Getting a Pet for Christmas? Here are Tips to Help Get You Ready

December 19, 2019 at 2:00 PM by Nikki Wardle

Puppy as Christmas Present

We've all seen a commercial, TV show, or Hallmark movie where an adorable puppy or kitten crawl out of a box with a cute little ribbon tied around its neck. Every one coos at those loving, innocent eyes that can tug at even the most hardened guy's heart. Now you want to bring that same experience to your family with an adorable new addition to the family. Be it a bird, lizard, cat, or the ever-popular canine. 

Before you take that leap, here are a few tips to help you get your family and home ready for the new addition.

Getting your home ready for a pet

  • Go around your home, and especially the kitchen, to make sure that there isn't anything the pet can get into that may be life-threatening. Items like chocolate, mushrooms, and medications are just a few examples of the foods they shouldn't be eating.
  • Choose an easy, accessible area when your pet's food, water, and bedding will be permanently located in your home.
  • Plan where your pet will be during the day when everyone is out of the house or on vacation.
  • Pick an area where your pet will go potty, whether it be outside, a litter box, or in their enclosed space.
  • Make sure you have plenty of toys, puzzles, and an area when your pet can get lots of exercise.

Getting you and your family ready for a new addition

Surprising your entire family with a new pet is probably not the best way to introduce a furry friend. While getting a new pet is exciting, there are responsibilities with getting a new cuddly family member. It's best to decide together who will be responsible for feeding, cleaning up after, exercising, and all of the other tasks associated with being a trustworthy and loving pet owner.

Choosing the right pet

Just because those big puppy or kitten eyes are calling out to you doesn't mean you're the best fit for that pet. Consider your lifestyle and your family activities. Are you extremely active in taking hikes, camping, playing in the park? Are most of your family activities pet-friendly? Is the pet you want to adopt as laid back or active as you? There are plenty of websites available that can give you a good idea of a breed's overall temperament, activity level, average life span, and other traits.  

Where to get the right pet

Consider getting a rescue pet. The Meridian Canine Rescue has so many amazing dogs ready for great homes. Rescue dogs are such a fantastic gift to you and you to them. The staff can help match you and your family up with a dog or puppy that can easily fit into your family and lifestyle. There are also so many other animal rescue agencies in the valley that have a variety of pets that need forever homes. 

Choose a reputable breeder

If going to a breeder is the right choice for your family, make sure to do your research. Most breeders have a website along with the mother and father's pedigree. You'll want to interview the breeder as well as past clients of that breeder. It's also a good idea to see the environment in which the puppies will spend the first 8 to 12 weeks of their life in as well as spend some time with your expected new addition.

Here is a pro tip Dr. Bedee gave to me awhile back. Send an old sweatshirt or blanket that has your scent on it. Let the breeder use that as bedding for your puppy or kitten. They'll grow familiar with your scent and bond with you much faster when you bring your new family member home.

Adding a new furry, feathery, or scaly family member to your family is an exciting time. And no matter if you are a new couple just starting out or a family of five wanting to add more love to your home, go on the adventure together. Pets are such an amazing joy and give unconditional love for years and years.

Topics: Pet Care, Puppy Care

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.