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A New Puppy for Christmas

Havenese puppyWhile pet experts agree that the busy holiday season is not the ideal time to bring home a new pet, the fact remains that a new dog or cat often tops the Christmas list for children and adults.

Bringing home a new puppy or kitten can be an exciting time, but having a pet is a commitment that requires research, preparation, and consideration not just of the humans in your household, but your other pets as well.

In this two part series, we will discuss how to make the homecoming of your new pet a joyful experience.

 

The New Dog
Step 1: Research

This begins with research. Breed choice matters, even if you are adopting from a shelter instead of buying from what we hope will be a reputable breeder if you go that route.

Dogs are loveable, but they are not all alike. They are bred to exhibit certain traits and behaviors, and prospective owners should not go by looks alone. The beautiful Border Collie you see on television is intelligent and good at tricks, but as a herding breed, it will also be a high energy dog with a high prey drive. Those pugs you like are adorable with their expressive, smushed in faces, but if you enjoy hiking in the summer, that flat face will make it more prone to hyperventilation in the heat. [Read more…]

A Pet for Christmas?

Pros, cons, and tips for those who insist on putting a new family member under the tree. 

The image of a smiling child lifting a wiggly puppy from a box on Christmas morning is an iconic one. Those of us who love animals know that nothing can bring greater joy than an adorable kitten or puppy, but experts agree that Christmas morning may be the worst time to introduce a new pet. 

For one thing, a pet under the tree will have a lot of competition. It’s not likely that the child will just get that new pet, after all. The adorable puppy and kitten may have to complete with a video game system or a bike. And even if the new pet is the child’s favorite gift, a trip to grandma’s house later in the day may find the new addition left alone in a crate or a dark room, lonely, confused, and afraid. 

A far better option is a bowl, a leash, and a picture of the pet still safe and sound at the home of the responsible breeder holding it until after Christmas when things calm down and the family has time to prepare to bring it home to a pet-proofed home.  This also gives parents time to talk to kids about the responsibilities of having a pet, what their role in cleaning up after and feeding their new playmate.

Of course, not everyone will wait. And whether you bring your new friend home on Christmas morning or afterward, these tips can make the new arrival easier.

[Read more…]

A Safe and Happy Christmas: Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Merry Christmas from Dickens!

Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Unless, of course, you end up rushing your beloved pet to the vet due to an avoidable emergency. 

For humans, the holidays bring twinkling lights, gaily wrapped packages, rich foods, and adult beverages served by the fire in the company of friends and family who come to call. And while we don’t want to sound like the Grinch, each one of these things presents a possible hazard.

Here’s how to avoid them so your pet can enjoy a safe, happy holiday. 

Trees and Decorations

Christmas trees are irresistible, especially to a cat. “Why bring a tree in the house if you don’t mean for me to climb it?” your kitten may ask, and if you have a cat or kitten, you may spend a good deal of the time shooing her away from the tree or fishing her out of it. Climbing within itself isn’t usually a danger, but make sure the tree is secure since a falling tree can hurt your cat, especially if it gets tangled in the lights.

[Read more…]