- 1. If Your Pet Store Sells Puppies, Don’t Shop There
- 2. Lawn 911! Pet Poisonous Cocoa Bean Mulch
- 3. Top Four Things to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Pet
- 4. ASPCA Happy Tails: The Long Road Home
1. If Your Pet Store Sells Puppies, Don’t Shop There
On the ground, in state legislatures and even in Congress, the ASPCA is fighting puppy mill cruelty across the nation and working hard to put the worst of these large commercial breeders out of business. But we realize that taking on the mills directly is just one facet of the battle, and not the whole war. If we can raise public awareness about the suffering of puppy mill dogs and get people to stop patronizing the stores that sell them, this appalling industry will die—and that’s where our new campaign and website No Pet Store Puppies comes in.
According to a newly released poll, nearly 80 percent of consumers would not purchase a puppy if they knew he or she came from a puppy mill. But the poll also revealed that 78 percent of consumers are unaware that most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. “The ASPCA’s research shows that people know puppy mills are bad, but they don’t realize most pet store puppies come from puppy mills,” says Matt Bershadker, ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group Senior Vice President.
The goal of No Pet Store Puppies is to highlight the direct connection between puppy mills and the puppies sold in pet stores. And it’s not enough to refuse to buy a dog from a pet store—we’re asking you to not give these stores any of your business at all! By purchasing anything—including food, supplies or toys—from a store that sells puppies, you are supporting a business that, in turn, supports the puppy mill industry.
Please visit NoPetStorePuppies.com and take the pledge to not shop for anything at pet stores if they sell puppies. The fun new site also hosts a blog, great general information about puppy mills and the first in a series of funny videos starring our mascot, Larry the dog. Check it out today, and use the social media tools on the site to spread the word to friends and family!
2. Lawn 911! Pet Poisonous Cocoa Bean Mulch
If your dog likes to spend sunny days lazing in the garden, his treat-seeking nose may lead him to one danger in particular: sweet-smelling cocoa bean mulch.
Many gardeners are familiar with the use of cocoa bean shells, a by-product of chocolate production, in landscaping. It’s especially popular for its attractive odor and color and eventual degradation into organic fertilizer. But many pet parents don’t realize that cocoa mulch, if eaten in large quantities by mischievous dogs, can be toxic.
“Dogs are attracted to the fertilizer’s sweet smell,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, ASPCA Chief Operating Officer, “but like chocolate, cocoa bean mulch can be too much for our canine companions.”
Ingestion of large amounts of cocoa bean mulch may cause a variety of clinical signs, including:
- elevated heart rate
- muscle tremors
- neurological disturbances
Dr. Hansen recommends that the gardeners among us consider using a nontoxic alternative, such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark, to beautify their yards. These will keep your pooch and your garden happy and healthy.
If you suspect your dog has ingested cocoa bean mulch, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. For more potential pet hazards living on your lawn, check out our Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening.
3. Top Four Things to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Pet
So you’ve got your eye on a new pet! Whether it’s the latest addition to your menagerie or your first-ever pet (congratulations!) it pays to think ahead about which species would fit best in your family. Ask yourself these questions before you bring home a new friend.
What do I want most in a pet?
Are you looking for a constant companion, an independent critter or a pet who’s perfect for your six-year-old? A dog is called man’s best friend for a reason, but cats and rabbits can also be very affectionate and don’t require a walking schedule. If you’re looking for something both loving and appropriate for children, consider a guinea pig!
How much responsibility can I handle?
Everyone knows that dogs are a lot more work than your average fish. But commitment to your pet can sometimes mean a lot more than scooping the litter box or serving up a plate of kibble. Can you care for a cat who becomes diabetic? What about a dog who needs help with separation anxiety? Consider how much time and energy your family has to commit to a new pet and how you might handle a rough patch with your new friend.
What kind of critter can I afford to pamper?
Caring for pets can get pretty pricey, especially when you consider possible incidental costs like emergency trips to the vet, hiring a cat-sitter, or replacing a chair your puppy turned into a chew-toy. If your wallet’s a bit light at the moment, your best bet is a fish, which ASPCA research shows can cost as little as $35 a year. A large dog, by contrast, will set you back nearly $900 each year. For more information on the price of day-to-day care of various pets, check out our handy Pet Care Costs chart.
Which species is most compatible with my lifestyle?
Are you a jetsetter, a homebody, a new parent or night owl? Examining when you’re home, when you’re awake, and the size and shape of your family will help you determine which pet to adopt. A Terrier won’t be very happy with an absentee pet parent, but a workaholic could still enjoy caring for a fish. And if you’re up late at night, many kitties would love to keep you company, as would a hamster! They’re nocturnal and make good companions for those who burn the midnight oil.
No matter what species you decide to make a part of your family, make sure adoption is your first option!
4. ASPCA Happy Tails: The Long Road Home
This week’s Happy Tail comes from Alexandra Pintea, a veterinary assistant at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Illinois. Alexandra tells us how she couldn’t give up on reuniting a stray Australian Shepherd with his grateful family.
A friend of mine found an Australian Shepherd over the Fourth of July weekend and called me to help. We scanned the dog for a microchip, and though he had one, it wasn’t registered, so there was no way to find who his family was.
My friend had to leave the next morning on vacation, so I told him I would keep Max until we found his family. Max stayed at my house overnight. On Sunday I drove around the neighborhood where he was found, but nobody knew him, so I went to the Humane Society. They had no record of him and told me to take him to Animal Control.
Well, Animal Control was closed on Sunday, so I said I’d keep Max since the Humane Society does not take in stray dogs. But I also called the sheriff and left my cell phone number in case Max’s family called looking for him.
Around 2:00 P.M., a very distressed man called me! He seemed exhausted because he had driven all night and morning around Urbana looking for Max, whom he was dog-sitting for the weekend. He was so happy and wanted to pay me, but of course I refused the money—so he said that he would make a donation to the ASPCA! He promised to make sure Max's microchip was registered as soon as possible.
Max is very lucky to have found Alexandra. Remember, up-to-date microchips, when combined with collar ID tags, are proven to be the most reliable tool for recovering lost pets.