Giving a new puppy or kitten could be a perfect Christmas gift for the young and old alike, but there are some factors to consider before placing a ribbon on the new pet.
- Make sure the main caregiver is ready to commit. Parents should know about a new pet for their children ahead of time, and gift givers should ensure senior adults are animal lovers. If a pet is seen as a nuisance, it might not be properly cared for. Pets are not typically something you can ‘return’ to the store either. Keep in mind, some cats can live 15+ years and dogs could stay in your home for a decade or more.
- Consider the costs of a new pet. Young pets require a series of vaccinations and a spay/neuter surgery. Meantime, older pets could have existing health conditions. All cats and dogs require yearly heartworm and flea/tick preventive medications. Typically, these are minimal costs, but having a pet does mean paying for its food, healthcare and activities over the course of its lifetime.
- Keep perspective. Owning a pet usually means having an instant, lifelong friend. Still, there will be bumps in the road, such as bathroom accidents, chewed toys or furniture and occasional pet hair to vacuum.
- Try fostering a pet first. If you are concerned a new pet might not be a good fit, there are a few local rescue organizations that allow you to foster pets, once you pass their regulations. You could also offer to “pet-sit” your neighbors’ animals to see what it’s like to have a pet in your home. Finally, we encourage you to call your veterinarian for advice on the best type of pet to fit your lifestyle. We also hope you will consider rescuing a pet from any one of the numerous local shelters.
At Bootheel Animal Clinic, we believe pets are excellent companions for people of all ages, and we hope many of you will end up bringing home new pets this holiday.