Research cited by People magazine shows that by 2030, up to 75 million pets will be at risk of inadequate veterinary care. The prime cause of this is the low rate of annual veterinary graduates. Each year around 3000 individuals across the United States graduate as veterinarians. As a result, by 2030, there will be a total of 15,000 vets. However, this is well short of the required number of 41,000.
One of the prime factors for this shortage is the high cost of education it takes to become a veterinary doctor. This poses a major challenge for the future of animal welfare which can only be addressed by increased awareness and participation by the public. In this article by American-Outdoors.net, we’ll explore the best ways you can step up and make a positive contribution towards improving animal welfare.
Volunteer at Shelters and Non-Profits
Volunteers play a crucial role in the success of shelters and non-profit organizations. As a volunteer, you can contribute in numerous ways, such as cleaning animal cages, taking dogs for walks, organizing fundraisers, or providing a skill-based service such as accounting, marketing, administrative help, and more. You can also be a volunteer dog walker, which gets in some physical activity for you, too. It can be a simple walk around the block to a trip to the nearest dog
park, and if you live in a walkable area, the opportunity for exercise is increased.
Additionally, you can contribute towards creating awareness as well, catered towards teaching pet owners the importance of preventive care as it significantly reduces the risk of major diseases or the need for hospitalization. Prominent areas of preventing care include:
- Dental Care: Whether it be their favorite toy, a new stick found in the park, a ball, or any other object of interest, your dog will try to bite and hold it with their teeth. While none of these objects will immediately cause a health risk, the build-up of bad bacteria in your pet’s mouth can lead to future issues. Hence, it is important for dogs to have their teeth thoroughly cleaned every 1-2 years. But, if you’re concerned about their dental health, inculcate the habit of brushing their teeth at home every other day.
- Regular Immunizations:
For dogs and cats alike, immunization plays a key role in shielding them from diseases. Rabies, canine parvovirus, and distemper are common diseases that can be avoided by giving your pet the required vaccines, as reported by the AAHA.Weight Watch: Weight gain among pets, especially older ones, can open doors to a host of other problems. Additionally, it can make them lethargic and cause mobility issues. Hence, stay on top of portion sizes in addition to ensuring your pet eats a balanced diet daily and gets lots of exercise to maintain an ideal weight.
- Weight Watch: Weight gain among pets, especially older ones, can open doors to a host of other problems. Additionally, it can make them lethargic and cause mobility issues. Hence, stay on top of portion sizes in addition to ensuring your pet eats a balanced diet daily and gets lots of exercise to maintain an ideal weight.
Start a Non-Profit of Your Own
Volunteering will help you develop valuable experience regarding the ins and outs of how a non-profit works. You can use this experience to start an organization of your own catering to the unmet needs of the community. For instance, if there are already a lot of existing no-kill shelters, consider starting an emergency ambulance service for animals. This service will be crucial to get pets in need to the shelter or vet clinics where they can get emergency care.
By working in tandem with other animal organizations you’ll create an ecosystem that helps animals, vets, and pet owners in the community.
Before you launch your non-profit organization, remember to apply to business the organization to give it the status of a 501(c)(3) corporation that enjoys the benefit of tax exemption. Additionally, depending on your state, between 1-3 board members will need to be appointed.
Engage in Advocacy
Public action will be necessary to solve the core problem of high education costs for aspiring veterinarians. The best way to achieve this will be to pressurize local and state-level politicians to make policy changes to bring positive changes such as:
- Providing financial aid for current and new veterinary students
- Capping tuition costs for veterinary degrees in state colleges/universities (and private colleges if possible)
- Increasing class sizes in state-funded colleges and universities
Ensuring that all pets in the present and future receive the required veterinary care is the need of the hour. Whether you choose to volunteer, start a non-profit organization or engage in advocacy, the fruits of your efforts will be improved welfare of animals across the country.
From backyard to backpack, the American-Outdoors.net blog has it all for you, the outdoor enthusiast. Read more informative articles today!