Are Puppies and Kittens the Perfect Presents this Holiday Season - the Gift of Endless Love?

puppy christmasWe hope you'll think twice before putting a puppy under your tree.

You may passionately believe there is no better gift than a pet. Your own beloved may have even been a gift, but surprising someone with a pet on Christmas day is possibly one of the worst - or most challenging to say the least - days you can welcome a pet into your home. This hectic time usually brings many strangers, decorations, and dangers to curious pets that likely won't have the person's full attention.

Not convinced? Shortly after the Christmas holidays begins is a sad time to be a veterinarian. Many people receive puppies as gifts, or get them for their children to teach a specific lesson, which usually goes unlearned. Less than a couple months later, a shocking number of these pets end up in shelters or worse - simply because they are acting like puppies or kittens.

Consider this holiday jingle to remind yourself or others that being a responsible pet parents means more than always being available for puppy kisses and snuggles.

The Twelve days of Christmas (The Canine Edition)

On the twelve days of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Twelve times liquid pooping
Eleven long nights a barking
Ten weeks of training
Nine holes a digging
Then eight times escaping
Seven hundred in dog food spending
Six visits for grooming
Five emergency bee stings
Four walks in blizzards
Three bitten mailmen
Two lifetimes of love
All from one sweet innocent puppy

Do not misunderstand me - I ADORE puppies and kittens both, and I can't imagine my life without my fuzzy companions. But there is a right and a wrong time to bring a new pet into a home.

Bring a pet into your home the right way:

  • Never buy a pet on an impulse. Pets are living breathing creatures that require significant time, energy, money, and sacrifice. There will be countless plans changed and seemingly endless frustrations as a result of welcoming a pet into your home—especially in the puppy and kitten days.
  • If you or someone you know is ready for a pet, but don't quite have the time or resources for to train a puppy, consider adopting an adult dog. You can most often find a pet that is house-trained and probably already knows a few basic commands.
  • If you must surprise a child or a loved one with a pet on Christmas day (or Hanukah for that matter) make sure you have everything in order far in advance. You will need a quiet room away from the holiday roar to keep the new furry addition, as too many sounds can be frightening for a new kitten or pup. Make sure you have a crate or enclosed space for the pet to feel and be safe. Protect the room and furniture from the new pet in addition, as you probably won't be watching the pet on this most busy day.

Pets can certainly provide continuous love for those of us on holidays that are lonely and missing loved ones, but do remember, pets are a huge responsibility and will be around once the holiday blues are long gone.

The decision to welcome a four-legged fur child (or three-legged—tripods make great pets too!) into your home is a significant decision that deserves much time, thought, and planning. If you decide 'tis the season, avoid puppy mills, Internet pet retailers, and pet shops. If you have a friend who is making light of the decision, please do your part of inform them of the commitments involved with pet parenting, as well as the rewards.

Approximately 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters in the USA each year, and the spring tends to be the busiest season for shelters. Do your part this holiday season to help stop this cycle by educating potential pet parents that each pet deserves a permanent home. Whether you believe pets are the ultimate gift for this season or any time of the year, make sure the future pet parent is fully aware of the commitment and responsibilities that go hand in paw with the adorable puppy or kitten and please share this article.

What do you think? Is a pet the perfect holiday gift? Have you even known someone who was shocked to discover a pet was more than a gift of endless love?

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