Abandonment and adoption of dogs: the role of the veterinary surgeon | Vets & Clinics

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Abandonment and adoption of dogs: the role of the veterinary surgeon

Unfortunately, year after year, a lot of animals are abandoned primarily because new owners make a very superficial analysis of the responsibilities of pet ownership.

Bond between people and pets

It may not occur to them that adopting or receiving a dog as a present involves a lifetime commitment, or perhaps they don’t think about the costs of looking after the animal when they are acquiring it. Secondly, they may not realise that they need to spend time walking and training their new pet. And, of course, there is the need to make arrangements when we go on holiday and can’t take the dog with us. Sadly, last year the percentage of dogs who were abandoned or ended up in dogs homes after getting lost was 9% of all dogs in Spain, reaching 13% when the reason was due to unwanted litters.

Unfortunately, year after year, a lot of animals are abandoned primarily because new owners make a very superficial analysis of the responsibilities of pet ownership. It may not occur to them that adopting or receiving a dog as a present involves a lifetime commitment, or perhaps they don’t think about the costs of looking after the animal when they are acquiring it. Secondly, they may not realise that they need to spend time walking and training their new pet. And, of course, there is the need to make arrangements when we go on holiday and can’t take the dog with us.

That is why the participation of vets is so important; their role goes far beyond fundamental aspects such as the animal’s clinical care, as their efforts to increase awareness are also essential in terms of reducing the number of abandonments, preventing unwanted breeding and encouraging more adoption. Their work to ensure pets are registered, by  implanting microchips, makes it easier to locate lost animals and even means owners can be held responsible for abandoning pets.

Vets still have a lot to do in the fight against abandonments:  animals are not just a fashion accessory.

Last year, animal shelters took in lost or abandoned dogs at a rate of 9% of all dogs in Spain, while this figure ascended to 13% for the case of unwanted litters. These and other interesting data are taken from this study conducted by the Affinity Foundation.

Dr. Jaume Fatjó, director of the Affinity Foundation group Animales y Salud (Animals and Health), has analysed some of the reasons why cats and dogs are abandoned, why pet–owner cohabitation fails and what vets and researchers can do to prevent this problem.

Veterinary professionals are responsible for informing the public about the benefits of living with animals, but they also have a duty to identify the main reasons why this relationship breaks down, which often results, as we all know, in the pet being abandoned.

  • Why does this coexistence break down?
  • How can this lost link be recovered?
  • Which criteria should be considered when looking for a new family for abandoned animals?

 

In the end, it is vitally important that we find answers to all these questions. Encouraging adoption and detecting the causes of abandonment are priorities for professionals working in areas involved with the relationship between people and animals.

In this respect, there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done. According to studies by the Affinity Foundation, in 2014 an average of 16 cats and dogs were abandoned every day across Spain, that’s more than 140,000 pets in total. And, contrary to popular belief, abandonment does not increase during a specific period, but remains constant throughout the year. This situation should be a cause for concern that merits our attention, as the humanity of a society is also measured according to the respect it has for the animals that form part of it.

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