.


WolfProbably the most exotic animal to make this list is the wolfdog, which is a crossover between a wolf and a dog. Because they are part wolf, they require more patience and care than a normal dog. Wolfdogs consider themselves as members of the family and are very loyal. Be prepared to own a wolfdog for a long time, as they can live up to 20 years. Wolfdogs prefer to be outdoors, with plenty of room to roam. Keep in mind, the legality of owning wolfdogs in your area. For example, U.S. law states that it’s legal to own a wolfdog if he or she is less than 75 percent wolf. Any percentage over that and you must have a “dangerous animal” permit, which is the same type needed to own a lion.

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July is National Blueberry Month


These tiny little berries are packed full of health benefits, and if you ask me, they are one of the best tasting fruits out there. They are so good in fact, that an entire month has been dedicated to them! There are so many recipes incorporating blueberries that you don’t have to look far to find one you will enjoy. However, research has shown that eating them raw provides the most nutritional benefit. We all know that blueberries are full of healthy antioxidants, but recently a study has shown that eating blueberries can actually help improve your memory. Blueberries have also been shown to improve cardiovascular health when consumed regularly, as well as helping to regulate blood sugar.

It would seem that the health benefits are endless when it comes to this sweet little fruit. Luckily for me, I live in an area where they readily grow. If you also live in an area that blueberries are common, check into your local farms and see if they offer a Pick-Your-Own type service. Many farms in my area of upstate New York will let you come out and pick your own sweet blues. However, this service is not limited to just blueberries; there are a variety of different fruits and veggies that you can go out and pick for yourself. The benefit of picking your own produce is that you can be as selective with the quality and quantity of each item you choose, and on top of that you get the rewarding experience of harvesting your own food. It gives us just a small taste of what our farmers are hard at work doing come harvest time! After spending an afternoon picking my own produce, I have a new level of respect for them.

Blueberries are ready for harvest from mid-July through late August, so you still have plenty of time to check your area for a blueberry farm. These delicious little berries also freeze well so they can be used later in the year for recipes. Let’s not forget our four-legged friends either. The health benefits of blueberries are not just limited to us humans! Our dogs can also benefit from the antioxidants found in blues, and just for them I have included a very simple, Martha Stewart recipe for homemade blueberry biscuits! I can assure you that my dogs will be getting some of these once I get my Pick-Your-Own blueberries from a local farm. I hope you and your wagging friends enjoy National Blueberry Month!

Homemade Blueberry Dog Biscuits


  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour

  • 2 1/2 cups quinoa flour

  • 3/4 cup flax meal

  • 1/2 cup frozen, organic, unsweetened blueberries

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients with 1 cup water to form a dough. Roll out mixture between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thick; remove plastic wrap and cut out biscuits with a 3 1/2-inch bone-shaped cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps and continue cutting out biscuits.

  3. Space biscuits 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until nicely browned and firm.

  4. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack. Turn off oven and place biscuits on wire rack in oven overnight. Remove from oven and store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

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The Different Types of Service Dogs play a very important role in a human’s life, especially service dogs. The term “service dog” is generally used for many different types of assistance dogs. These include guide dogs, mobility dogs, hearing dogs, medical alert dogs, and autism dogs.

There are also other types of dogs with jobs that help people, such as psychiatric therapy dogs and emotional support animals. The importance of service dogs is that they can do things that their disabled owners cannot.

Guide Dogs

Guide dogs are trained to lead blind and visually impaired people around everyday obstacles. These dogs can benefit their owner by allowing them to get around faster, with more accuracy and fewer accidents. Guide dogs can also make their owners feel safer at home and on the streets.

Mobility Dogs

Mobility dogs are trained to retrieve items, open doors, help a person dress or push buttons for its handler. These dogs most commonly assist people with disabilities with walking, balance and transferring from place to place. More importantly, mobility dogs can increase the independence of a person who uses a wheelchair or has trouble standing.

Hearing Dogs

Hearing DogThe purpose of a hearing dog is to alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing of general household sounds, like the telephone, doorbell, smoke alarm, and much more. Hearing dogs can provide sound awareness and companionship to their owners, while offering increased freedom and independence.

