We all are guilty of wanting to give the ultimate surprise, the most amazing, jaw dropping gift of all time. The gift of a puppy or kitten this holiday season would surely be remembered for years to come. At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, please consider these important concerns prior to giving a “live” surprise to your loved one:

  1. Forgo Surprises:Pets are a lifelong commitment. Make sure the individual or family you are planning to give a pet to are prepared for 10+ years of emotionally, physically, and financially caring for this new family member. Engage the entire family in the conversation and decision making. This is a good time to establish pet care roles and responsibilities for each individual in the household. Take the time to research different types of pets and breeds to determine the best fit for your family’s lifestyle. It can be an exciting journey and one we are all too happy to help you with.
  2. Consider Timing:The holidays are a whirlwind. People are visiting or traveling, cooking and shopping. The house is filled with decorations, trees, wrapping paper, and toys. Imagine the stress this activity is likely to cause a pet. A new pet needs to enter a calm and routine environment. This is an important time to build trust and develop a life long bond. Puppy proofing, house training, crate training, and early obedience training will be much more difficult when your attention is divided between holiday hustle and an active puppy.

    P.S.- Housebreaking will be more difficult when the weather is cold and snow covers the ground.

    So how, you ask… can you gift a new pet during the holiday season yet avoid the above concerns? Consider giving a “Gift Certificate” for a pet you promise to obtain in the near future. Consider an adoption certificate from your local shelter. This certificate would cover the adoption fee, yet allow the new owner to personally chose their perfect pet. Remember, shelters are full of every breed, age, and personality of pet. What an amazing gift for not only your lucky loved one but the shelter animal looking for a forever home!

There is a marked surge in pet relinquishments to shelters shortly after the holiday season, this is a sad truth. Welcoming a pet into your home should be done when your family has time to commit to forging a relationship that will bring you happiness and joy, long beyond the holiday season.

Written By: Tara Corridori, LVT

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