It may be the most one of the wonderful times of the year — but it can quickly become the worst if you decide to surprise your family with a pet for Christmas.
Holiday movies, television programs and even advertisements give the impression that the best time to give or get a new pet is under the tree on Christmas morning.
And who among us can resist little puppies and kittens, under the Christmas tree, decked out in big, colorful ribbons? However, what we are really seeing is a very well orchestrated and edited best case scenario.
Not all Christmas pets live up to their hype, and bringing a new animal into the home during such an exciting holiday can be just the opposite of a positive beginning, according to petmd.com.
Many people feel that the happiest and the best way to present a new pet is by surprise, however, the last thing you want is a frightened, cowering little animal that is overwhelmed by the kids’ squeals of excitement and fighting each other for a chance to hold it.
Christmas morning is an especially chaotic time, with everyone ripping into gifts, hazardous (to little animals) strings and wrappings all over, and the usual loud toys that can be disturbing to even the most seasoned holiday veteran.
The new pet may bite or seriously scratch someone, bringing a pall of gloom to an otherwise loving holiday.
You should discuss how a new pet will change the family’s life with your children, even older children. Some parents simply assume that the older a child is, the easier it will be to enlist them in the care of the pet. However, older children tend to have more social engagements and may not have a lot of time to spend with the pet.
A pet will end up changing a lot of the family’s day to day arrangements, like schedules (walking, feeding, training), sleeping arrangements (who gets to keep the pet in their room?), clean-up chores (remember that what is left on the floor is fair game to a dog or cat).
You should consider carefully how a pet will affect your family’s daily lifestyle and do diligent research on which type and breed is best suited to your family and home.
Also, you should never ever choose your new pet based on cuteness or wishful thinking. It may be that the pet you think is most unlikely to be your perfect companion is the very one that is. Besides having a few family talks over the joys and responsibilities of pets, read books on the care and training of the breed you are hoping to bring into your family.
Also you can make some time to visit your local animal shelter. In the same way that you may have an image of what the perfect breed is for you when it might very well be another that is more suitable, an older, calmer and already trained cat or dog may be more practical than a baby animal that needs strict attention and training.
Time to Prepare the home
With all the holiday decorations, foods, and random bustling around, a busy holiday can be a dangerous and scary time for a young puppy or kitten to be introduced. This is when bad habits often begin.
Frightened animals will bite, poop and pee on the floors, or will hide in difficult to reach places. Your pet’s first experience in your home with your family should be positive and calm. In addition to all of that, on Christmas day there are usually lots of ribbons and bows, candies and small toys littering the floor, all of which look to an animal like good things to chew on.
You don’t want your very first night, or any night, with your new pet to be in an animal emergency room with obstructed breathing or blocked intestines.
You will need to prepare your home in the very same way that you would prepare it for a newborn baby. No dangling cords or curtain/blind pulls, no small toys on the floor, no candies or other foods within easy reach, and the toilet closed. There is plenty to do in preparation, and a lot you won’t think of until after the fact.
Then there is all of the necessary equipment, which includes the food, crate, leash, bed, collar, etc. One of the most important preparations of all is to create a quiet place for your pet to sleep, eat and just get away from things when he is feeling overwhelmed.
Instead of gifting your family with a puppy or kitten, you might just want to wrap up a stuffed animal or some other pet-related accessory — you can even think of it as a ‘pet promise’. This will allow your children know that you are prepared to go out and select a new pet but now is not the time. In fact, you may find that many of your local shelters will not permit adoptions during the holiday season.
Adopting a pet is a commitment that will last the entire lifespan of the animal, far beyond the holiday season!
We here at The Best Cat Page wish everyone a Happy Holidays!