Holiday Gifts

It’s the time of year for gift giving, and many people include their pets in this tradition.  Here are some safe, fun suggestions for making Fido and Fluffy part of this holiday season:

  • Personalized ID tags or collars with your contact information on them are a great way to help make sure your pet makes it home if it ever becomes lost.
  • Sign up for doggy daycare a few days a week, obedience classes, or a membership to a local dog park.  The extra exercise and interaction will be much appreciated!
  • Chose an interactive gift such as a treat-dispensing toy or a laser pointer.  Gifts like these will keep them busy for hours on end!
  • Been putting off that dental cleaning? Have you been meaning to buy heartworm prevention for awhile?  While these are not the most fun gifts, chances are that your pet will benefit from them more than that fancy new toy.
  • If you choose to stuff your pet’s stocking with toys and treats, be sure that the treats are enjoyed in moderation and that toys are safe with no small pieces that may be swallowed.  Also, be sure to choose toys and treats that are the appropriate size for your pet.
  • Consider making a donation to a local shelter or rescue.  Chances are your pet already has everything it needs and won’t miss unwrapping a silly toy or treat.  Things like blankets and towels, food, and litter are greatly appreciated by organizations that help animals.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles…and Pets

Many pet owners will be going over the river and through the woods this holiday season.  Whether it’s to grandmother’s house you go or everyone is headed to your house, your pets have particular requirements you’ll want to keep in mind.

If you are not taking your pet with you, most likely you will need to board your pet at a reputable kennel.  Here are some important tips.

Boarding your pet:

  • Make reservations well in advance.  Boarding kennels fill up quickly during the holidays.
  • Be sure to check with us about vaccination requirements when making your boarding reservations. Most vaccines such as the one for Infectious Tracheobronchitis (also known as kennel cough) need to be given several weeks in advance of boarding for the best protection of your pet if they have not had the vaccine before.
  • Provide enough of your pet’s food and medications to last through its stay and alert the kennel staff to any special needs that it may have.

Sometimes it’s more fun to bring your pet with you. If your pet is travelling, you’ll want to be careful to prepare for the journey.

Travelling by car:

  • Be sure to put together a travel bag for your pet.  Include food, water, bowls, and any medications your pet needs.  A small first aid kit may also be helpful.
  • Proof of vaccination and pertinent medical records are helpful in case you have any troubles during your trip.  Find a few veterinarians in the area of your final destination and carry their phone number in case of emergency.
  • If your pet has a habit of becoming carsick or nervous during travel, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medications that can help.
  • Check out www.petswelcome.com or www.dogfriendly.com to find a pet-friendly hotel if needed.

Travelling by plane:

  • Check with your airline and destination well ahead of time for requirements.  Many airlines and states require that your pet be examined by a USDA certified veterinarian and issued a health certificate prior to travelling.
  • Each airline differs as to which animals may be carried on board with you and which must be checked into cargo.  Discuss with your veterinarian what concerns may be for your individual pet.
  • Be sure your pet is used to its carrier beforehand in order to minimize stress.

Staying home:

  • If your home is everyone’s destination this holiday season, make sure that your pet has a quiet, private place to retreat away from all the commotion.
  • Be sure that it is wearing a collar with tags and that its microchip information is current in case a door is left open in the midst of all the chaos.

No matter what your plans are, we hope that you and your pet have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

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Acquiring a Pet for the Holidays

The kids have been begging for months.  You’re thinking about finally giving in.  After all, who can resist the image of a fuzzy new puppy or kitten under the tree?  As excited as your children may be, you may want to give it just a little more thought. Here are a few important things to consider:

  • The holiday season is typically not the best time of year to get a new pet.  New puppies and kittens require a lot of attention in order to ensure that they grow to be healthy, well socialized pets.  This is the time of year where most people have the least amount of spare time.  Housebreaking a puppy may require spending a lot of time patiently waiting outside, and in many parts of the country, January is not the most pleasant month to do so.  Also, the first year of your new pet’s life is likely to be one of the most expensive.  You should consider this when taking on this responsibility during a time of year when money is typically tight.
  • If you do decide to get a pet, do your research. Talk to a veterinarian about what kind of pet you are looking for.  They can help you decide what breeds might be a good fit for your family and which ones might not.  Discuss the costs of vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and recommended medications in order to help you to plan for your new addition.
  • Be smart about where you obtain your new family member.  Humane societies and rescues should be able to tell you a little about each animal’s personality and alert you to any medical conditions in order to ensure a good match. If you purchase your pet from a breeder, make sure to talk with a few references.  A good breeder should be knowledgeable regarding his dogs and the breed.
  • Be sure to find out the vaccination status and previous veterinary care provided to the pet.  Acquire documentation so that you may continue your pet’s care seamlessly.
  • Have a veterinarian examine the pet.  They may initially appear healthy, only to become sick soon after getting home.  The veterinarian can also counsel you as to what additional care is required and discuss issues such as housetraining and nutrition.
  • Remember, a pet is a commitment. You cannot return a pet as you might a shirt that doesn’t fit or a tie that’s not your style. Pets are with you for their whole life. If you make a commitment to them, they will reward you with love and loyalty that you’ll remember forever.
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