Pet Health & Safety
The Humane Society of Sarasota County is committed to finding good homes for animals and keeping animals in those good homes. HSSC strives to be a comprehensive resource for adopters and the community, providing education, behavior training, and affordable medical care. Our staff of veterinarians, animal care specialists, adoption counselors, and behavior experts are on hand to answer any questions you may have about your cats and dogs. If you have specific questions, please Contact Us.
**Some programs and services are reduced or suspended right now. Please see our COVID-19 response page for details.**
The Animal Clinic of the Humane Society opened in early 2016 to fulfill the need for affordable, high-quality veterinary care in our area. The Animal Clinic is completely open to the public and does not have income restrictions. Anyone seeking full-service veterinary care for their cats and dogs is welcome to visit the Animal Clinic. In addition to spay/neuter, vaccines, and microchipping, the Animal Clinic offers wellness exams, dentistry, in-house diagnostics, surgery—even laser therapy—all at approximately prices that are 30% lower, on average, than other veterinarians. Learn more about the Animal Clinic.
If you are experiencing a behavior issue with your pet, your first step should be to see your veterinarian. Sudden changes in behavior are often caused by underlying medical issues. In many cases, a trip to the veterinarian can save you time and frustration and help prevent potential harm to your pets and loved ones.
HSSC’s behaviorists are very knowledgeable. Contact our K-9 Behavior Program Coordinators, Lisa Merlet and Kate Rose, at 941.955.4131 x124. Contact our Feline Behavior Program Coordinator, Geoffrey Webber, at 941.955.4131 x107.
Your dog may benefit from HSSC’s affordable K-9 Obedience Training Courses.
What would your pets do if something happened to you? Make sure your pets are cared for in case of an emergency. Download and fill out this wallet alert card to keep with you.
These handouts are helpful for keeping your beloved pets in your home, whether you or a family member develops an allergy, or if a health issue arises.
Caring for Pets When You're Ill (PDF)
Coping with Allergies (PDF)
The safety of your family and pets depends on having a disaster plan. There’s no better time than now to put together your plan. The information on Sarasota County’s website can help you prepare before disaster strikes.
Not all shelters are pet friendly, and those that are require pets to be current on their vaccinations. HSSC does not accept owned pets for emergency shelter. Find your nearest Sarasota County Shelter.
These local Emergency Animal Hospitals are open 24 hours a day:
Animal ER of University Park: 941.355.2884
Suncoast Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center: 941.929.1818
Vet Care Express Animal Ambulance: 941.592.5131
Poison Control: 855.764.7661
There may be a fee for this service.
Saying goodbye to your beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times in your life. HSSC’s compassionate staff understands and is here to support you when euthanasia is the most humane choice for a pet’s quality of life. HSSC offers private and communal cremation services for your pet, providing you and your pet with the utmost respect, professionalism, care, and compassion. Learn More.
Heartworm disease is serious, life threatening, and completely preventable. Heartworms cause severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in dogs, cats, and ferrets. Protect your pets by learning how heartworm spreads, having your pets tested annually, and giving them regular preventives. Read the FAQs.
HSSC’s Animal Clinic offers in-house blood tests that can confirm if a pet has heartworm disease in a few minutes. The Animal Clinic also sells heartworm preventives at a fraction of the price of other providers. See Heartworm Pricing and Schedule an Appointment.
HSSC is committed to keeping animals safe in our hot climate. Florida law permits bystanders to take action if they see a pet abandoned in a vehicle—even if the vehicle is locked. Watch this video of Rebecca Gustafson, HSSC’s Director of Operations, discussing the dangers of leaving a pet in a car.
One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life. Without proper ID, 90% will never return home, according to www.homeagain.com. By microchipping your pet, you provide a permanent form of identification, and you greatly increase your chances of being reunited with your pet. Implanting a microchip is easy and involves only a quick injection. There is no recovery time for your pet. Neither you nor your pet can feel the microchip once it is injected. A microchip does NOT track your pet. It only provides identification when scanned.
Every animal is microchipped prior to being adopted from HSSC. Make sure to consult the adoption paperwork for your pet’s microchip information and keep your contact information up-to-date. HSSC’s Animal Clinic offers affordable microchipping. See Microchip Pricing and Schedule an Appointment.
HSSC has compiled a list of pet friendly places in Sarasota County. This is just a sample of some of the places that allow animals. View List (PDF).
Here is a list of all dog parks in Sarasota County.
Here is a great guide for renters looking for pet friendly housing.
This Animal Resource Guide (PDF) lists the various animal service organizations throughout Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties. Pet Pages publishes a print resource directory and has an online directory with quick links to local animal resources, including emergency veterinary care. Here is a great guide for renters looking for pet friendly housing.
Pets are surrendered for many reasons—financial concerns, illness, moving to a home that doesn’t welcome pets, allergies, pet behavior issues, and unwanted litters—to name a few. Surrendering a pet can be devastating for the owner and the animal, so HSSC urges pet owners to consider other options before deciding to surrender. We’re here to help. HSSC offers many resources to help keep pets in loving homes. Please contact us at 941.955.4131 and someone will be able to assist you. Pet Surrender Page.
HSSC is a private, limited-admission shelter and only accepts cats and dogs via owner surrender or transfer from another organization. To report suspected animal abuse/cruelty, dangerous/vicious dogs, or a lost/found animal, you must contact your county’s animal services office.
Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services: 941.861.9500
Manatee County Animal Services: 941.742.5933
HSSC does keep a running list of lost and found animals that have been reported to us. You are welcome to add your lost/found animal’s information by calling 941.955.4131. We also have a public bulletin board for posting flyers. Social media is a tremendous resource. Lost and Found Pets 941 (Manatee & Sarasota) has a large membership and is a great forum for reporting lost/found pets.
Spay/neuter is the best way to control the pet population and keep pets out of shelters. HSSC spays/neuters all pets before adoption, and our Animal Clinic offers affordable spay/neuter services for cats and dogs. See Spay/Neuter Pricing and Schedule an Appointment.
Spaying your female pet prior to her first heat cycle (occurs around 4-6 months old) and neutering your male pet prior to maturity offers the best protection against serious health issues and the establishment of negative behaviors. The procedure is routine and safe.
Spaying your female dog or cat helps prevent serious medical conditions, such as uterine infections, uterine/ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. Spaying is far less expensive than the cost of treating an infection, having an emergency c-section, treating cancer, or raising a litter of puppies or kittens.
Neutering your male dog or cat helps prevent serious medical conditions, such as testicular cancer, and often has a positive effect on your pet’s behavior. Neutering also makes a male pet less likely to mark his territory or spray urine throughout the house. Neutering also tends to make a pet less aggressive and less likely to roam.
See the Animal Resource Guide (PDF) for a list of other free and low-cost spay/neuter providers.
Vaccinating your pet is easy, inexpensive, and can save your pet’s life. Pet vaccines help protect your dog or cat from contagious diseases, many of which can cause serious illness or death. HSSC vaccinates all animals before adoption, and our Animal Clinic provides affordable veterinary services for cats and dogs. See Vaccine Pricing and Schedule an Appointment.