Medical Alert Dogs

A medical alert dog is trained to assist people with a medical disability. These dogs will “alert” their owners of oncoming medical conditions, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, etc. In addition, medical alert dogs are taught how to respond to these symptoms, whether that means bringing their owners medication or the telephone.

Autism Dogs

Unlike a guide or mobility dog that helps with physical tasks, the autism dog is there for emotional support. These dogs can provide stability in a child’s life as well as offer a calming influence and improve focus. Research has shown that interacting with animals can help autistic children become more social and better interact with their peers.

Psychiatric Therapy Dogs

120523-D-BW835-286Dogs can also enrich the lives of people living with psychological, neurological and developmental disorders, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression and Anxiety. Psychiatric therapy dogs can provide their owners with relief from feelings of isolation and provide a sense of well-being. Having a dog has also shown to increase a person’s mood and optimism.

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How ID Tags Can Save a Pet’s Life

LostOne of the best items we can purchase for our pets is an identification tag. Let’s face it, accidents happen. If your pet wonders out of sight, pet ID tags can help to ensure their safe return. Even an up-to-date rabies tag on your pet will help in the returning process. Just be sure to register your pet with a veterinarian.

An ID tag is like your pet’s get-out-of-jail-free card, if ever it were to be picked up by up by Animal Control. According to The Humane Society of the U.S., pet owners reclaim 30 percent of shelter dogs each year. More shockingly, only two to five percent of cats are reclaimed yearly. While the vast majority of these stray animals have no identification, those who do often get to return home before heading to the shelter.

What should be on the tag?

At the very minimum, your phone number should be on the pet’s ID tag. This will provide the rescuer with a means to contact you. In our technologically advanced world, you may want to use your cell phone number, as you’ll likely be out looking for your pet and you’ll only be reachable by cell. Another piece of information you will want to include on your pet’s ID tag is your address. This way, if your pet were only to wander down the block, it will be more apt to be returned immediately.

Tags are cheap and accessible

Do not put your pet’s life at risk, purchase ID tags. They are super cheap and easily accessible. You can order them online or pick them up at your local veterinarian. At Ketchum, we specialize in pet identification tags. We produce all of our tags in your choice of materials, including aluminum, brass and stainless steel. We also offer a variety of shapes and sizes to match every pet identification need. More importantly, our tags are Taro models his new custom black twill collar from kninecouture.comcreated with your pet in mind. They are built to last and perfect for hanging on your pet’s collar, no matter where he or she might go.

Pet ID tags save lives; it’s as simple as that. While our country has come a long over the years increasing pet ownership and decreasing euthanasia, there are still an estimated 2.7 million healthy shelter pets not adopted each year. And with a good percentage of these pets strays, it’s more important than ever to use animal identification.

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How to Take Care of a Bird

Pet bird in a cageBirds are very interesting creatures, which is exactly why it’s important to give your new bird enough attention to feel loved but not smother him or her. As easy as it might seem to spoil your new bird, spoiled birds tend to become unhappy, uncooperative members of your family that will end up only causing ruckus in your home. In order to develop happy and healthy birds as family pets, here are some easy to follow tips.

Establish boundaries

Just like any other animal, you need to teach your new pet what the boundaries are now that they’re living with you. Birds are very quick to adapt to new environments, but you need to make sure you teach them right off the bat what’s acceptable and what’s not. For example, when taking your bird out of the cage, teach them the step up rule to avoid any biting or nipping at your hands. This will in turn teach the bird that they have to behave this way with not only you but everyone else as well.

Prevent single bonding

Unfortunately this rule is pretty backwards compared to how you’d teach a dog that you’re his master. With a bird, single person bonding does help to establish a bond between you and the bird and decreases any fears between the bird and any human handlers, but it shouldn’t just be taught with a single person. Each caregiver in the family should have the opportunity to help your bird feel secure with all family members in order for the bird to feel comfortable with each and every one of you.

Be realistic with attention

CockatielSo you’re excited about your new bird and you want to spend as much time with it as possible, but this isn’t exactly a good indication of the future relationship with your bird. If you initially show your bird this much attention, they’ll get used to it and think it’s the norm. You want to be realistic with the amount of time you’ll be spending paying attention to the bird and do this from the very beginning in order to avoid giving any false expectations.

