Pet Adoption for the Holidays

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By: Dr. Ann Herschel Cirillo

There are many homeless, lonely, scared pets who are desperately looking for their forever homes.  There are just as many people looking for the unconditional love these pets can provide in return for nothing but a small (or big) place in your home,  in your heart, a regular meal, and a little affection.  Pet adoption is rewarding for all parties involved.  There are some important things to remember prior to searching for your perfect companion. 
               Make sure you are willing to commit for the pet’s entire lifetime.  Every life stage of a pet has its rewards.  If you adopt a puppy or kitten, know that you will get to enjoy playful antics and lots of energy. As your friend matures, loyalty and unconditional love become the standard, followed by the dignity and quiet respect of senior life.  Strongly consider adoption of an adult or senior pet as these have so much love and thanks to offer.  Many of these pets have been discarded by previous owners by no fault of their own, but due to lifestyle changes such as moves, new babies, allergies or other conditions of their former owners.  Be willing to address all medical and surgical responsibilities such as routine vaccinations, spay/neuter procedures, and other issues as they arise.  Some pets, like some people, rarely have any type of illness.  Others, like some people, have chronic issues that develop such as skin and ear infections, thyroid disease, arthritis, etc.   Love the pet through their problems just as you would love a child or family member thus creating an even stronger bond of loyalty between you.  Remember, there is no unconditional love as strong as that given by a pet.                The holidays are common times for pet adoptions but please remember that a pet requires a lifetime commitment from those with whom they are placed so do not give a pet as a gift without making sure the recipient wants and will be dedicated to that animal for the rest of its life. 
      As the holidays approach, be prepared to avoid some common pet hazards as you share Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas with your four legged family members.  Do not feed them food they are not used to eating.  This can lead to acute gastrointestinal distress which is no fun to wake up to the day after a holiday. Some common foods can be toxic to pets such as raisins, grapes, dark (baking) chocolate, and milk chocolate to a lesser degree.  Be careful not to let your pet get into your holiday decorations such as dreidels , tinsel, and Christmas lights, they can become serious intestinal foreign bodies requiring immediate surgery if swallowed.   Being aware of potential hazards during the holidays can ensure a safe and enjoyable time for everyone and no emergency trips to the doctor or veterinarian. 
      If you do have an emergency, please remember that Seven Fields Veterinary Hospital is open seven days a week including late evening hours.  We will be happy to answer any of your questions or see your pets, if the need arises.  Feel free to call us at 724.742.4433.