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New Pets and the Holidays

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Many people feel that the holidays are an ideal time to bring a new kitten or puppy into the home as their child’s first pet. Although the unwrapping, licking, tumbling, and playing are priceless moments, the holidays are far from an ideal time to begin establishing your new pet as part of your home. In fact, many shelters experience an increase in unwanted pets after the holidays.

A holiday household is often a chaotic place and bringing a puppy or kitten into an unfamiliar environment is stressful enough on the animal without the additional holiday trauma. In addition, the holiday household is filled with potential dangers for a small animal. Discarded tinsel, ribbons, bows, and packing materials all pose potential problems to a small animal that is prone to chewing on everything in sight. A playful chew on a dangling lamp cord could cause electrocution. A puppy or kitten playing in a house filled with people will be under foot and a misguided step could cause serious injuries.

One often overlooked danger to animals is food. Chocolate can be toxic to pets as is alcohol. Add to that, turkey bones, plastic utensils, small plastic toy parts and the holiday home environment becomes a dangerous one for a new animal.

Pets and children are a wonderful combination and they form incredible bonds that are remembered throughout a lifetime. Start the new family member off on the right foot. Wait until after the holiday shuffle and bring the new little addition into your normal household. Let the new pet be an experience that stands on its own and is not overshadowed by other gifts and the holiday hubbub. Then you will be prepared and able to handle the little accidents and thoroughly enjoy the experience of giving your child a friend for life!

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