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Debunking Animal Shelter Myths

June 15, 2014

Animal shelters are often thought of as sad, dirty places where pets go when no one wants them anymore. These misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth! Below, a Fort Collins vet clears up five of the most common myths about shelters.

Shelter Pets are Old

Think older, unwanted animals are the only pets found in shelters? Think again. In fact, the age range of shelter pets runs from young animals—even newborns—to elderly ones, and every age in between. If you’re looking for a puppy or kitten, don’t count out a shelter because you think they only have elderly animals.

Shelter Pets Behave Poorly

Some people assume a pet wouldn’t be in a shelter if it behaved properly. This isn’t true. Pets come to shelters for all sorts of reasons, only a small percentage of which is poor behavior. The truth is that many pets in shelters have lived with human owners before, and are perfectly well-mannered and even trained!

Shelters and Their Pets are Dirty

Any shelter that is up to code and serviced regularly will be very clean and sanitized. It’s necessary to limit or prevent the spread of disease and infection. The pets inside shelters are quite clean, too—as soon as most pets arrive at the shelter, they’re bathed, clipped, given shots, and even spayed or neutered if they’re not already.

Shelter Staff Are Inexperienced Volunteers

The shelter staff may be volunteers, yes, but that doesn’t mean they’re inexperienced. Many staff members actually work full-time as veterinary technicians, assistants, behaviorists, trainers, or even board-certified veterinarians! Don’t think a shelter staff member doesn’t have the proper credentials to be informing you about pet care.

Shelters Only Have Cats and Dogs

We often picture shelters teeming with cats and dogs, but the truth is that many shelters house much more. Some have small-mammal programs and may offer mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, gerbils, and rabbits. Others may even have birds or reptiles who need a loving home.

If you’re considering adopting a pet, visit a shelter. You may just find the pet that wins your heart! Talk to your Fort Collins veterinarian about the shelters in your area.

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