Not all Christmas pets live up to the hype, and bringing a new animal into the house during such an exciting time can be the opposite of a good start. Before deciding whether to get a Christmas puppy or kitten, there are a lot of things to think about.
Is Your Family Ready for a New Pet?
Talk to your kids about how getting a new kitten or puppy will change your family’s life and how it will affect them, even if they are older. One might think that the older the child, the easier it will be to get them to help take care of the pet. However, older children tend to have more social obligations and may not have much time to spend with a new puppy or kitten.
You should also look at your finances to see if you can afford regular vet visits, dental cleanings, vaccinations, long-term illnesses, diagnostic tests, prescription flea and tick preventives, prescription pet medications, dog food, cat food, dog toys, cat toys, cat litter, and all the other pet supplies you’ll need.
Is It Okay to Surprise Friends With Christmas Pets?
If you want to give a pet as a gift to someone outside of your own home, it should never be a surprise. Talking about the vague idea of getting a pet is not the same as talking about the responsibilities of being a pet owner.
Whoever will be feeding, cleaning up after, and paying for a new pet’s vet bills needs to be involved in the decision to adopt.
Choose a Pet That’s Best Suited for Your Family
If you’ve thought about all the new responsibilities and you think your family is ready for a new pet, do a lot of research to find out which type and breed are best for your family and home. Don’t choose your new pet based on how cute it is or how much you want it. A dog won’t make you run and hike if you don’t already do those things.
For many families, an older, calmer, already-trained cat or dog may be a better choice than a new kitten or puppy that needs a lot of care and training.
That’s why you should also spend some time at the animal shelter near you. There are many dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens looking for a forever home, so you’re sure to find the right pet for you and your family.
Christmas Day May Not Be the Best Day
Many people think that giving a new puppy or kitten as a Christmas pet surprise is the best way to do it, but the last thing you want is a scared, cowering little animal that is overwhelmed by all the holiday excitement. You don’t want this to be how they meet your family for the first time.
People tear into their gifts on Christmas morning, leaving dangerous ribbons, wrapping paper, candies, and small toys all over the place. All of these things look like good things for an animal to chew on. And even the most experienced holiday person can be bothered by toys that are too loud.
You don’t want to spend your first night with your new pet in a veterinary emergency room because your pet can’t breathe or has a clogged intestine. Because of all of these things, it might not be the best time to surprise the family with a new pet close to Christmas.
Prepare Your Home for Your New Pet
To introduce a new pet in the right way, you will need to get your home ready in the same way you would get it ready for a new baby. Leave no hanging cords or curtains or blind pulls, no small toys on the floor, and no candies or other foods within easy reach.
There are a lot of things to do to get ready, and there are even more things you won’t think of until after the fact. Then there are all the things you need for your pet, like food, a crate, a leash, beds, a collar, etc. One of the most important things you can do is give your pet a quiet place to sleep, eat, or just get away from everything when she feels stressed.
If you are going on a trip or having a lot of people over for the holidays, it might not be the best time to get a new pet. As soon as you bring a pet into your home, it needs to be cared for and trained. The holidays are already a time when your time and patience are stretched.
Is There an Alternative to Adopting a Pet?
Instead of surprising your family with pets for Christmas, you could give them a stuffed animal or other pet-related gifts instead. This will show your kids that you’re ready to get a pet but now is not the time.
In the meantime, you can volunteer with your child at an animal shelter so they can see what it means to take care of a pet. You can also give money or have your kids help you choose food and/or pet supplies to give away.
Many animals that were given as Christmas gifts end up in animal shelters. No animal should be given as a last-minute gift when the most popular toy of the season is sold out.
Pets are great, and every family can benefit from having these furry bundles of love in their home. But make sure you and everyone else are ready to take care of a pet for the rest of its life.
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