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AHA Study: Adopted Pets Receiving Veterinary Care More Likely To Stay With New Families

Posted January 29, 2014 in A Pet's Life

At Pet Health Network, we promote regular veterinary care. We also promote adoption. It turns out pet adoption and healthcare go hand in hand.

A new study published by the American Humane Association suggests a strong correlation between retention rates and veterinary visits for adopted cats and dogs. In other words, pets visiting the veterinarian are more likely – 93.3% more likely, in fact – to remain with their new families long after adoption than those who don’t receive veterinary care.  On a species-by-species level, dogs who visited a veterinarian were 9.9 times more likely to remain with their families six months after adoption, while cats were 4.9 times more likely to stay with their new families. 

The study doesn’t offer such heartening news for those pets not making a trip to the vet. Just 53.3% of dogs and 79.4% of cats were retained among those pets not receiving veterinary care. What’s more, these pets were likely to leave their new families in a hurry – 92.9% of non-retained dogs and 61.5% of non-retained cats were gone within two months. 

While these numbers are certainly telling, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Perhaps some pet parents were waiting to decide on keeping a pet before spending the money on a veterinary exam. It is, however, alarming to consider that free veterinary visits did NOT increase the overall likelihood of a newly adopted pet receiving care.

The takeaway? There are several. Never adopt a pet unless you’re ready to care for that pet as a member of your family. That means veterinary care, exercise, proper diet, plenty of attention, and an excess of love. Adoption also necessitates financial stability. Pets cost money and take time, and you should always be able to invest in your pets in return for their boundless love, loyalty, and companionship.

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Matt has more than 3 years of experience in the pet health industry and is a lifestyle contributor to IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer:

The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.