Develop a healthy diet

If you’re new to being a bird owner, you’ll learn quickly that food is one of the most abused sources of comfort and appeasement for birds. In order to help your bird grow healthy and lean, you need to be aware of the type of food your bird is eating and how much he’s consuming. Avoid spoiling your bird with too many seeds and other treats and you’ll be in the clear.

Bird-proof your home

213..365 | Birds > CatsJust like you have to prepare for any other pet, preparing the home for a new bird is imperative to ensure that nothing can get damaged in the process. Birds go off of visual, audio, and olfactory stimulation, but birds tend to use their mouths to explore and like to give everything a taste at least once. Before bringing your new bird home, put away any plants, toxic substances or anything that could prove to be harmful to your bird. Also, if possible, try to cover any electrical sockets or chords.

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Top 10 Pet-Friendly Cities in the US

It’s no secret that we love our pets, which is why today we want to highlight the best cities throughout the United States for having pets! From east coast to west, here are the best pet-friendly American cities.

Phoenix, Arizona

freakin' at the dog parkPhoenix is well known for their abundant sunshine, but did you know they have a plethora of pet stores, dog parks, and even an annual Halloween costume contest for pets? With six off-leash dog parks, 14 pet stores, over 270 veterinarians, and a variety of pet-themed events, it’s no wonder Phoenix, Arizona is one of the best US cities for owning a pet.

Sacramento, California

Redondo Beach Dog ParkOver to the west coast, Sacramento ranks at number nine on our list for pet-friendly cities. Having seven off-leash dog parks and four major pet stores is a good start, but there are also some fantastic pet-friendly events such as the annual Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash-a 2k/5k walk and other big pet festivals. Some pet policies include mandatory spay-neuter law for dogs and cats and a permit number is required in all advertisements selling animals.

Fort Worth, Texas

DSC_6010aHave you ever heard of Barktoberfest? If you live near Fort Worth, Texas, chances are you have! With strict spay and neuter laws, this city isn’t messing around. This city includes four dog parks, six major pet stores, dog meet up grounds and dog park events. A pet policy in this city to note is that all female dogs and cats over the age of six months and male dogs and cats over the age of eight months have to be spayed or neutered unless the owner obtains an intact pet permit.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Dog Walk - ARLSRI Oct 2011-30Charlotte is not only a beautiful city, but it’s a fantastic place to spend with your favorite furry friend. Not only does this city love pets, but they also love volunteering. They have a total of eight dog parks, three major pet stores and 160 vets. Some great fundraising opportunities include Pet Palooza, where dog owners can do a fundraising walk or run a 5k with their pet as well as the Ties & Tails Gala.

Tucson, Arizona

North Domingo Baca Dog Park, Albuquerque, NMThis city has it all – 10 dog parks, nine major pet stores and over 200 veterinarians. It doesn’t end there! Some great pet-friendly events include The Puttin’ on the Dog Tucson Cover Dog Search, Chow Down for Hounds, Paws in the Plaza, Tails and Ales, Paws for the Holidays, and more.

Denver, Colorado

Dog 'n' I at the Summit.Denver is already well known for their outdoor activities, but chances are you didn’t know how seriously pet-friendly this city is. There are 28 dog parks, four major pet stores and about 220 vets. In a city that’s all about activity, there are so many pet-friendly events to keep your average pet-owner busy! This includes puppy preschool training classes, the canine festival and European market, and doggie meet ups!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dog Park 2/28/10Talk about a city full of events – Minneapolis is full of them for pets! The American Humane Society puts on three pet-friendly fundraising events each year in Minneapolis, as well as two formal dining events each year. There are 10 dog parks, plus five off-leash dog parks, and 200 veterinarians.

Seattle, Washington

Kermit at the Miyuki Dog ParkLove having options? Seattle, Washington has all the dog park options one needs. With 40 dog parks, you can visit a different one each day with your pet! They also have Put O Ween, the annual Halloween party that’s set specifically around your pet’s schedule!

