Smiling black dog with tongue sticking out

Statistics from the American Animal Hospital Association reveal that at least 28% of the nation’s dogs and 25% of the nation’s cats are considered seniors. Cats and dogs are considered to be seniors when they reach eight years of age. It is a sad reality that older pets are often overlooked in animal shelters and are less likely to be adopted than younger pets. 

At the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and in shelters across the country, many older animals wait for long periods of time before being adopted into a loving family. The truth is, there are many reasons why a senior animal could be the perfect pet to bring into your home! Learn more today about the importance of Hillsborough County pet adoption and why senior pets make incredible companions.

Older Pets Typically Require Less Training

Hillsborough County pet adoption

​​One of the many perks of adopting an older pet is that they often have prior training, meaning they can be extremely adaptive in new households. With many senior pets having once been part of another family, they are already accustomed to living in a household around people and other animals.

Unlike younger pets, many older companions often require minimal training, allowing you to focus more on building a strong bond and creating lasting memories. If you are interested in pet adoption in Tampa, consider adopting an older pet. They need just as much love as puppies do, and they may not need extensive training sessions, making the transition smoother for all.  

Older Pets Often Have a Calmer Temperament

Hillsborough County pet adoption

In addition to their unique, lovable demeanor, senior pets often possess a wonderful gift; a naturally calmer temperament. In many cases, their maturity and life experience can contribute to a more stable disposition, which is perfect for households with young children or babies. Senior pets are also often more likely to exhibit patience; just another reason why they can be excellent companions for your little ones. 

Introducing older animals to a new space with pets tends to be easier due to their past experiences being around other pets. A senior pet is less likely to have a changing personality than a younger pet would, having grown out of younger habits. It is important to note that while senior cats and dogs are likely to be more calm, every animal is different, and past experiences play a significant role in their personality at all ages.

Older Pets Are Less Likely To Be Adopted

Hillsborough County pet adoption

Sadly, older pets face a significantly lower adoption rate compared to younger pets. While younger animals are adopted at a 60% adoption rate in the United States, only 25% of senior pets are adopted into their forever homes. This results in overcrowding of shelters, as older animals often wait months to meet a loving family.

If you are interested in adding an older pet to your family, please consider Hillsborough County pet adoption with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Giving the gift of love and care to a senior pet is often one of the most rewarding experiences for families of all kinds. Adopting an older pet from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay not only provides endless benefits to your own life, but also brings hope and joy to a senior animal who deserves love.

Give Senior Pets a Chance To Find Their Forever Families Today

Hillsborough County pet adoption

Open your heart and home to an older pet today, and together, we can all make a lasting difference in their lives. By choosing to adopt a senior pet, you also actively contribute to reducing overcrowding of senior animals in shelters.

To learn more about pet adoption in Tampa, please contact us at (813) 876-7138, look through our adoptable animals, or come visit our shelter for more information.

animal hospital in Tampa

Did you know that there are an estimated 46.5 million households in the United States with pet cats? If you too are a cat lover, it’s crucial to be informed about the most common illnesses that affect cats. Being able to recognize the warning signs is the most important step in protecting them. 

If you suspect that your cat is ill and requires medical attention, consider the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s animal hospital in Tampa for affordable, high-quality veterinary services. Read on to learn more about common cat illnesses and their symptoms. 

4 Common Cat Illnesses 

If you have a cat in your household, it is important to always monitor them for any signs of illness. Cat illnesses can develop quickly and quietly. 

Feline Leukemia Virus

As the second leading cause of death in cats, Feline Leukemia Virus impacts around 2-3% of all cats in the US. This virus can progress very quickly over a two to three-year period. In cats who are already immunocompromised, potential infection rates increase to 30%. Feline Leukemia Virus can be transmitted from an infected cat through saliva or nasal secretions. If left untreated, the infected cat’s immune system will weaken, and the virus could move into bone marrow, potentially leading to more lethal diseases. 

Feline Panleukopenia

Feline Panleukopenia is a common viral disease in cats. Also referred to as Feline Distemper, it is considered one of the deadliest cat diseases in the unvaccinated cat population. When infected with feline panleukemia, there is a drastic decrease in the number of white blood cells in the cat’s body, which makes the cat extremely vulnerable to other infections. Feline Panleukopenia can be transmitted through any excretions of the infected cat, such as feces, saliva, and mucus, contaminated water, food bowls, or on shoes and clothing.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Upper respiratory infections are quite common in high-density animal populations, such as shelters and feral cat colonies. These infections are caused by the spread of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa and can drastically weaken your cat’s immune system. While vaccines can reduce your cat’s risk of contracting an upper respiratory infection, you should remain vigilant in looking out for symptoms of an infection and seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible if needed.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) affects an estimated 2.5-5% of cats, with higher infection rates observed in male cats and cats who roam outdoors. The primary form of  transmission is through deep bite wounds that occur during aggressive fights, particularly among unneutered cats. FIV is present in the saliva and other bodily fluids of infected cats and can be easily passed on to healthy cats.

