Animal welfare: Companion animals

This page provides access to a variety of resources that can help you make a positive difference in the lives of companion animals.

Featured topic: Service, emotional support and therapy animals

Animals play important roles assisting people with disabilities and in therapeutic activities, and AVMA policies provide professional guidance related to service and support animals. While most people are aware of the role of service animals such as guide dogs, other types of assistance animals may be less familiar, including emotional support animals.

It is important for veterinarians to actively support the appropriate use of assistance animals and promote the development of anti-fraud initiatives that do not place an undue burden on people using these animals in their intended roles. A newly released AVMA peer-reviewed report, Assistance Animals: Rights of Access and the Problem of Fraud, provides important background on this issue. Additionally, at its July 2017 meeting, the AVMA House of Delegates approved a new policy on the Veterinarian’s Role in Supporting Appropriate Selection and Use of Service, Assistance and Therapy Animals.

Learn more about all of these initiatives.

Gonadectomy in dogs

Preventing pet reproduction is part of responsible pet ownership, and gonadectomy remains a vital component of pet population control. Gonadectomy is the most common surgical procedure performed on pets and reduces undesirable mating behaviors. But research studies over the past few years have reported that while gonadectomy reduces the risk of some cancers and medical conditions, it may increase the risk of others.

As our thinking on gonadectomy evolves, honest and transparent conversations must take place within the profession as well as between veterinarians and pet owners. In order to facilitate that discussion, AVMA has developed spay/neuter resources to help veterinarians sort through the many factors involved in these decisions for canine and feline patients.


Our veterinary resources on the socialization of puppies and kittens feature a new literature review on this subject. Please watch this space for more information on how to get young puppies and kittens off to the best possible start in life!


Pet Population Control:

Literature reviews



Animal Abuse:
Dog Bite Prevention:
Cosmetic Procedures:
Pet Selection: