For many young families, the holidays are the perfect time to surprise a loved one with the gift of a friend in the form of a cat or dog. Although owning a pet comes with its own amount of surprises and joys, the decision to adopt a pet ought not to be a light one, as it is a remarkable amount of work and patience to give an animal the love they deserve. By following in the example of previous pet owners, anyone can give an animal the gift of a loving home this holiday season.
Dog and Cat Lovers in America
There are around 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats that are owned in the United States. Many of these animals have a loving home, but unfortunately animal control and human societies are called in to save some of these animals from abuse and neglect. Thankfully, many of these saved animals are able to find loving homes thanks to the kind hearts of adoptive animal parents and the efforts of shelter employees. This holiday season, hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs will be forgotten and waiting for someone to take them home; ensure that your household is ready for a pet before creating a home for an animal in need.
Giving to Our Pet Friends
Animals invited into your house will likely find their way into your heart; pet owners care so deeply for their animal friends that around 63% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners give Christmas gifts to their pets. Treats and new toys are common gifts, but some pet owners instead opt for a more practical route. Concerned pet parents are now buying pet insurance to help cover the cost of their pet’s veterinarian coverage. Just like human health insurance, pet insurance can help decrease the cost of prescriptions, vet visits, and other treatments including surgery. Doggy dental kits are another popular gift that helps eliminate your dog’s bad breath; likewise cat towers are the perfect gift for the adventurous feline in your life.
The Gift of Health
The gift of a loving home is not one that is asked easily, neither is the gift of health. Still, it is every pet owner’s duty and obligation to take responsibility for the health and happiness of their pet. In the United States there are an estimated one million dogs to be heartworm positive every year. Statistics on feline heartworm are not as well known, but the disease can prove to be just as fatal. Infected dogs may have up to 30 or more worms in their heart and lungs while cats typically have just six or fewer — despite that the severity of heartworm disease in dogs is related to the number of worms, in cats just one or two worms could have the potential to make the cat ill. Veterinarians commonly conduct a heartworm antigen test to determine the presence of specific proteins, called antigens, which are released by adult female heartworms in the blood of the animal. Since heartworm treatment can cost up to $1,000, a monthly preventative treatment can be considered a comparative bargain. Puppies under the age of 7 months can be started on heartworm prevention without a test, but older dogs can have a canine heartworm antigen test kit done at home that will be sent to a clinical diagnostics laboratory for verification. Through heartworm antigen testing and regular veterinarian visits, pet parents can ensure that their furry friends will be happy and healthy for years to come!