Dallas, Texas

Pixie dog halloween costumeDallas has its southern charm, but it’s also a great place to have a pet! Some big pet-friendly events that occur there are the Christmas country dog events, walk wag and run event, Walk to Nowzad, and Barktoberfest. Dallas, Texas also has around 22 dog parks and seven major pet stores to cater to your dogs every need!

San Diego, California

Dog-on-the-Beach-at-Sunrise__64858Rounding out our list is this west coast city, which ranks as number one for a variety of reasons. Aside from it’s nine off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly beaches, this city includes 60+ pet-friendly hotels and over 50 dog-friendly restaurants as well. For San Diego, the city has many laws for the protection of animals, including rabies vaccination laws, enclosure laws and feeding and watering and sanitation requirement at kennels.

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Transfaunation in Dairy Cattle: What is it?

You may be thinking to yourself, “What the heck is transfaunation?” Or, perhaps you are already familiar with the term.  If you have experience with a large dairy farm, you probably already know.  I think a lot of us have seen cows (usually of the dairy variety) with windows into their abdomen at fairs and perhaps even at a farm you visited.  Though the idea of putting a window in the side of a cow is cool enough on its own, it does actually serve a purpose.  Before we explore that purpose, let me first explain a little about the stomach and the window.

The stomach of a cow is divided into four compartments.  The rumen is the largest of these compartments, and I mean large.  In a Holstein cow the rumen can hold over 40 gallons! The rumen can also be thought of as a holding and fermentation vat.  Being prey animals in the wild, evolution has designed cows to go out and eat as much food as possible while it is safe.  Obviously there isn’t time to properly chew your food if you are eating it as quickly as possible.  This is why we see cows chewing their “cud” almost constantly when they are relaxed.  They will regurgitate a wad of material from their rumen back into their mouths and chew it properly so that it can pass to the other stomach compartments and eventually into their intestines.  The environment inside the rumen is not very acidic like it is in most other species.  This is because the cow is constantly regurgitating the material and an acidic environment would injure their esophagus, and also because of the bacteria that live in the rumen and help break down the cow’s food.  A very acidic environment would kill off the bacterial colonies and the cow would not be able to properly digest her food.  So, what I really want you to take away from this whole paragraph is that the bacteria inside the rumen of cows is of utmost importance to their survival.  Got it? Good.

Now, the window.  A healthy cow is chosen by her owner to undergo this procedure and become the source of rumen material for any cow that may need it in her lifetime.  A veterinarian will cut into the abdominal wall of the cow and into the rumen, from there a plastic cannula is placed in the incision site.  This cannula is what holds the side of the abdomen open permanently.  A plastic screw-in plug is usually placed in the opening that can be removed whenever needed.  Cows recover well from the surgery and do not even notice their new accessory.

Ok, enough about all that.  What is transfaunation?! Transfaunation is the transfer of one cow’s digestive flora into another cow.  Digestive flora is the healthy bacteria, protozoa and fungi that live in the animal’s (all animals, yes, even humans!) digestive system and help break down food.  If a cow is sick, she will very often stop eating and/or drinking.  Or, if she has to be treated with antibiotics they can kill off the good and the bad bacteria in her system.  Yes, it’s important to get rid of the bad bacteria that are making her sick, however, when the good bacteria are also killed off it will inhibit her ability to digest food and absorb all the nutrients she needs.  For whatever reason a cow loses her healthy bacteria, it is imperative that she gets it back quickly or her health will continue to decline.  That is where our cannulated cow comes in to save the day, and possibly the life of her barn mate.  The farmer can simply reach into the rumen of the cannulated cow and take out some of the material in there.  He will then feed it to the sick cow (cows will eat just about anything), or if she is not eating, they can force it into her with a stomach tube.  This rumen material is filled with all the healthy microorganisms that our sick cow needs to have recolonize her rumen and make her a happy, healthy, milk producing cow again.  So you can see, the job of the cannulated cow is very important, and the procedure of transfaunation can save a life.

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How to Prepare for a Summer Road Trip with Pets

dog in windowSummer is all about having fun, right? But when you plan your summer road trip, there’s more to it than just packing up your stuff and driving away. Your pets need to be planned for as well! Make sure your pets are comfortable and taken care of for your vacation by following these tips for summer road trips!

