Dallas – With the holiday season in full swing and many first-time pet owners likely to receive a new dog or cat as a gift in the coming weeks, veterinarians from Essentials PetCare are sharing their top tips to help new pet owners get started on the right foot.
In recent years there has been a resurgence of gifting pets to loved ones for the holidays, in part due to a change in conventional wisdom that gifting a pet increases its likelihood of ending up in a shelter. This shift by animal advocates stems from findings in a 2013 study by the ASPCA, which found no correlation between receiving an animal as a gift and surrender rates.
“Surprising a loved one with a pet during the holidays can be one of the most rewarding gifts as long as the recipient has expressed interest in owning a pet and has the financial means to do so,” Emily Cole, veterinarian at Essentials PetCare, said. “Anyone receiving a puppy or kitten for the holidays should first understand the daily responsibility involved in pet ownership and also consider speaking with a veterinarian beforehand.”
Veterinarians recommend the following tips for pet owners who receive a new pet during the holidays:
Get the right supplies – Those gifting a pet over the holidays should also put together a care package to get new pet owners stocked-up for at least the first week. Items like pet food, pet-safe bowls, a well-fitting collar and leash, crate, pet toys and stain removers are essential when getting pets settled into a new home.
Get the pet vaccinated – Puppies and kittens need a series of vaccinations to be fully protected from various deadly diseases. Young animals also commonly have intestinal parasites which may be transmissible to humans. These parasites are especially dangerous to children, expecting mothers and adults with suppressed immune systems.
Get on schedule and begin training immediately – The best way to limit accidents and foster good long-term habits is to begin training on day one. Closely supervise young pets and remain alert for signs the pet needs to use the bathroom. At the first sign, immediately take the pet outside or to a designated area. It has been proven that positive reinforcement is the best way to achieve desired behaviors, so continually praise or reward pets for following house rules.
“We strongly encourage anyone thinking about giving the gift of a pet this holiday season to consider adopting one from a local shelter. Many shelters have special adoption programs tailored for the holiday season or offer gift cards to cover adoption fees,” Cole said. “There’s no better feeling than giving a loved one the joy a pet brings and providing a pet a forever home.”
SOURCE Essentials PetCare
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