Common Symptoms of Illness

There are many symptoms that your cat may show that could be attributed to a wide number of illnesses. If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms mentioned, ensure that you seek necessary medical care from the Tampa veterinary hospital at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay as soon as possible. 

Symptoms of Feline Leukemia Virus

Feline Leukemia Virus affects various cells in your cat’s immune system, leading to genetic mutations, and potentially leading to cancerous cell development over time. Some of the most common symptoms include: 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever Inflammation of the gums and mouth
  • Skin and bladder infections
  • Poor coat condition

Symptoms of Feline Panleukopenia

Feline Panleukopenia can manifest in various symptoms among infected cats, but some common symptoms to keep in mind are:

  • Depression or listlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, sometimes with blood
  • Dull and rough coat
  • Skin that has lost its elasticity
  • Green and yellow discharge around the eyes and nose
  • Other infections may develop

Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Infection

There are multiple types of upper respiratory infections that your cat could contract, with each resulting in different symptoms. Some of the symptoms to look out for are: 

  • Discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Swelling of membranes around the eyes
  • Ulcers found in the mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Difficulties breathing in some cases

Symptoms of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

FIV is a virus that can only be found in cats. It attacks and weakens your cat’s immune system and there is currently no cure. There are different strains of FIV and they can vary in severity. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your cat, be sure to take them for a check up immediately:

  • Poor coat condition
  • Consistent and recurring fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inflammation of the mouth and gums
  • Constant diarrhea
  • Chronic or recurring infections in the eyes, skin, upper respiratory tract, or bladder
  • Seizures
  • Persistent eye problems

HSTB’s Low-Cost Veterinary Services

While cats are an important part of many families, it is no secret that veterinary care can be expensive and difficult to get for families in need. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is proud to offer affordable vet services for cats, including vaccinations, regular physical exams, testing, and screening at our Tampa animal hospital to ensure that your cat is receiving the medical care they deserve.

In 2022, HSTB saved 13,298 animals and treated 39,298 pets between the shelter and the animal hospital. If your cat is displaying any unusual symptoms, be sure to visit HSTB’s trusted, accessible Tampa veterinary hospital. 

Make an appointment for a check-up with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay by calling 813.870.3304or booking an appointment online today.

pet adoption in Hillsborough County

If you ever spent time around dogs as a child, you likely have fond memories of playing games, running outside, and enjoying their company. Growing up with dogs has numerous benefits for children, from learning responsibility, unconditional love, and empathy to enhanced self-esteem. Additionally, having a canine companion in the family encourages increased physical activity and provides a constant source of joy!

From fostering positive relationships between children and dogs to supporting motor skill acquisition and necessary social skills, the importance of enriching activities is immense. If you are considering pet adoption in Hillsborough County, you would be making one of the best decisions for the betterment of your family. At the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, our team of dedicated animal lovers is committed to helping both your dog and your family grow together. Read on to learn some of the top enrichment activities for your children and dog that you can participate in today. 

Set Up Obstacle Courses

As one of the best enrichment activities for children and dogs, obstacle courses offer an excellent opportunity for outdoor fun. Engaging in obstacle courses increases exercise for dogs, helping to keep them healthy and happy. And, this activity also supports hand-eye coordination, motor planning, and problem-solving skills in children.

With a little creativity, you or your child can easily create fun DIY obstacle courses right in your own backyard! Each course made is unique and can include cones, weave poles, jump bars, ramps, and more. Once set up, encourage your child to navigate the obstacle course with your dog and reward your dog with treats upon successful completion, creating a bonding experience for everyone involved. Both your dog and your children will thank you!

Create DIY Puzzles For Your Dog

One of the best ways to foster enrichment for your child is to have them create DIY puzzles, like snuffle mats, for your dog. These mats have hidden treats or kibble that dogs must sniff out, providing a satisfying and engaging challenge. 

Ensure that you are involving your child in the creation process, hiding treats within the snuffle mat and allowing your dog to search for them. This activity encourages focus and problem-solving skills in dogs while fostering teamwork between children and their pet.

Visit the Dog Park

For most dogs, the most crucial window of learning occurs between three and 20 weeks of age. While puppies should wait until they have received all necessary vaccinations, visiting a dog park is a fantastic opportunity for older dogs to socialize and engage in playful interactions with one another. 

When your child accompanies you to the dog park, they learn responsibility by observing how to care for and respect the needs of their canine companion. The experience also helps dogs develop friendliness and good manners, while the whole family benefits from a happier and more well-socialized pet.

Go for a Swim

Living in Florida means being surrounded by water, making it essential for both your child’s and your dog’s safety to become familiar with swimming. Swimming is a joint-friendly exercise suitable for dogs of all ages, and helps them stay in shape while having fun in the sun. 

Organize swimming sessions where your child can engage in pool games like swimming races or playing catch with water-friendly toys. It’s important to note that not all dogs are natural swimmers. If your child or dog needs assistance, consider enrolling them in swimming lessons to build confidence and ensure their safety in the water.

