A pet is just not just for Christmas

 Christmas is just around the corner!  And a lot of people are checking their lists and figuring out what the “perfect” gift should be.  Christmas or other Holidays can be a great time to give someone you love a pet…but communication is key to making this gift-giving a success for everyone involved.

Holidays usually mean busy schedules, busy households and busy lives!  Make sure the recipient can make time for their new pet.  A new home for a pet means a new environment and that animal will need a considerable amount of time for adjusting.  Many households will not have the time or energy needed to devote to a new pet in order to make them feel comfortable and welcome in their new home.

However, if you feel that a pet is the perfect gift – be sure to follow these guidelines:

If you plan to give a pet to a child, it’s best to always check with their parents.  The recipient or other family members may have allergies to particular types of animals or even have a fear of certain animals.  Make sure the parents are willing to help the child take care of their new pet.  This will help ensure the pet receives the best of care.

If getting a pet for yourself, be sure to allow ample time to spend with the pet.  Dogs and cats particularly need to know their new home is a safe haven for them.  If you find yourself entertaining or having several holiday parties, make a safe, quiet space for your animal that they can retreat to.

Training is one of the best ways to develop a strong bond with your pet, especially if it’s a new puppy.  It is also very important to establish a routine they can adjust to.  Make sure you or the recipient is able to make time for routine feeding, walking and play time.

Families or people with a little extra time can benefit from having a pet…and the pet will benefit from becoming part of their family.

Alternatively, you may find it best to give a gift certificate that is redeemable for their favorite pet – after the holidays are over.  This will allow you to still give that perfect gift.  Bunnies, hamsters and other small pets are great gifts – however the holidays can be a bit stressful and busy.  One gift giving idea that has gone over well in previous years , is giving a hamster or bunny cage – or even a bird cage as the gift and then come back with the recipient to pick out their pet together after the holidays. Fish are a great ‘first pet’ option for children and it also offers a great educational opportunity for the whole family.”

If you are considering a pet as a gift this holiday season, contact one of the animal specialists at Animal House for expert advice and tips.