20th February, 2017: Australia may be a nation of pet lovers, but too many innocent animals will spend International Love Your Pet Day, homeless and alone and facing an uncertain future.

According to PetSure, Australia’s leading pet insurance specialist, more than 137,000 pets were surrendered to rescue shelters last year. Of these, around 40 % were either euthanized or remain in
care.

As we celebrate International Love Your Pet Day this February 20, Dr Patricia Santos-Smith, PetSure’s Acting Chief Veterinary Officer, is urging more Australians to adopt a rescue animal.

"With rescue shelters usually running at maximum capacity, when you rescue a pet, you may be saving that pet’s life, which is an extremely rewarding experience" said Dr Santos-Smith.

As supporters of Medibank’s Love My Rescue campaign - offering three months of free Pet Insurance to anyone adopting a cat or dog, PetSure is passionate about pet adoption and the health benefits of welcoming a four legged family member into the home.

"Studies have shown that pet owners are more likely to exercise, be fitter and have less health problems. Having a pet can help people relax, lower their blood pressure and can reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease," Dr Santos-Smith said.

"Children that have pets tend to develop a stronger immune system. Pets also help childhood development by improving their self-esteem and allowing them to have a better sense of empathy," said Dr Santos-Smith.

Dr Santos-Smith argues adopting a pet through a rescue shelter can offer a better understanding of the animal’s personality and behavior: "The shelter usually has a better understanding of the pet’s behavior, traits and needs. These characteristics are extremely important to know when adopting a pet to ensure you are getting the right pet for your family and you are able to meet their needs."

"The other benefit is that the pet will be fully vet checked, vaccinated, microchipped and desexed before it goes to its new home" said Dr Santos-Smith.

However, adoption is a big responsibility and owning and caring for a pet is a commitment to be taken seriously.

"When a family decides to adopt a pet they need to be able to provide food, exercise, veterinary and preventative healthcare for the life-time of the pet. They also need to take into consideration the pet’s behaviour and social needs and provide adequate training and socialization,” Dr Santos-Smith said.

For more information about PetSure, visit www.petsure.com.au
For more information on Love My Rescue, visit www.lovemyrescue.com.au