Why are there so many homeless dogs?

Some of the factors that lead to dogs without a home.

The top 10 reasons for dog relinquishment

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, the top 10 reasons for dog relinquishment to shelters in the United States are:

  • Moving
  • Landlord issues
  • Cost of pet maintenance
  • No time for pet
  • Inadequate facilities
  • Too many pets in home
  • Pet illness
  • Personal problems
  • Biting
  • No homes for littermates

Many animals enter the shelters each year

According to the Humane Society of the United States pet overpopulation estimates:

  • Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year: 8-10 million
  • Number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year: 4-5 million
  • Number of animal shelters in the United States: Between 4 and 6 thousand
  • Percentage of purebred dogs in shelters: 25 percent
  • Average number of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year: 2
  • Average number of animals in an average canine litter: 6-10 (In six years, one female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs.)

Shelters are busiest during the 4th of July

The 4th of July may be a fun time for us, but many dogs have a different point of view. What is fun, exciting, and beautiful to us is terrifying to most of our canine friends with their sensitive hearing. This week, hundreds of dogs in your own community alone will become a statistic as they run away to escape the noise that this holiday brings. Some will be picked up and brought to shelters, where they may be reunited with their human families. Others, not so fortunate, will get hit by cars as they run across roads in their terror.

Some safety tips for your dog during this holiday
  • Reassure your dog with a gentle massage and a soft voice.
  • Let your dog hide out in whatever special "den" they feel safe.
  • Use a crate to soothe him. Keep the door open and cover the top with a blanket to help muffle the noise.
  • Play some calming sounds, such as ocean sounds or soft music.
  • Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog.
  • Stay calm yourself, and don't make a big deal out of the noise yourself.
  • Don't leave a frightened dog outside. Even a dog that isn't bothered by loud noises should not be left outside on the 4th; she could get hit by a stray bottle rocket or burned by a child holding a sparkler. Be safe and bring her inside.
  • Try an animal behaviorist to help slowly condition your dog to loud noises.
  • Ask your vet to prescribe medication to calm him. You might also try an herbal remedy such as Rescue Remedy.

Please keep your dog safe during the 4th of July festivities!