Today is the last day of Be Kind to Animals Week which coincides with National Pet Week this year. But thankfully, it’s not the last chance to take a look at how we treat our pets — and solve the problems that lead to giving them up. American Humane Association (AHA) released a study funded by a grant from PetSmart Charities on Wednesday, May 8 that indicates hundreds of thousands of adopted pets are given up, lost or die each year.
Interestingly, there was a significant difference in retention rates associated with veterinary visits. Although the AHA cautioned a deeper dive into the reasons why, the retention rate among pets that had had a veterinary visit was 93.3 percent compared to 53.3 percent of dogs and 79.4 percent of cats respectively.
According to Dr. Patricia Olson, chief veterinary advisor for AHA and head of its Animal Welfare Institute, the study explores three of the greatest issues facing dogs and cats today: the lack of willing adopters, the reasons so many pets leave their homes and the need to create strategies to help Americans retain their pets.
Animal health companies and veterinary groups are also trying to address these alarming problems. For example, behavioral issues is one of the concerns that can cause pet owners to give up their pet. As Ceva Animal Health and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists again tour this year with the Keep the L.O.V.E. Alive Behavior Express Tour bus, pet owners will be provided with some solutions to behavioral problems, and encouraged to see their veterinarian. For a complete tour schedule, click here.
Kudos to the American Humane Association on the study, but AHA knows we still have work to do. The American Humane Association is seeking funding to complete the project and prospective supporters can contact AHA at 866-242-1877 or [email protected]. The complete study can be found at americanhumane.org/petsmart.