A Montréal municipal Web site

Adopting

There are many advantages of having a pet around, as a companion, but welcoming a pet into your home is no small move, and quite the contrary.

Before getting a pet, you should:

  • Make sure you have enough time to take care of it and choose a breed that suits your lifestyle and your place of residence.
  • Financially prepare for the costs related to taking care of your pet: food, accessories, veterinary care, grooming, pet-sitting, insurance, etc.
  • Find out the life expectancy for that animal.
  • Make sure your lease or declaration of co-ownership allows pets.

Like many big cities, Montréal has to deal with the problem of overpopulation of unwanted animals, mainly caused by too many that are born and a lot of owners abandoning their pets.

Numerous pet shelters and adoption agencies welcome animals of all ages and sizes who want nothing more than to find a home where they will be treated well.

When you adopt a pet from a shelter or agency:

  • You help an animal in need, while gaining a devoted companion.
  • You get a pet that has been given an assessment, care and vaccinations, and sometimes sterilized and microchipped as well.
  • You give a second chance to an animal who may otherwise be euthanized.

Adopting a pet is a commitment that must be carefully considered depending on your family situation, your lifestyle, your place of residence, your free time and your financial means. The decision to adopt a pet should take all members of your family into consideration.

Through their commendable aim of making the best matches, most shelters and adoption agencies assess each animal’s behaviour and have a pre-selection process for future pet owners, who are asked to provide certain information as well as personal references.

Microchips

A microchip is a capsule the size of a grain of rice with a computer chip that contains a unique numeric code that identifies the animal. The microchip can be implanted in veterinary clinics and is administered like a vaccine.

A microchip is a permanent method of identification because it remains in place throughout the animal’s life, does not wear off over the years and cannot be lost.

When an errant animal arrives at a shelter, a reader is used to detect whether the animal has a microchip.

If the pet has a microchip, the name and contact information of his or her guardian can be found in the database.

The advantage of a microchip is that it is permanent.

The city strongly recommends the implantation of a microchip which makes it fast and easy to identify a pet's guardian if a pet should lose his or her tag.

Sterilizing your pet

Having your cat or dog sterilized is highly recommended by all animal health and protection professionals.

It’s a surgical procedure performed under general anaesthesia by a veterinarian. Sterilizing males (also called "neutering", "castrating" or "fixing") consists of removing their testicles. For females, there are different methods of sterilization (also called "spaying" or "fixing"). Once pets are sterilized, they can no longer reproduce.

There are many advantages of sterilizing your pet, including:

  • It prevents a number of health problems (tumours, infections).
  • It helps prevent undesirable behaviour for pet owners and neighbours.
  • It reduces pets’ tendency to escape or wander during mating season.
  • It significantly reduces the frequency of urine marking.
  • Females will never again go into heat and so female dogs won’t be subject to heat-related bleeding and female cats won’t become agitated and constantly meow.
  • It helps control the animal population by limiting unwanted litters. It mustn't be forgotten that cats have 5 or 6 kittens at a time and dogs may have anywhere from 4 to 12 puppies in their litter and become pregnant several times a year. So sterilizing pets significantly reduces the number of orphans who don’t find anyone to adopt them and also avoids numerous cases of having to euthanize them for lack of a home.

Before you give your pet away

Giving away a pet is no trivial matter. Pet owners may be prompted to consider such a solution for personal reasons or because of the pet’s behaviour.

Giving away a pet because you’re unhappy with its behaviour is not the best solution. Most behaviour problems can be solved. A dog owner mustn't hesitate to consult a veterinarian, who will be able to check whether the problem is a medical one. A veterinarian can also make appropriate recommendations and, if need be, refer you to a dog trainer.

The role of a dog trainer is to suggest ways and means of helping dog owners restore a healthy relationship with their pets. Although it is more common to hear about dog training, cats may also show signs of behaviour disorders, which well-informed advice from cat behaviour specialists can help owners resolve.

Before making a final decision that may well be regretted, pet owners should try to solve the problem they are having. Then, if there is no other option, they can find a new home for their pet or bring it to a local shelter or to an adoption agency.

Never abandon a pet in nature. In addition to putting the pet in great danger, such an action also disrupts the fragile balance of ecosystems.