Animal rescue organizations do great work, but their job is never done. There are always more animals to help, and the journey from rescue to forever home can be a long one. Sadly, not every animal completes the trip. In the United States alone, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized each year. If you have the space, you can help some of these animals by opening your home to rescued animals. Before you do, follow these tips for preparing your home.
Pet Proof Everything
Even if you already have pets, opening your home to rescue animals changes things. Tiny kittens can squeeze into small spaces your big dog can’t, and a particularly clever pooch might figure out how to open your backyard gate. Make sure dangerous chemicals, electrical wires and other hazards are all tucked safely away from animals of various shapes, sizes and tenacity. This is especially important when caring for exotic animals, such as parrots, foxes, rodents, and others that are very clever and skilled at getting into unexpected areas to get what they want.
Door and Window Sensors
If you have a variety of animals living in your home, then you have to be aware that there are a variety of exits through which they can get out. Birds will fly out of any open window if given the opportunity, and a door that is left open is an invitation to dogs, cats, and other animals to take out for the road. Exotic pets, especially, are more likely to try and escape due to their lack of true domestication. Therefore, it can be helpful to have sensors put on your doors and windows so you can be alerted if one is opened or closed unexpectedly. Working with local locksmith services can help you choose and install locks automated locks, latches and alarm systems to help keep the animals in your care safe from their own Houdini instincts.
Think Climate Control
Different animals, especially rescues, have different atmospheric needs. If you’re hosting reptiles, especially, you’ll want to make sure that you have what you need to give proper temperature and humidity control for their specific species. This includes ways to heat up a room, cool it down, and maintain a steady temperature. Even mammals have specific needs in terms of temperature to stay healthy. Some dogs, for instance, may do fine in outdoor kennels while others, like brachycephalic breeds, need protection from the heat. Infant animals will also often require a heating pad or electric blanket that they can cuddle with to properly heat their small bodies, or else their temperature may drop to dangerous levels.
Create a Quarantine Area
You should never introduce a new animal into your rescue operation until a vet gives them a clean bill of health. If you’ll take in animals before a vet checkup or accept sick animals in need of care, you’ll need an area where you can quarantine them. Ideally, this space should be completely enclosed and finished in hard surfaces that are easy to clean. Access to running water in the quarantine area is also helpful, as is a small refrigerator for storing certain medications. While soft surfaces, like blankets and pillows, should be offered for comfort, these should never then be shared with other animals, so towels or other cloths that are easy to disinfect or dispose of are better. These areas will also need to be temperature regulated for optimum healing time.
Opening your home to rescue animals is a great way to get involved, but it’s imperative that you get the details right. Make sure your home is ready to receive animals in all stages of health before you commit to taking in rescues. Doing so will make things easier for both you and the animals in your care.