Visit HSTB for Humane Education

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Humane Education programs are thoughtfully designed to captivate the imaginations and interests of animal-loving children, offering an array of engaging and entertaining experiences. Your child will delight in participating in programs such as Paws for Literacy, where they can enhance their reading skills while cuddling up to a friendly dog in need of love. Birthday Parties at our shelter also provide an opportunity for children to celebrate their special day surrounded by animals, promoting a sense of compassion and responsibility. 

Pets & Tots is also a program specifically designed for toddlers and preschoolers, introducing them to animals through age-appropriate activities, stories, and gentle interactions with friendly dogs. This early exposure helps foster empathy, respect, and a love for animals from a young age. For an activity that the whole family can enjoy, Family Volunteer Days allow families to come together and actively contribute to the well-being of animals, fostering a sense of unity and shared values. 

Finally, Critter Camp offers an exciting summer adventure where children can learn about different species, their habitats, and the importance of conservation. Through interactive activities and hands-on experiences, children develop a deep appreciation for the diversity of animals and their unique needs. 

By participating in HSTB’s Humane Education programs, children not only gain knowledge about responsible pet ownership and animal welfare but also have the opportunity to forge positive connections with dogs. These interactions help build trust, improve socialization skills, and nurture a lifelong bond based on love and kindness. 

Supporting the Development of Your Child and Your Dog

Engaging in enrichment activities that combine the playful nature of children and dogs offers significant benefits for all involved. From physical exercise to mental stimulation, one of the best decisions that you can make as a parent is to support your child’s development with a life long pet companion.

For more information about enrichment activities, give the Humane Society of Tampa Bay a call at (813) 876-7138.If you are interested in pet adoption in Hillsborough County to add one of our dogs to your family, view our adoptable dogs, or come visit us at the shelter.

Curious white dog looking at camera

If you have ever loved a pit bull, you know how special they are, with their unique personality, protective nature, and lovable demeanor. In 2023, pit bulls are the number one breed in the United States, and it is estimated that there are about 18 million pit bulls across the country. Despite the prevalence of this breed, these incredible dogs face an unfair stigma and are often left in shelters or on the streets for extended periods of time. 

At the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, our team of animal lovers is passionate about providing pit bulls with the homes that they deserve, because we know how deserving they are. If you are interested in adopting a dog in Tampa, learn more today about how this breed may be the perfect addition to your family.

Pit Bulls: America’s #1 Breed

In shelters across the country, pit bulls are consistently overlooked due to false assumptions. Many people, even those that are animal lovers, often wonder, “Are pit bulls dangerous?” What many people may not know is that pit bulls are one of the best-tempered dogs in the U.S., and their reputation for being aggressive or dangerous by nature is extremely harmful for this lovable breed.

According to the World Animal Foundation, pit bulls scored an 85% on temperament tests, placing them in the top 23% of best-tempered dogs, despite being the most abused dog breed in the world. PETA reports that the extent of abuse that pit bulls suffer is often a main contributor to the incorrect assumption that they are overly-aggressive. The truth is, whether a lapdog, golden retriever, or pit bull, any dog can be provoked if they are treated poorly or not trained properly. Don’t discriminate, pit bulls deserve loving homes too! 

The Top Qualities of Pit Bulls

By even spending one day at the HSTB shelter, you’ll see for yourself that pit bulls are often some of the sweetest, most playful, loving dog breeds of all. Their loyalty knows no bounds, and they are known for forming strong bonds with their families. Their protective instincts make them excellent guardians and companions as well, and they are sure to make you feel loved. 

Pit bulls are often highly intelligent and adaptable, making them versatile companions for individuals and families alike. They thrive on human interaction, are incredibly people-oriented, and have no shortage of energy, so you can be sure that there will be plenty of playtime opportunities when adopting a pit bull. Whether it’s playing a game of fetch in the park or spending a cozy evening snuggled up on the couch, pit bulls are always ready to make cherished memories with their families.

The Benefits of Adopting a Pit Bull

It is a sad truth that pit bulls tend to stay the longest in shelters, patiently awaiting the day that they join their forever family. These dogs are often overlooked due to unfair biases that pit bulls are dangerous, even though they are just as deserving of love as any other breed. Pit bulls are known for their resilience and ability to overcome adversity, making them even more deserving of a chance to be a part of your family. 

When you adopt a pit bull, you provide them with a safe, nurturing environment, giving them a chance to live a fulfilling life filled with joy. In return, they will give you protection, loyalty, laughs, and immeasurable love.

Give Pit Bulls a Fair Chance At a Happy Life: Adopt Today From HSTB

As the dog breed with the longest average time spent in shelters before getting adopted, many pit bulls begin to feel lonely and forgotten, when all they want is to play and be a part of a loving family. 

At the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, we are fighting to give these deserving dogs hope and advocate on their behalf. Take the first step towards changing the lives of these deserving dogs and experience the unconditional love and joy that a pit bull can bring to your life.

To learn more about adopting a dog in Tampa, contact us at (813) 876-7138,view our adoptable dogs, or come visit us for more information.