Pets as Presents? What to Consider First

by on December 2nd, 2010 at 7:00 am

With the holidays right around the corner, finding the perfect gift may seem like an overwhelming task, and many love the notion of giving a pet as a gift. However, this requires a lot of thought, whether it is for a friend, family member or your own child. What must you consider before purchasing a new pet as a gift?

Do Your Homework!

Go to the library or search the internet to find out about different breeds of dogs; this will help when it comes time to go pet shopping. Keep in mind the lifestyle of the person you are purchasing for. If you are purchasing a pet for your own child, think about his or her energy level, as well as the lifestyle that you lead as a family.

If you are at work more than eight hours a day, it may be better to get a more self-sufficient pet like a cat, or make sure that you’ll have a friend or family member available to take your dog out through the day (or be sure to factor in the expense of hiring a dog walker). On the other hand, if you are getting a pet for an elderly loved one, find a pet that has less energy and smaller so that it is easier to handle and care for.

Pick Me, Pick ME!

Shelters are great places to find pets, and picking your pet from a pound has many advantages. National figures indicate that about half of the animals in shelters are euthanized for lack of homes. Most of them are waiting for someone like you to rescue them!

Don’t get discouraged if the shelter does not have the pet you had your heart set on; shelters get new pets everyday and often you can be put on a calling list when it arrives. To ensure that you are the perfect match for your pet, many shelters offer assistance with adoption counseling and follow-up care, such as pet parenting, dog-training classes, medical services, and behavior counseling. Another advantage of purchasing from a shelter is that animals are more likely to be spayed, neutered and de-wormed, and the fee to adopt is much less versus a private breeder or store.

Though there are so many advantages in adopting from a pet shelter, there are a few things to consider. Sometimes you may find your new pet has been in contact with other animals with viruses like kennel cough, Parvovirus, or Panleukopenia (feline distemper). It is important to take your new pet or the pet you purchased for a loved one to the vet once they are in your hands, especially if they are showing signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or dehydration. Keep an eye on your new family member by checking their feces, listening for coughing or noticing any lethargy.

To protect the feline immune system try FeliSafe™ or use Parvo-K™ in preparation for the canine Parvo vaccine

To relieve a dry cough and a hacking cough try KC-Defense

Timing is Everything!

When giving the gift of a new pet, consider the right time to do it. If the pet is for your children, think about the upcoming responsibilities that Christmas usually brings. If your family is scheduled for grandma’s house by noon, what will you do with your new pet?

Some families wait until after the holidays to give a pet as a gift. If you decide to wait until after the holiday season to pick your pet, you could make your children a part of the adventure. Continue to do your homework before the purchase and stick to your plan of your own perfect pet. Children often get sidetracked and can easily divert from plans; you can still make the new pet a surprise by buying all the supplies necessary and letting them open them as presents. They will know that after Christmas they will have a new four-legged family member.

If you plan on giving a pet to someone outside your family, gifting after Christmas is wise; the new owner may want to pick out their own pet, plus they won’t have to worry about house-breaking during the hectic holidays.

After the Rush!

The first night with a new pet is always the roughest, and most pets feel uneasy about new surroundings. Animals need space; this is a good time for you and your family to find a place in your home where your new pet will feel comfortable and relaxed. Find a spot for a pet bed, food dish, accident pad or litter box.

Make rules for smaller children, and show them how to hold their new pet. If you gave a pet as Christmas gift to someone outside your own home, it’s a good idea to buy the essentials for that person, too. If the new pet is still unsure with his/her atmosphere, they may tend to act-out by digging, chewing, scratching, barking or meowing. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and ensuring his or her new home is safe are great ways to combat bad pet behaviors.

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