Your new pet is waiting

A helpful guide to pet adoption

There was once a time when the ideal life was to grow up and have an American nuclear family of your very own. A mom, dad, 2.5 kids, a dog and a cat. It was all part of the American dream. In today’s world we may not follow that rigid out of date model of a family structure, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that everyone wants a pet. But before you spend the big bucks and purchase an expensive designer dog or specially bred cat, consider the alternative, adoption. Whether you find a stray on the street or head to your local animal shelter or rescue group, there are plenty of loving pets out there waiting for you.

Not all heroes wear capes

They just show up and care

Each year, millions of pets are put down because they don’t have a home. Every pet adopted, is a life saved. Every life preserved, means someone has a new best friend. On top of being a hero and saving lives, the pets at shelters are usually already neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. This will not only save you money, but time as well. So instead of browsing the pet store, go to the shelter and save a life. Adopt, don’t shop. But before you begin the rewarding road to pet adoption, there are a few things to do:

Do your research

Which breed is right for you?

That’s right folks, adopting a pet is a big step and it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting into. Your first step is to identify the kind of animal you’d like. A dog will be your best friend and enthusiastically greet you every time you step through the door. Whereas a cat will be more like a passive aggressive roommate who sometimes acknowledges your presence, but will still love you and want to play every now and then. Once you’ve determined whether you want a cat, dog, or maybe even a horse; it’s then important to recognize different breeds and the behavior that is associated with them. Choose one that will best match your personality, temperament, and lifestyle. But be prepared, there’s a decent chance that you may go to the shelter looking for one thing, and end up falling in love with an entirely different animal.

Can you afford it?

It’s a serious commitment

Aside from choosing what type of animal and breed, it’s also important to make sure that you’re actually prepared, both emotionally and financially. A pet is a lifelong companion, and comes with great responsibility. Not only will you have to pay adoption fees, prepare the proper paperwork such as proof of residence and any types of permits that will be required; but you also need to make sure that you can care for the pet over the course of their life. Do the math and crunch those numbers, because you’ll be paying for pet insurance, food, toys, bedding, obedience training and any other accessories and supplies that they may require. So for your sake and for them, make sure you’re ready.

Find a pet

The journey begins here

So you’ve diligently done your homework and have decided that not only do you want a pet, but you’re well prepared to care for it. Now it’s time to actually find your new best friend. There are a plethora of websites that allow you to search local shelters and rescue centers in your quest for a new companion. You can also just head over to a shelter, but as mentioned before, make sure you have all the proper paperwork so if you do fall in love with a little fur ball you can take them home with you that day (if possible). Different rescue groups have different adoption policies so to be safe, you may want to call the shelter ahead of time and inquire into exactly what type of permits and paperwork they require, this way you show up prepared and ready to roll. For a quick start check out You can search for loving pets in need of a forever home all across the country.

Be prepared

A few helpful tips

Finally! The big day is here and excitement fills the air as you bring home the newest member of your family. But before this happens there are a few things you should take care of:

Puppy proof your home

Better safe than sorry

Even if it’s an older dog or a cat, the concept is still the same. Remove any thing that could be toxic or hazardous to them such as certain plants, unattended food, exposed wires, objects they can choke on, etc. Make sure there are no areas where they can get stuck, and don’t leave anything valuable sitting out. When they first get to your home they will most likely be nervous and anxious, and unfortunately this can lead to destructive behavior. But remember, they can’t chew your favorite shoes if you don’t leave them within reach. It may be a good idea to give them a few calming chews and set up some pee pads just in case they have an accident.

So many accessories

Seriously, there’s a lot

Make sure you’re well stocked in food, treats, bedding, a leash, toys, and any health supplements or medication they may require. Also, have a collar with all of your contact information at the ready.

A place just for them

Give them some space

There’s a reasonable chance that when they first enter their new forever home they will hide. This is normal. Dogs may explore a little bit first, but chances are they will require time to adjust. Cats will definitely hide until they get a lay of the land and understand the hierarchy of the home. (They’ll probably think they’re in charge) So be proactive and prepare a safe haven for them. Either setup a crate, playpen, or use a pet gate to block off a small room. Fill their new snug area with plenty of toys, a bed, water bowl and food. This will help them adjust and get more comfortable around you and your family.

Prepare your children

And other pets too

If you have young children, explain to them how to properly treat the new pet. They may require some coaching in order to not scare or harm the pet. And if you already have a dog or cat, you may want to take them to the shelter to meet their new friend before you bring them home. Otherwise they may go to war.

A vet trip & a chip

A healthy pet is a happy pet

If you adopted your pet from a shelter or rescue center, they probably have already been checked out by a vet, micro chipped and neutered/spayed. But if this hasn’t been done, it should definitely be a priority. A microchip will ensure that if they ever get lost and taken to a shelter, the employees (or volunteers) can scan the chip to retrieve your contact info. A trip to the veterinarian is a smart maneuver to make sure the pet is healthy.

