You used to swoon when the kitties dived into the laundry as though it were their personal playground. And when the new puppy found the bag of dog food and helped himself, you took pictures. But as time goes on, the antics of your furry family members aren’t quite as adorable.
Perhaps your pooch snacks on your favorite sneakers. Or he gets needy during online business meetings. Maybe your cat is etching a striped pattern on the arms of the sofa. Since pets and people speak different languages, it’s nice to know FREE or affordable assistance is available to help bridge the communication gap.
Various animal shelters around the nation offer pet behavior helplines. Staff members or trained volunteers offer personalized assistance to questions submitted by phone or email. Some behavior helplines are intended primarily for families who adopted from that shelter. Other helplines serve anyone, regardless of where they live or where they acquired their pet. You can get advice on litter box use, house training, nipping, scratching and gnawing. Some helplines also accept questions about rabbits, gerbils and other types of pets.
- ASPCA Help Line for pets offers compassionate and knowledgeable advice on pet care, end-of-life issues, and more. (The Help Line cannot give you medical advice about your pet, however.) Call 952-HELP-PET (952-435-7738). Because of high call volume, please be prepared to wait.
- The Anti-Cruelty Society is there is to help you navigate animal behavior. To contact behavior specialists, call 312-645-8253 or email email@example.com.
- Wanderers’ Rest Humane Association in Canastota, N.Y., has a page dedicated to feline behavior and issues. You can call 315-697-2796 for advice.
Another resource is Just Answer Veterinary, which connects you to an on-call veterinarian (for a fee or as part of a subscription-based membership ) who can go over any problem with you and determine if your pet needs an examination.
Animal Friends’ Behavior Team, based in the Pittsburgh area, is available for help with pet behavior, including rabbits. You can call them at 412-847-7059.
You can also find reliable FREE tips and advice online at these sites:
- Dumb Friends League
- Humane Society of the United States: dog behavior tips and cat behavior tips
Do you think your pets’ behavior is the result of eating something or getting into something he shouldn’t have? Don’t take a chance. Call the Animal Poison Control Center for help at 888-426-4435.
Have you found other great free resources on pet care and behavior? Let us know.
For more articles on Living on the Cheap:
Travel tips for you and your dog
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