Pets do NOT Make Good Gifts

Pets do NOT Make Good Gifts

As the holiday season approaches, many families consider adopting, rescuing or purchasing a pet.  While the intentions are sincere, a number of factors should be considered.  A pet is a large responsibility.  Any pet requires financial investment and a time commitment.  Pets demand attention, training, veterinary care, grooming, and, in some cases, lifestyle changes.   Introducing a puppy in the Winter means housebreaking in the cold weather and often in the dark.   Pets do not sleep later on the weekends, and they are happier with a consistent schedule.  Prior to bringing a pet into the home, the house should be puppy proofed for safety and ready to accept a pet.    Furnishing the home for a pet includes purchasing things like a crate, bowls, toys, litter boxes, a scratching post, leash, collar, caging, bedding, etc.

The most suitable pet should be a good fit for the family.  The needs of a puppy, dog, kitten, cat, rabbit or pocket pet differ.   Consider the breed of dog or cat in making a selection.  Shedding vs. non-shedding in dogs is often a deciding factor in choosing a particular pet or breed.   Some dogs are very high energy, demanding lots of exercise and stimulation.   For example, a Jack Russell Terrier may not be ideal for an elderly person who is sedentary.  Consider the breed’s temperament with children, for example.   Evaluate the time the pet may spend alone in the home.  Many dogs will become destructive, difficult to train or develop signs of separation anxiety if they do not receive adequate attention.   For families who work full time outside of the home, arrangements should be made for a trusted friend, neighbor or pet sitter to let the puppy or dog outside during the day.

Small mammals such as rabbits and pocket pets such as guinea pigs require special diets and housing requirements to be healthy.  It is best to research a particular pet by consulting a veterinarian, reading books, and reviewing reputable sites on line before purchasing one.  Remember that impulsive decisions are often easy to make once the pet is seen.  For once the pet is in front of you, it may be very difficult to say no or to walk away.

Dr. Mia Frezzo, DVM is an established veterinarian with over 15 years of experience based in New Jersey. She will be opening her own animal hospital in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ in 2014. 

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