Tips for Pets as Holiday Gifts

Wow, Decemberanimal Christmas 2 is already upon us.  Can you believe it?  I know I can’t. I love holiday commercials, Christmas music, learning other people’s holiday traditions, and above all I love holiday lights.  Just think about the commercial where the little girl comes down the stairs, snow is falling outside the picture window, her parents are peaking around the corner as she opens the noisy box containing a new fluffy puppy.


What the commercial doesn’t show is that the parents are now out in the snow every 2-3 hours starting potty training.  All the parts and pieces to the Legos are being taken away from the new puppy when he isn’t busy attacking the wrapping paper.  Idyllic, isn’t it?  So, when is the best time to bring home a puppy or kitten?


We celebrate the holidays at our house sometime before or after our annual pilgrimage to Texas to see family. We’ve made this trip all but one of my son’s nine years.  We load up the car, pack the dog, pack gifts, pack warm weather clothes (December in Texas-ahhhh), leave pages of notes for the pet sitter and haul our crew south.  I can’t possibly imagine trying to include a new puppy or new kitten in this organized chaos!


It isn’t uncommon to see several newly adopted or purchased puppies or kittens in January.  These cuties arrived as Christmas presents and now need veterinary care.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore seeing all your new additions to the family.  However, I urge you to strongly consider if taking on a new pet during the hectic holiday season is a good fit for your family.


If you bring home a new pet remember that you will be making 3-4 veterinary visits every 3-4 weeks from the start.  Also, you will be potty training during the shortest and coldest days of the year.  Are you willing to leash walk your new puppy when it is dark at 6 pm?  Remember too that veterinary care does have fees.  Are you financially prepared to care for a puppy after possibly overindulging your pocket book during December?



I am certainly not trying to dissuade you from adding a new pet at the holidays.  I just want you to be prepared for the endeavor.  The excitement of the Christmas morning surprise can sometimes preclude good sense.  Remember, when choosing a pet make sure you evaluate your lifestyle.  Would getting pet in May when you may have children out of school be a better time for you?  Is spring warmer weather more ideal so that you have many months of long days to be outside with your new puppy?


When choosing a pet please feel free to contact us in Shawnee, KS to discuss the pros and cons of the species, breed, age and wellness of any pet you are considering.  We’d love to help so that you choose a pet that will live a long, happy and fulfilling life with you.


-Dr. Regehr (repost)

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