To neuter or not to neuter?

That is the question

Now neutering or spaying them is completely up to you, but it will allow them to live a longer and healthier life, and it will also help reduce overpopulation & cut down on the millions of strays that are euthanized each year… Just some food for thought.

Congratulations! You’re a pet owner

Now the real fun begins

So you’ve done your research, purchased the supplies, prepared the home, and you’ve been to the vet; there’s only one more thing you need to do for your newly adopted pet. Have some fun! Animal companions are a terrific source of joy, and will be ready to shower you with love day after day, month after month, and year after year. So return the favor and provide them with the loving home they deserve. Show them you care, and treat them well, because you just made a life-long friend. Play in the sun, have a fetch, and eat some treats; because you’re going to create memories that will last a lifetime. So share your experience and send us some of the cutest photos of your new friend, because here at Paws & Pals, we’re dedicated to you and your pet. Seriously though, look us up on Instagram (@pawsandpalsofficial) because we want to hear all about your adoption experience.

Safety tips for leaving your pet home alone on the 4th of July

It’s the 4th of July, you’re about to go to a fun BBQ and your dog knows it. They’re waiting patiently at the door, with their favorite chew toy, ready to let loose and party. With stylish and comfortable items such as pet car seats, rolling back pack carriers, and pet hammocks designed to keep your car clean, pet travel has never been easier. But you know most of your day will revolve around making sure he/she doesn’t grab a hamburger right off the grill (accidentally burning themselves in the process). So leave the dog at home with the cat, and enjoy your moment in the sun. But before you head out, it’s important to make sure that you have properly prepared your dog and cat for the loud sounds that are to come. With that in mind, here are a few helpful tips and suggestions when leaving your dog and cat home alone on the 4th of July.

STEP #1: Familiarize them with the sound of fireworks

Cats & dogs have sensitive ears and can be easily startled. To us, fireworks symbolize a celebration. But to them, it sounds like the world is ending. So in an effort to properly prepare them, try playing firework sounds ahead of time at a very low volume, then gradually increase the volume throughout the day. Hopefully your pet will slowly acclimate to these sounds. Unfortunately, familiarizing them with loud sounds won’t relieve them of all their anxiety.

If your pet tends to tremble, hide, pace, excessively bark or meow, destroy your clothing, and furniture then do them a solid; with a sprits of calming spray or a few tasty bites of calming chews you can relieve their stress, anxiety, and worry. Apply the spray after a fresh bath, or give them the chews at least 30 minutes before stressful situations. Not only will these calming techniques help your dog or cat remain calm during fireworks, but they’re great for taking your pet to work and flying with your pet. These two items will also make them less likely to treat your living room floor like it’s their personal bathroom.

But maybe you’re thinking “Hey, it’s not a big deal if my dog poops in the house, I have a brand new pooper scooper.” Now, that scooper may be flawless in picking up stool, but the stains left behind will probably be difficult to get out of your rug, carpet, or bedding. So do the smart thing, and set up a safe zone for your dog or cat before you leave home. Block off a small room with a pet gate, use a crate (place a blanket on top and leave the door open) or set up a playpen; and then fill the area with some of their favorite toys, a comfortable bed, as well as a water bowl and food. This way when the fireworks begin, your pet will be in a comfortable environment where they can “hide” & feel happy, safe, and secure.

Now if you’re still concerned that your dog may have an accident in your home, simply lay out a few pee pads to absorb and contain the mess. It’s also smart to close all windows, not only to reduce noise, but to make sure your pet doesn’t make a run for it.

So you closed the windows and set up a safe zone but still, you’re worried it’s not enough. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! It’s the ultimate way to make your pet chill for the day. Luckily for you there are a variety of items designed to help your pet get a nice work out. You can easily clip on a breathable mesh harness and go for a brisk walk or vigorous run. But if it’s dark outside or a field of dense fog fills the air, there’s no need to fret; LED collars are a terrific and fun way to keep an eye on your dog in conditions with limited visibility. You can even grab their favorite chew toy and play some tug of war. Chances are your dog will be so tired, they’ll just sleep through the fireworks. Not only will exercise tire out your dog, it will also promote a happier mood as well as relieve stress and tension.

No matter what you end up doing, just make sure your dog and cat know you love them. Shower them with attention before you leave and once you return. Rub their ears, pet their backs, and scratch their chins. Cuddling with your pet doesn’t just ease their anxiety, it also boosts their self-esteem. Take note of what calming techniques and preparations worked. Because next thing you know, a whole year will have gone by, and you’ll have to do it all over again. And who knows, maybe next year you’ll be up for the challenge and decide to bring them along for the fun. From all of your friends here at Paws & Pals, have a happy, joyous, and safe independence day.