Familiarize yourself with animal travel gear

Responsible passenger, wearing his seatbeltIf you’ve never traveled with your pet before, pay close attention to this tip. Having the right pet travel gear is a must for long trips! First step is to go and visit the local pet store to see what types of harnesses they have. Look for a dog harness with a handle on top, which makes it easier to walk with your dog as well as strap your animal in the car by running the seat belt strap through the harness handle. Just remember – a harness might be uncomfortable for your pet to wear for the first time, so make sure you give them lots of praise and treats!

Check your pet’s health prior to traveling

Niya @ the vet'sBefore taking your pet on a long road trip, have them examined at the vet for any health conditions. You want to make sure that your pet is updated on all of their shots and vaccinations, especially if you’re traveling to an area that will have other animals your pet might be in contact with. Finally, stocking up on your dog’s medications is a great way to ensure you’ll be prepared throughout your travel, especially if the trip ends up lasting longer than anticipated.

Test your pet in the car

It was, apparently, an exhausting weekend!If your pet has never really traveled in the car for long periods of time, you want to test out their behavior over time. Practice by taking pretend road trips that are in short bouts of time, but are long enough to test your pet in the car. During these short trips, check your pet to see if they’re nervous or are drooling excessively or panting. If this is happening, you might want to consider treating your dog with anti-nausea medication for the real trip to prevent over-heating or discomfort.


Tongues outIf you’re bringing a very young animal on your trip, it might be more difficult simply due to potty-training. If your animal hasn’t yet learned to use the restroom on command, you might want to make this a priority before your road trip. While you might be able to pull over every hour to make sure your animal doesn’t go in the car, you’ll be more efficient and effective if you can hold off stopping that often and having inner peace knowing your dog can hold it for longer.


southbound MA to FLALastly, don’t forget to bring the toys for your road trip! Toys will help keep your pet occupied and more comfortable on the long trip. They’ll also help to be distracting during any potentially stressful situations in the car.



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Benefits of Adopting a Shelter Pet

take me home #2Considering a new pet? Look no further than your local animal shelter. There are plenty of shelters with a great selection of animals, including cats, dogs, birds, and other small animals. In fact, the animal you’re considering buying from your local pet store or breeder is probably waiting to be adopted in a nearby shelter.

Why adopt a shelter pet

Between 6 and 8 million pets end up in shelters each year, half of which, will never be adopted. The saddest part is that most pets end up homeless for circumstances beyond their control. These animals fall victim to a death, illness, divorce or a move that doesn’t include them. By adopting a shelter pet you are saving a life. Your new pet will be extremely appreciative of the life you’re giving them. Plus, your adoption fee will benefit other animals at the shelter. This fee is used to support the shelter’s community and help care for other homeless animals.

Cost effective

Adopting a pet from a shelter is highly cost-effective. The cost of getting an animal from a pet store or breeder can be very high, which can make it extremely hard for the average family to afford the animal. That doesn’t even include the pets’ first round of shots and to be spayed or neutered. These expenses can cost well over $100 within the first year of having the pet. Most animal shelters include the cost of first shots and spaying/neutering in the adoption fee. Depending on the age of the pet, adoption fees can range from $50 to $250 dollars.

Semi-trained pet

The majority of shelter pets come semi-trained. All cats will come litter-trained and most dogs will come somewhat potty trained. However, when the pet first comes home expect some mistakes due to the stress of moving and adjusting to a new place. Contrarily, getting a pet from another owner does not always guarantee that your pet will be potty trained. This can led to clean up and frustration for you. Many shelters rescue wonderful pets that are trained and family ready.

Socialized animalShelter dog looking friendly

Animals that spend time in a shelter are often socialized. Because animals are taken out of their cages for playtime they become comfortable with both volunteers and other animals. This allows the animal to adjust to different types of people and animals. In most circumstances, the shelter can tell you if the pet you’re looking at is good with children and other pets. When you get a pet from a breeder, it usually has only been around a select few people and pets.

At Ketchum, we are passionate about adopting pets. Therefore, if you’re thinking about getting a pet for your family, please consider the benefits of adopting a shelter animal. While pet stores and breeders may seem like the more advantageous option, rescuing a pet can be equally rewarding and perhaps a better fit for your family.

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