Kate CP - posted on 10/26/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )




Furry family member or fuzzy accessory? If you had a pet that was having behavioral issues (biting, marking, clawing, chewing, etc) would you re-home it? How far would you go to keep a pet?


Mary - posted on 10/27/2010




The problem, Louise, is that ANY animal (dogs in particular) is capable of harming a child. Many people think 'Oh, not my dog, s/he is so gentle and sweet". I have one of those dogs...he is the most laidback, tolerant, sweet-natured creatures to ever grace this planet. He was about 9 months old when I adopted him, and from day one, he had been nothing but a mellow, loving guy, particularly with small kids. In seven years, I've never even heard him growl.

However, I am no fool. He is 85 lbs of solid muscle, is strong, fast, and has a mouthful of teeth. I love him beyond measure, but he IS a dog. There is always a possibility, no matter how small, that he could harm my 2 year old, even inadvertently. There may actually be a slightly higher risk with him, since his docile nature could lull you into a false sense of safety, and make you think it's okay to leave him and your toddler playing in the family room while you pop into the kitchen to fix lunch. No one is ever going to leave my daughter alone with our rehabbed pit mix, but they might be tempted to do so with my ridgeback.

Obviously, I do think kids and dogs go together, but I love my dogs enough to NEVER put them in a situation where their could be danger for either them or my child. It is sometimes a giant pain in the ass to stay on top of, but it is a committment I chose to make to not only my child, but to my dogs as well.

Kate CP - posted on 10/27/2010




Morgan: I'll be honest, your post on the other forum inspired me but not because of YOU, but the responses I was seeing. I'm a pet training instructor, worked as a vet tech for a few years, and I do foster and rescue work. I get the hard cases that no one else wants! I see the aftermath of dogs who have never been socialized. I have one and people constantly tell me "Oh, she was abused!" Nope, I know for a fact she was never abused but her foster parents N E V E R socialized her as a puppy because she was sick and they sort of coddled her. As a result she was terrified of men, nipped at my daughter a few times, and would shy away from any stranger. All of those problems have been fixed with proper training and rehabilitation. She's not the first dog I've had to rehab before and she won't be the last. :) I love what I do and I just wish people (as a whole) would realize there is more to pet ownership than paying for vet care and feeding them.

In response to a couple of the problems I saw some of you ladies post here, I have some tips from a pro!

Fleas: You have to do it three ways.

1. Treat the house- Don't bother with flea bombs or sprays. They don't work and it just leaves pesticides everywhere which can be toxic for pets and babies. Get a flea collar (the bigger the better) and put it in your vacuum bag or vacuum canister (where the dirt goes) and vacuum at least once a day for a week. Vacuum the furniture and under the furniture, beds and under the beds (they love any place dark), and wash all dog beds in hot hot water.

2. Treat the yard- You can call a professional out to spray your yard or you can treat it yourself with yard sprays and dusts you can buy at your local home improvement store. Recommended products are Se7en Dust (or spray), Diatomaceous earth, and Adams yard and patio spray.

3. Treat the pet- Yes, they are more expensive, but the topical treatments you can buy from the vet or pet specialty stores work the best. Hartz, Sargeants, and other brands DON'T WORK and can actually hurt or kill an animal (yes, I've seen it happen more than once). Go for Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, or Revolution (this also prevents heart worms).

Spraying cats: Have them checked for UTIs and infections. Most of the time when a cat is going outside the litter box (especially males aged 2-5 years who have been neutered) it's a health related issue and not behavioral.

Clawing cats: STICKY PAWS! These will save your furniture AND your plants! I swear by them before anything else. :)

[deleted account]

"Obviously, I do think kids and dogs go together, but I love my dogs enough to NEVER put them in a situation where their could be danger for either them or my child."-Mary

That's exactly how I feel Mary. I never want to make that decision so I will make damn sure it never needs to be made.

I work in a daycare and last year the kids were really into animals so I took in my dog Rory. The kids (all under 3) LOVED him and showed their love by chasing him around for a solid hour. I had to run around with them to protect HIM (and I was about 6 months pregnant at the time!). He was very well behaved BUT he did look like he was about to snap when one kid "patted" him too hard on the head. And that's the thing, you can't blame an animal for snapping when a kid is hitting them in the head or pulling their tails. And it's up to US to teach them RESPECT for all animals.

@Morgan - if your cat is only swiping at your daughter when your daughter is getting in her face, I don't think that's bad. Your cat will learn and your daughter will learn. Look at it from the cats point of view. This new little screaming thing came home one day but it didn't move, so your cat didn't mind too much. But now suddenly, ITS MOVING! It never did that before!" Your cat is just getting used to the new situation. She'll probably stop soon, just encourage her to run away (the cat that is).

