How To Care for a Pet

When you adopt a pet from the Animal Shelter, you're adding a new member to your family. Caring for your new pet is a big responsibility but also a great joy.

Food and water are the basics for all living things. A veterinarian can advise you on the proper kind, quantity, and feeding schedule for your new pet. Your vet can also provide shots and medications needed to prevent things like rabies and heartworms. Gwinnett requires dogs and cats to wear rabies tags.

Cats will need a clean litter box from day one, and a cat carrier will be very useful since most cats don't enjoy car rides. Big dogs need exercise and love to go for walks. You'll need a leash and collar. When you have to travel and leave your pet behind, you'll need a place to board your pet or a petsitter to come to your home at least daily.

Most dogs and cats are remarkably healthy by human standards, but injuries do happen and older animals may need special medical attention. Georgia winters get cold enough that you will need to provide warmth and shelter for an outdoor pet.

Animals that go outside frequently often bring fleas inside where they multiply rapidly in carpets, furniture, or bedding. Fleas are hard to see and people often aren't aware of them until they notice tiny bites around their ankles. Vets have various flea treatments available and pest control companies can treat carpets and other hiding places.

Most dogs and cats will respond to the gift of your time and attention by becoming your most loyal fan and helping you reduce the stress in your life. Studies have shown that people are healthier and live longer when they spend time with a pet.

Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

The employees at Gwinnett County Animal Welfare & Enforcement urge you to have your pet spayed or neutered. It is the single most important thing you can do to care for your pet and reduce the suffering so many animals endure.

Each year people drop off unwanted animals at the Shelter or we impound them. These animals may have been someone’s pet that wandered off, a pet abandoned by its owner or ones that are simply have never had a home. Those animals that have not been spayed or neutered will reproduce; it’s their natural instinct and results in pet overpopulation. Think it’s not a problem here?  It is!  There are thousands of unwanted animals here in Gwinnett County that are not spayed or neutered and reproducing.  They start life without a chance. We see the results every day as we must euthanize the animals we cannot find a home for. Many of the animals are sick and malnourished. 

Prior to adopting a pet from the Shelter you are required by County ordinance to have your pet spayed or neutered though a contract with the Society of Humane Friends. The Society of Humane Friends provides this low cost service to help reduce pet overpopulation. If you obtain your pet from another source make sure it is spayed or neutered. The procedure can be performed by your veterinarian or through a low cost spay and neuter program.  The Humane Society and the ASPCA offer information on their web sites including low cost spay and neuter programs close to where you live.

In addition to the benefit of reducing pet overpopulation spaying and neutering helps your pet stay healthier.  Please be a responsible pet owner and have your pet spayed or neutered.