Home for the Holidays: 5 Things to consider before bringing home a new pet

Who doesn’t love the idea of a new puppy or kitten for the Holidays? Think about how cute? A cuddly little ball of fluff hiding in a present for your loved one to discover! However, this very idea is met with a great deal of controversy in the animal community. There are concerns that animals given as gifts are brought into the family impulsively and may end up not being properly taken care of, given away, or given up to a shelter once the family loses interest.

While this may be the case among passionate pet owners, the ASPCA actually highly encourages pet adoption during the holidays. They conducted research in 2013 and found that 86% of pets adopted during the holidays remain in the home without any negative effect on emotional attachment.

Lifestyle

Are you hoping to surprise a friend or family member with a new pet? If so, are you certain that they are 100% prepared for having a new, 10-15 year commitment in their life? Will a new pet fit their current lifestyle? Are they at work for long hours? Are they active? Are they homebodies? How much time do they really have to provide to the care of an animal? It is in the best interest of your loved one and the potential pet to establish the answers to these questions prior to taking the leap.

New Kitten Care Eastside Animal Hospital

Caregiver

Whether your new pet is being brought into your or another’s home, it is important to establish the role of the primary caregiver for the pet.

Often times the desire is for a pet to be for the entire family. Even if this is the case, there does need to be conversations about who will feed the pet, brush them, walk them/scoop their litter box. Who will be taking the pet to the vet? Spoiler alert: don’t count on the children. Don’t take it the wrong way, it is absolutely wonderful to involve children with the care of a pet. However, an adult still needs to be in the lead making sure everything is getting taken care of. Defining these roles will help to keep the integration of your new family member as smooth as possible.

Costs of a New Pet

The estimated cost for caring for a pet is frequently overlooked when planning for a new addition. The ASPCA has compiled a list estimating the first year of pet ownership as well as concurrent years. The list takes everything into consideration from annual preventative care, to food, bowls, etc.

A common mistake that is made is spending several hundred or even thousand dollars on a puppy/kitten leaving minimal funding in the event the puppy/kitten becomes ill. Careful consideration needs to be taken regarding financial planning when bringing a new pet into your family.

Puppy care at Eastside Animal Hospital

Be Selective and Informed

If you are choosing to get your pet from a breeder, educate yourself! Take into consideration the answers to the questions above regarding your lifestyle. Embrace Pet Health Insurance provides a comprehensive dog and cat breed guide that details traits of each breed including appearance, maintenance, and personality. More importantly, they provide information on health conditions that each breed may be prone to and a potential expense estimate in the event your pet developed one of these conditions. Understanding what your selected breed may have issues with can help guide you in selecting a source for your puppy. You can also learn more about those conditions and issues that can affect the dog or cat breed you are most interested in through our breed library as well.

It is generally advised not to purchase puppies and kittens from pet stores. This is largely due to the fact of not being able to know the health background of the puppy/kitten. Instead, look for a breeder that takes pride in the health of their breeding stock. Some of the conditions that are common in specific breeds can be tested prior to selecting the animal as part of the breeding program. A reputable breeder will perform the test (if available) to ensure they are producing quality puppies/kittens.

Adopt, Don’t Shop!

Top Veterinarian Eastside Animal HospitalEven better than purchasing a new furbaby from a breeder is giving a homeless pet a home! And even if you are after a younger animal, do not discount the adult or older animals. Often times, adult animals will fit better into an already established lifestyle. They often come housebroken and a little more calm than a puppy making them ideal for busy families. Not to mention, rescued animals show a level of love and devotion that is exceptionally special.

Still want a purebred dog? No problem! The American Kennel Club has links to breed-specific rescues listed under each breed profile! Regardless of what you are looking for, there is a strong possibility you can find it in a rescue or shelter!

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