When I was young I loved animals (still do) and I trapped a cat in a corner (even though my parents were telling me to leave it alone) and it scratched me.
I was also bitten (just a small bite, no scar) by my great aunts dog. Both times it was my fault and I still LOVE animals.

Krista - posted on 10/27/2010




I'm with Mary. They're definitely furry family members, and I would only want a dog out of my house for unprovoked repeated aggression that did not respond to professional treatment, and at that point, I would have the dog euthanized, because at that point, it would be obvious that there's something seriously wrong upstairs with that dog, so why foist it upon another family? But for garden-variety stuff like chewing, barking or just keep working on it. I think the only other instance I could support someone giving up a pet would be if it was an ill-advised adoption in the first place. For example, if a sedentary person in an apartment bought a border collie, and the dog is miserable and acting out, and the person had a jogger friend with a huge property who would love to have that dog...well, obviously the change in homes would benefit the dog greatly.

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Julie - posted on 10/27/2010




It depends on the behavior issue and the likelihood of it being reasonably managed or cured. When safely is an issue (aggression), I have a much, much lower threshold.

If a pet is outright aggressive (and I've met many) they've earned a one-way ticket to the pet playground in the sky. I cannot trust anyone (rescue group, SPCAs, etc...) to appropriately re-home such an animal. Besides, with so many NICE animals in need of a home, why chance your family's safety?

If a pet has something else going on, I think it must be taken to the vet to rule out a medical condition. If behavior modification is necessary, the family should consider if they can do it and put in the appropriate amount of effort.

I HATE when families treat their pets as disposable! What does that teach the kids about the value of a life? I'm talking the people who pay >$1,000 for a puppy, but never get it vaccinated and won't pay to have it treated when it gets parvo, or breaks it's leg, or whatever.

Sadly, it is frequently the owner's fault a lot of times. Cat pees outside litter box and they want it killed? Oh wait, you have 1 box for 3 cats that you clean once a week? No wonder why! Now, plenty of owners are not that callous, but there are plenty that are (or maybe the person who pays the bills is).

Ok, being a vet I have access to many resources that the average public does not, so I'd likely go further than I otherwise be able to. I cannot really put a number or time limit on it because the problems vary so much. Also, it would depend on how much time is taken up, etc ...

Sorry to ramble, but I have no short answer.

Edited to add: Our home consists of 2 dogs, 2 cats(still "armed"), 1 snake, 1 child (2.5 years), 1 husband. They are all indoor/outdoor critters, though only 1 of the cats spends much time outside. Most of them sleep on my bed at night;) Son's room is off-limits to pets for now.

Oh, and a note on fleas, I recently read an article that said just the rotating brushes of the vacuum kills fleas/eggs by disrupting their surface so they dry out. In fact, then they studied it (by they I mean some poor graduate student had to play with vacuum bags and count) ... no live fleas ever came out of the bags. So, you might be able to save money on the flea collar for the bag. BUT, you must treat ALL mammalian pets in the house for fleas for at least 3 months in a row (flea life cycle). Those buggers are tough!

Tara - posted on 10/27/2010




I would love to re-home one of our dogs to anywhere but here, but it's my 10 year old's dog, well technically it's part of the whole family but it sleeps with her and she got it from her grandma.
It needs to be altered so he still marks.
In answer to the OP, I treat our pets like family. They receive proper nutrition and care. The only thing that would stop me from keeping a pet alive would be it's own quality of life and unfortunately how much money we could reasonably afford to go into debt to save one of them.
So if my dog had cancer, I wouldn't do chemo etc. I would make her comfortable and then have her put down at the appropriate time. If my dog was hit by a car and needed surgery that she would recover from, yep in a heart beat.
I would never re-home a pet due to behavioural issues. Animals act out for reasons just like kids do, we need to find out what the problem is and address it.
Family members all the way.
3 dogs and 2 cats at the moment.

[deleted account]

LOL Jessica my 2 cats run around my house louder and more distructive than my 4yr old and 2 yr old! They claw my lounge and most days i'd love to rehome them but it's only because they are pissing me off. One is deaf and the other i had before i had kids.
My kids get in my deaf cats face alllll the time. It takes it really well ( they even dress it up) But it does get to the end some days and on numerous occassions it has scratched my kids, Both cats have. No i will not re home a cat for minor lashing out when the kids have been in it's face all day. My son has put his head on my cats belly one day and the cat wrapped himself around his head. My son screamed. My son also has scratches all over his hands atm because of the torment they put the cat through. If the kids would leave the cat alone then all would be good. The cat is teaching the kids.

