Friday, 8 February 2019

What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?

This is a very common question from pet owners who are trying to make the safest and healthiest decision for their beloved animal companions. And, depending on who you ask, you can get many different answers.
Most private practice veterinarians won’t schedule a spay/neuter surgery until the animal is at least 6 months old. Meanwhile, common shelter practices involve spaying or neutering as early as 2-3 months of age.
While there may be a difference in opinion among veterinarians about the ideal age to alter an animal, the truth is that pediatric spay/neuter (or surgery performed on a pet younger than 5 months) has been safely performed for years. Pediatric spay/neuter is a common practice among animal welfare leaders like Animal Friends for a number of reasons.
First, it allows shelters to find adopters for their younger residents during a highly adoptable period of their lives. Before pediatric spay/neuter, shelters would adopt out unaltered young animals with the hope that their families would seek out spay/neuter options when their pet was a little older. But, as pet overpopulation continued to be a growing problem, organizations realized that the best option was to alter their animals before adoption.
© Linda Mitzel Photography
Another benefit of pediatric spay/neuter is a faster recovery time following surgery. Often times, younger patients can actually be awake and playing within hours of their operation.
And, pets who are altered are at a lower risk of developing certain cancers.
While everyone can agree that kittens, puppies and baby bunnies are adorable, there is certainly no shortage of them in our region. Whether purebred, mixed breed or lovable mutt, offspring who are born – intentionally or unintentionally – contribute to the growing pet overpopulation facing our community.
Each year, millions of companion animals are euthanized in the United States. For decades, Animal Friends has strongly believed that euthanasia can never be the solution to pet overpopulation. Spay/neuter is safe, humane and – thanks to the low-cost services at our Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center – affordable.
If you have an unaltered pet at home (young or old!) contact our Clinic Services team at 412.847.7004 or to discuss spay/neuter options for your four-legged family member.

Ronan: Home to Home Adoption Program

This handsome boy is Ronan! He is a very sweet, affectionate cat who is about 5 years old. He is neutered, very outgoing and gets along with other felines. Ronan has always been a friendly stray cat. He has been living outside, receiving care from a Good Samaritan, but has never had a home he could call his own.

At one point during his life, Ronan was hit by a car and his hind leg was broken in three different places. Since he had no family, the broken bones were never set properly and never properly healed. To ease his pain, a veterinarian decided to amputate his leg. He is recovering well from his surgery and is adjusting quite nicely to a life with three legs.

During his most recent visit to the veterinarian, Ronan was diagnosed with FIV. With regular visits to the veterinarian, though, cats with FIV can live long, happy lives! Ronan can go home to a family with other FIV positive felines or a home where he will be the only feline.

Ronan is looking for a home where he will be given all the love he deserves. He loves neck and belly scratches and lounging around with his human friends. If Ronan sounds like the perfect addition to your family, please contact Peggy at

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Beat the Winter Blues

With Puzzles and Games for your Pet

By Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist, Animal Friends
With the chilly winter weather upon us, you and your pets may be feeling the winter blues. But, you can help your four-legged family members beat cabin fever with some daily activities that put their minds to work! Providing your pets with opportunities to use their brains in new ways that engage their senses, reduce stress, redirect extra energy or relieve boredom can add to the quality of their lives by keeping them engaged with the world around them.

You may have seen dogs enjoying puzzle feeders and toys before. There is a wide variety of puzzle feeder toys available in stores for pets. While many are labeled for dogs, cats and rabbits can use the very same ones!

Everyday items that you find around the house can also be turned into enrichment activity puzzles for your pet. Hide a treat in a ball pit, an egg carton, a cereal box, a muffin tin, a paper towel roll or even in the box that Amazon or Chewy delivered. The possibilities are endless!

You can also scatter multiple boxes, plastic cereal bowls or yogurt containers around the room to be searched – there just might be a yummy treat or a new toy inside! If your pet is breezing through their puzzles a little too fast, try hiding the toy for them to rediscover or wrap it in a towel or blanket.

By offering your pet a new activity each day, you can help them keep the winter blues away. It is so important to give your pets the opportunity to use their senses in ways that are fun, new and exciting. Remember, as Dr. Seuss said, “I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny. But we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”

To learn more about fun ways to enrich your pet’s days during the winter months, click here.