A puppy may not be for Christmas

Depending on your circumstances, buying a puppy or (kitten) for Christmas may not be such a great idea after all.

Yes, if you have young children, discovering a cute little live animal under the tree on Christmas morning can bring shrieks of excitement, but that could be a problem because a puppy or kitten can be overwhelmed and frightened if it is not used to children and noise. Plus, everyone may not welcome teaching a new pet toilet training during such an active and busy holiday period.

We all hear of impulse buys of pets for Christmas leading to disappointment and neglect after the initial novelty has worn off ; however, this article is not all about doom and gloom but a guide to planning everything right so there’s a happy ending to introducing a new pet into the home.

PREPARE THE FAMILY

Share your plans enthusiastically with your children, but explain how it will change the family’s life and bring new responsibilities to everyone with walking, feeding and training. The more they see this as a collective responsibility, the more they’ll understand the role they have to play and embrace it from the start.

CHOOSE A BREED CAREFULLY

Research breeds thoroughly and read up on the care and training of the breed you’re hoping to bring into the family as it’s going to be your companion for a very long time. Every breed has its own specific traits and behaviour; make sure its size and temperament is best suited to your family, home and social or recreational activities. Make sure to research breeders also and get as much advice as you can on the most respected and trustworthy.

You may wish to visit your local animal shelter, as for some people, an older, calmer and trained animal may be more suitable than a puppy that needs all the work and attention.

PREPARE THE HOME

In order to properly introduce a new pet, you will need to prepare your home in the same way you would prepare for a newborn baby. No dangling cords or fragile pottery and foods within easy reach, etc. Decide where it’s best sleeping and feeding areas are and have bedding and toys in place from the outset so that you can introduce the puppy to it when it comes home (another thing that’s difficult to do with a Christmas surprise).

A GREAT COMPROMISE

You don’t want to spoil the surprise of Christmas, but you don’t want the potential problems mentioned above so, if you have young children and have done your breed research, why not leave a Pet Promise under the tree – a wrapped stuffed animal toy or lead for example. Then you can tell the children your plans to get a pet, once Christmas is over.

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