Jessica - posted on 10/27/2010




All I can say is, my 3 cats are annoying the holy piss out of me lately! I'd find them new homes, but my husband might divorce me. Lol. I'm only half-serious, because I know part of it is hormones. But seriously... we've been battling fleas for the past 3+ months, they claw the furniture, they've eaten my plant, they randomly decide to pee in the house, and they tear through they house like toddlers from hell, knocking things over and are so loud they wake my son up when he's sleeping. Ugh, I wish they could go on vacation for a while!

Rant over.

Sarah - posted on 10/27/2010




I have a 3 year old tabby cat who is absolutely scared to death of my 13 month old son. She runs away & hides everytime he comes anywhere near lol. We have no problems with her...she is VERY sweet.

We also have a 3 year old Shetland Sheepdog who nipped at our son once. My husband and I contemplated getting rid of him. Of course my son & his safety are more important & take top priority. But, at the same time we didn't want to give up on our dog. He does wonderfully with our son & loves to play with him, but he IS a dog & it happened when he got provoked. We are in the process of working with our dog to make sure this NEVER happens again. And if it does, the dog will be gone. He's a family member & I want to give him the benefit of the doubt by doing whatever we can to remedy the problem if it ever comes about again.

Rosie - posted on 10/27/2010




depends. my husband had a cat when we first started dating, and it got outside once. it was gone for a couple of weeks. it came back, and had HUGE behavioral issues after that. it pooped and peed everywhere, it had worms coming out of it's butt, and just was all around crazy acting. we took it to the animal shelter.
i have a dog and a cat right now. the dog we'd probably do everything possible to keep with us, within our means-i won't go broke over any animal. and the cat is the same, do what i can within reason and then if it starts to get to expensive get rid of it.

[deleted account]

Furry family member! If she was having some behavioural issues, I would definitely get it looked at by a professional and learn how to stop it. I look at my dog like I would my child. I would never "re-home" my child for these reasons.

Louise - posted on 10/27/2010




I have always had a cat, dog and fish in the house whilst my kids were small and they are part of our family. But should one of them show any aggresion to my children that would be it. There is no way I would risk my children. I would probably let them go to my parents who do not have young children in the home. I would also ask them to put the cat/dog away whilst we visited. Luckily my cat/dog has always excepted the kids and has never lashed out. There are lots of little kids out there that have been badly maimed by there own pet and I would never forgive myself if I kept an animal I knew was capable of this.

Morgan - posted on 10/27/2010




I think this post may have been started because of me :) I love my cat very much but she has started to swat at my daughter, she is a very lazy cat who loves to just chill on the couch or a chair, but now my daughter can pull up on those things and the cat is not adjusting so well. My cat is a cat, and though I love her very much she is no where near as important to me as my daughter, but I thought I would see if anyone had any tips or tricks, My daughter is never ever left alone with or without the cat and she knows even at 9 months how to be gentle as we also have a dog.
I am trying my best to find a way for everyone to be happy, I dont have any family or friends in my city as I have just moved here and if I had to turn her in to the SPCA they would put her to sleep which I could not live with. I was surprised at how many comments I got about giving my cat away or "replacing" her with another cat, I was also surprised at the comment that I am putting my cat before my daughter which in no way is true, my daughter has been swatted at twice both times I was right there and the scratches were very minor and I washed them quickly with soap and water, she dident even seem to care. so if you all want to think iam a bad mother because I am trying to find a way to cope, thats ok, yeah she got scrached and might again before we find a solution, but were going to keep trying. if it came down to the happiness or saftey of my daughter or cat, then the cat would go, But I do not feel we are there yet.

Petra - posted on 10/27/2010




Our dog is our fur child. We adopted her from a rescue agency a year ago, just before Tor was born, when she was about 10 months old. She was very fearful of people and skittish, but with love & patience she has really gained confidence and come out of her shell. She's been phenomenal with Tor and is very gentle and patient with him and never nips or growls - just gets up & leaves if she's not in the mood to be pawed at. But, I have never and will never leave them together unsupervised. No matter how well behaved your dog is, they are still a dog and can't be expected to respond as a person would when scared or excited. Its not her that I wouldn't trust, it would be Tor or other kids not knowing their boundaries with dogs.

