Dec 01 2009

A Puppy for The Holidays – Are You Ready?

Nerdel---New-PuppyThe holidays are around the corner and one of the most popular gifts to give and receive is a new puppy or kitten.  Breeders and shelters sell and adopt more animals during the holiday season than any other time of the year.  This can be a wonderful experience for both the animals and their new owners.  Nothing is greater then giving a new home and family to an animal in need.  However, many times, especially during the holiday season, puppies and kittens are adopted without owners entirely understanding and considering the love and care they need to provide, not just for the moment, but for the animal’s lifetime.  It is important to understand the responsibility and care an animal requires before purchasing or adopting a new puppy or kitten in order to avoid heartbreak for new owners and new pets.  The best and most loving homes for animals are prepared homes.

Once your pet is a new member of the family, it will require a lot of attention and care not only while it is young but for its entire life. Puppies and kittens require examinations and vaccinations every 3 weeks until they are 4 to 5 months of age.  In addition, they require the proper monthly heartworm, tick, and flea prevention throughout their lifetime. 


It is very important to have your pet spayed and neutered.  Many rescue groups and humane societies will have this performed at their facility prior to adoption.  However, if this surgery is not performed by the Humane Society, you should take your pet to your veterinarian to be spayed or neutered. 

Just like newborns, puppies and kittens may become ill.  Ideally young animals are healthy and do not become ill, however new owners need to be financially able to provide proper care for their new pet if he or she does becomes ill.  In addition, just like children, new pets require hard work and dedication.  Puppies are notorious for eating everything in sight, chewing shoes, socks, rocks, grass, furniture, etc. They need to be monitored very closely at all times while they are puppies, to make sure they do not swallow something which may make them ill and to prevent damage to your home.  In addition to keeping a close eye on them, puppies need to be trained to be house broken and listen to commands.  This takes a lot of time and patience.

As pets get older, they are susceptible to many of the same diseases that people are.  Arthritis, kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, hypothyroid disease, and cancer are a few of the diseases that our pets may be diagnosed with as they get older.  If your pet becomes ill, it can become very costly to treat and care for them. It is important to understand when adopting a new animal that they will become a part of your family for up to 10 and sometimes even 20 years.  A new owner must be prepared to provide a lifetime of care and love to their new animal.

  There are so many dogs and cats that need a home and family. The best thing you can do for an animal is to give them a loving and caring place to call home.

 Millions of animals are put to sleep every year because rescue groups become overcrowded with abandoned animals and are unable to find homes.  In every state, there are humane societies and rescue groups for animals that have been abandoned or found on the streets.  It is not uncommon for people to seek out breeders to purchase specific breeds of dogs or cats.   Before spending a great deal of money on your new pet, it is worthwhile to visit your local Humane Society or rescue group.  Many times the specific breed of cat or dog you are looking for may be at your local shelter or you may just fall in love with a pair of soulful puppy eyes.  In addition, with a little research you can find rescue groups that are just for certain breeds, such as Saint Bernard rescue.  With all the abandoned animals that live in shelters and need homes, it would be wonderful to give them the loving home that they deserve, especially during the holiday season.


There are so many animals that are in need of a caring and loving home.  The holidays are a wonderful time of year to bring a new pet into your home and family.  It is important as new owners to be prepared for the responsibility and care your new pet will require.  Before bringing home a new pet, please consider and be prepared for the years of care, attention, and love that they will need.  With the preparation and understanding of the care and responsibility a pet requires for his or her lifetime, a new pet can add nothing but happiness and love to your home for many years.  The best and most loving homes for animals are prepared homes. Your new pet will thank you with many years of fond memories, love, and devotion.   


Have a Happy Nerdel Holiday Season!


Written by:  Alison Birken, DVM


Posted in: Home,Your Pet with Dr. Birken