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Giving Pets as Christmas Presents

Giving Pets as Christmas Presents

Remember - Pets are for Life!

Firstly, can I say that introducing a pet of any kind into the house at Christmas or any other celebratory time is not a good idea. However, I am aware that many people do, so here are some pointers to make the new introduction as least traumatic as possible for all concerned

Firstly beforehand please ensure that you have all the necessary equipment and food you need at your home, or with you if you are taking the animal to someone else’s house.

Most importantly make sure it is wanted! Nearly every little girl wants a pony/kitten/puppy but in the reality they only like the thought of it, not the care, cleaning and the lifelong commitment.

In this article we are talking about primarily cats and dogs, so what will you need?

Bed - well whether your new pet is a rescue or puppy it will find the whole day very exciting/confusing/scary or a mixture of all three and possibly more, so it will need, from day one a place to call its own.

Cage – This can be a good idea, not to keep it in permanently, just to give it somewhere it can retreat to and you can put it away from little (and large) hands who will not accept it needs a rest/time away from everyone. Also if it is a cat the litter tray can be put in it, and some paper down if it is a dog.

Collar - You should ensure that if the animal is a dog, it should have a collar on it with its name (if known) and if not at least its address, owner and their telephone number.

Food – Please ensure that your new pet has the same food as its previous owner/breeder/rescue centre fed it, and please don’t give it titbits, not only will they possibly upset its stomach, be unsuitable (there are many places on the internet to find lists of human food which is dangerous to animals.)

Other important things to consider are:

Security – It is important that it can be let out in a secure area, or at least, if the garden is not secure, that a small area can be made secure quickly for it. If this is not possible then you should make sure it has an area inside (like a cage) which has paper down for it to do the necessary.

Handling – Correctly, many rescue centres do not allow rehoming at Christmas because it is too traumatic, if however you do have a new rescue dog/cat or a puppy/kitten you should ensure that it is not handled too much.

Treatment - It is important to teach children from first contact that the animal (and this applies to ALL ANIMALS) is not a toy, it can’t be squeezed too hard, grabbed etc., this is not only for the animal’s sake but also for the safety of the child. Of course everyone will be excited and so possibly will the animal but it must have time out away from the attention.

Rules – At Christmas time it is easy to drop rules, “It’s only for one day…” however, animals don’t know any better and what you allow that first day or two will become the norm for it, so like any other time of the year, think and don’t use the ‘sometimes’ rule, your pet will not understand it! Do you want your dog on the furniture? If the answer is no, then don’t allow it from day one.

Whether you have a new pet or a long established one, remember, Christmas is only one day, and like you it is a living creature with all the anxieties, insecurities and feelings you have, treat it with respect, and of course let it know how much it is loved.


by Susan Keefe

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