If she ever exhibits unprovoked aggression, I would definitely bring in a behaviourist and spend the $$ to try to work it out before I re-homed her. If we had to re-home her, I would try to place her with family or friends that I trusted and absolutely only as a last resort. But I doubt we'll have any issues - she loves kids and has been great with my boy and with my nephews next door. She's done some really minor chewing and has had two indoor accidents total - not bad for a little girl who had never lived in a house before :-)

[deleted account]

No pets here. In fact, we are at odds with our neighbor whose cats keep digging up and knocking over our vegetables in the garden. Ugh!

Mary - posted on 10/27/2010




My dogs are definitely family members. If you cannot tolerate things such as marking, clawing or chewing, than, IMO, you have no business getting a pet in the first place. It's not that any of that behavior is "ok", but it is NOT a reason to get rid of an animal. Unprovoked repeated aggression is perhaps the only reason I could justify getting rid of one of my boys. However, if this was the case, it would mean euthanizing the animal, since I would have pursued every resource available first; and if I couldn't resolve it, it would mean that the dog wasn't suitable for any other home either.

I have a friend who is as committed to her rescued chow mix as I am to my boys. Her dog has always has always been skittish and difficult; she cannot be free in the house when they have company (she's fine with people like myself, or her parents whom she knows and trusts). Her daughter, who is now 7, was bitten by the dog 3 years ago, and did need stitches. It happened when she was not home. Her hubby was making dinner, and the girl and the dog were outside playing. The girl had backed the dog into a corner, and was waving a fly swatter around her face. My friend was devastated, and EVERYone was on her to put the dog down.

It was a horrible situation (and put a huge strain on her marriage). In truth, this was NOT an unprovoked bite by the dog; she was frightened. It also was a result of (understandable) carelessness on the part of the husband. He knew that the girl and the dog should not have been outside unsupervised, but they had gone 4 years without an incident, and he assumed they would be fine out there for a few minutes alone. I think he would have throttled the dog immediately, when he ran outside after the girl screamed, the first thing she said was "Daddy, I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't have hit Winnie".

It's a hard call either way, but the bottom line is that this incident was not the dogs's fault; it was the owner's. I have a feeling that I, like my friend, sould have stood my ground and kept the dog. I think she made the right call. She did spend $800.00 to have an animal behaviorist come to evaluate and work with the dog (and both adults). It has been 3 years without incident. Winnie is still skittish, and cannot be around strangers...but she is NEVER around that child unsupervised either.

[deleted account]

We have a 3 year old cat who's very fat who we rehomed from a shelter in June when Logan was about 6 1/2 months old. He's full name before he went to the shelter was Archimedes so we just call him Archie for short lol =]

So far we havn't had any problems, but if he started biting and scratching for no reason we'd have to have him rehomed. He's a family member to us =]

[deleted account]

They're my fur babies. We have 2 cats (Lucy and Quinn) and 1 Jack Russell (Rory). We're also looking after my MILs dog (Molly) whilst we're housesitting for her for 6 months.

I would only rehome one if they were aggressive towards my child and only after exhausting other options. Thankfully Rory is really good with my daughter. I would never completely trust him with her though, he is a dog after all. Which means I am always supervising when she is near him. I think that's the problem with some dogs. Their owners get complacent and forget that they are still animals, no matter how nice and friendly they are 95% of the time.

[deleted account]

We have 2 Dogs 2 Cats and a bird. The dogs are brilliant with our children. Our bigger dog has nipped at our daughter once but she had been pulling his tail. It scared her but didn't hurt her if he had i would have re homed him but he hasn't done it since or to any other child. But i would re home as the last resort.

Sharon - posted on 10/27/2010





We don't toss out grandma when she's pissing herself. The animals stay until their quality of life is gone. They our lifetime responsibility. Every spring my allergies kick in. Because my body goes hyper I "become" allergic or sensitive to my cats when, during the rest of the year I am not. I suck it up, take a lot meds& cope.

I would only rehome my pet if it were in the best interest of my pet.

Amie - posted on 10/26/2010




Furry family member. =)

We had to re-home 3 cats though. For health reasons, all of ours. We had two males and one female (at separate times) who would not stop spraying/peeing. We tried for months to get them to stop but nothing worked. Our tom cat we ended up being able to keep, despite the spraying. We were able to figure out his moods enough to avoid him spraying. When we knew we couldn't, we'd send him outside and he'd spray out there. It kept other tom cats away too. He passed away last Christmas though. I found him curled up at the end of our bed when I went to bed one night. =( It explained why I hadn't seen him since earlier that afternoon. It was kind of tragic actually, he had his vet appointment the next day because we knew he wasn't doing well. He was old. It was hardest for my husband, he loved that cat. He actually cried. (Glad he can't read this, haha, he'd shoot me for posting it online)

We now have 1 cat and 1 kitten. Both female. Our cat, Annie, is the mother of the kitten. The kitten, Dot, is the runt of the litter, just like Annie was. Long story short on that one, we found out Annie was pregnant just before we were taking her in to get fixed. =/ Her other 4 kittens went to good homes though. =) I made sure of it.

