Pets for Christmas – Pets for Life

When your kids turn in their holiday wish list, you might be in for a big surprise!  Along with that special toy and favorite game, you might find that at the top of the list is a… new pet!  Before you rush out to fill your child’s holiday request, consider that when you get a new pet (whether at the holidays or beyond) he/she becomes the newest member of your family.  You become his forever family.  So, you need to ask yourself, “Is the family  ready for this commitment?”

Pets For Christmas: Consider Carefully

In a great many cases, a new pet is perfect for your family to consider, (especially with all of the homeless dogs and cats out there), but in some cases it may be that this just isn’t the time for you to take on this responsibility.  Cesar Millan, in his article, “Before You Adopt a Dog”, lists some specific considerations in the process.

  • Take your family and children’s feelings into careful thought. Talk to the kids about who will be feeding and watering the dog (or cat) and walking the dog.
  • Are you really ready for the responsibility? A structured life is a good indicator of whether your family is prepared for the care of a pet.
  • Figure your schedule into the equation. Consider your work schedule, and how you manage your time.  Pets require your attention more than you might think.
  • Be sure your neighborhood is animal friendly. A good place to walk him is important.
  • Choose a dog with energy level equal or lower than your own. A dog with higher energy than your own could present problems.
  • Think about the characteristics of the breed you are considering.
  • You might want to foster an animal first to make sure your family is ready to permanently adopt.
  • Don’t make an emotional decision when adopting. When the kids say they need that pup, explain to them what a big responsibility it is.

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Petfinder offers us some tips as well:

  • Consider the ages of the children in the family. They state that if kids in your household are under the age of seven, they usually are not developmentally suited for puppies 5 months old and under, or toy-sized dogs of any age. Also, when they approach you with tears in their eyes promising to take care of the pup, their age and maturity level should come to your mind for consideration.
  • Think about how much you can spend. Some invest quite a bit of money in the adoption, but don’t figure in the cost of care (vet bills, food, toys, grooming, etc).

Pets For Christmas – Pets For Life

All of these tips are important before bringing a new pet into the home.  Sure…pets at the holidays are fun, but they are a responsibility long after the lights are taken down.  It’s a family responsibility, and everyone in the family should be included in the decision making.

After all of these considerations have been discussed, and an agreement has been made that you’re ready to take in the new family member, you will have a good friend for life!  So if it’s a puppy or kitten (or older dog or cat) that’s the big gift this year, enjoy him.  He will bring so much love to everyone, and you will find yourselves in love with him as well!

photo credit: Paul Saad Diva december 2015 via photopin (license)



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