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Healthy pets, happy owners

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Helpful tips from the state veterinarian

AUGUSTA - The holiday season is a popular time for Maine families to consider the addition of a new pet to the brood. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Division of Animal and Plant Health urges Mainers to take the time and care worthy of this significant and potentially joyful step when considering obtaining a new dog or cat.

'Healthy pets make happy owners. We want all Mainers to have a positive experience adopting a new family member,' noted Maine State Veterinarian Dr. Michele Walsh. 'Obtaining a pet is a significant emotional and economic commitment. Taking a few additional steps up front will help ensure that a new pet is healthy and well-adjusted and can prevent disappointment down the road.'

By doing some important but basic research ahead of time, Mainers can help ensure the animal they are adopting is healthy and the animal organization with which they are working is compliant with Maine laws designed to protect consumers. Paying close attention to these details can increase the likelihood that new pets will bring many years of enjoyment to Maine families.

Dr. Walsh recommends the following tips when adopting a new pet: 

1.      Work with a reputable local humane society whenever possible

2.      Meet with the pet prior to adopting to ensure that its behavior and demeanor are a good match for your family

3.      Obtain a copy of the animal's medical record, vaccination history and Certificate of Veterinary Inspection

4.      Ensure that the dog or cat is vaccinated for rabies if it is three months of age or older

5.      If working with a rescue organization, ensure that it is properly registered and licensed in the state of Maine and in the state where the business is based, and/or with USDA Animal Care.

Mainers can contact the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Animal Health office at (207) 287-3701 for more information on which animal rescue and breeding organizations are appropriately registered or visit the Animal Health section of the State of Maine website for more information on this topic.

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to

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