Our dog, Sasha, is very well trained. She nipped one of our children once. In her defense though our kid had just bitten her ear. Sasha got told to leave the room and our kid got a good talking too. It hasn't happened again since.
We had a dog before her, Boo Boo, who was either let out of our yard or stolen, never did figure out which. We searched for her for 6 months before finally giving up. We waited a year and a half before getting Sasha. It was hardest on our kids, our son still asks about Boo Boo sometimes too.
Our animals are used to our kids and the kids know the boundaries, for the most part. We worry about our younger two sometimes but they don't mind the cat scratches, which they do earn. Sasha doesn't mind them sitting on her and she loves playing with them. The funniest is watching our youngest go toe to toe with Sasha over food. Sasha always tries to steal her food, even stole it right out of her mouth last week! LOL! Our youngest will stand there eye to eye and try to shove Sasha (a dog who outweighs her by at least 60 lbs.) telling her "Sasha! Get!" ahaha.

Crap this is long. I got all sentimental. =/ We would do whatever we could for our furry family members, re-homing is a very last option.

Charlie - posted on 10/26/2010




Family member .

I would exhaust every option before sending my Oscar away .

Ez - posted on 10/26/2010




If it's just being destructive, I would not re-home. Everyone knows dogs dig, chew and bark, and there are plenty of methods to try and curb that behaviour. But as a mother, if my dog was being aggressive I would not hesitate to re-home. I love her (3yo Black Lab), but I love my daughter more. Luckily, although she sounds like a 60kg Rottie when barking at strange cars, she's actually very gentle and affectionate with Milla and I've never had any cause for concern.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 10/26/2010




I actually have 3.
Kapone a 2year old beagle, Honey a 1year old mini Doxin (also known as a wiener dog) and King a 4month old Blu nose pit.

Kapone and Honey went thru the chewing and marking stage and we broke them of that…( I lost 5paris of very nice heels, and pumps in the process)

So with King it is easier because I know what to expect.

I will say that my husband treats them like kids and will do anything for them, I on the other hand will do just about anything for them, but my kids would come first…

Lets say its cold outside, and my 7month old son is trying to get sleep (a nap)
.(beagle barks are very LOUD) I will not hesitate to put them out.
Fortunately they didn’t have behavior issues…but If they did, yes I would re-home them, some people just leave there pets anywhere. I would take the time to find them a home.
If they had a hard problem to break…like biting, I would try hard to break them of it the best way I can…having two dogs helps with knowing what to expect (but I AM a MAMA BEAR…I don’t let any of my dogs by the baby, unless I am RIGHT there, especially the baby pit, who is teething and biting)

[deleted account]

Family member totally, but this won't ever be an issue for us since it's 99% likely I will never be able to live someplace that allows pets. :(

We had a cat that my ex got for me about a month after we got married. I had to leave him behind when we moved and my ex took him... which sucks, but I'm glad he still has a home.

Johnny - posted on 10/26/2010




A fuzzy family member. But, now that I have children, I would re-home a pet with serious behavior issues that could not be resolved satisfactorily. If it harmed my child, that would be horrible, and in many such cases, animal welfare will take the pet and put it down, so no one wins if that happens.

When I was 16 I adopted a cat that had behavioral issues. Her owner was just going to put her down, so I took her ( she probably ended up that way because her owner was a total bitch). Anyway, she attacked dogs and people. She'd lie in wait and then pounce. She'd lie at the end of our sidewalk and we'd watch as dogs coming by gave her a very wide berth. But she never was aggressive or even interested in children at all. In fact, they were the only thing she avoided. But if she had been aggressive to kids, I would have had her put down. (She couldn't be kept indoors, she sprayed urine and ripped walls to shreds).

Kate CP - posted on 10/26/2010




But how far would you go to try and solve the problem before you resorted to re-homing the pet?

Lindsay - posted on 10/26/2010




If we had a pet that was putting my child(ren) in danger, I would search out another home for it. Yes, pets can become very much a part of the family but the actual family's needs need to be put first.

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