Ambassador Veterinary Hospital is a private veterinary clinic located in Union City, NJ. With over 75 years of continuous practice, our team of dedicated vets provides quality care to your furry best friend. During the holiday season, we have many people calling to inquire as to whether or not it is a good idea to gift their children a pet for Christmas. Parents are overjoyed by the thought of seeing their kids’ faces lit up when they come down the stairs and see their new puppy or kitten donning a big red bow under the tree. While this idea warms our heart just as much as the next, here are 6 rules from a professional vet to consider when gifting your child a pet this Christmas.
1. Consider your Child’s Age: Dogs and cats are ideal for children 10 and older, while very young children may fare better with a fish or small rodent. Very young children do not yet have the ability to read a dog or cat’s body language. They tend to grab tails or hug a little too tight and sometimes these interactions can set up a cycle of frustration on both parts.
2. Responsibility: Remember you’re giving the gift to your child, but this new pet will be yours too. Make sure you are you ready to take on the bulk of the responsibility for your child. This includes potty training, creating a feeding schedule, walking, playing, training and scheduling vet appointments.
3. Consider your Budget: Unless your child is much older (16+) the bulk of the expenses will come out of your pocket. Basic monthly pet expenses include flea, tick & heartworm medicine, vet bills, food, toys, bedding, leashes and collars, to name a few. Make sure you fully understand everything that comes with adopting an animal.
4. Avoid Impulse: Take the time to find the best match for your family. Consider whether a dog or a cat is better suited for your family’s lifestyle. Once you’ve decided create a list of qualities you want in a pet such as coat length, size and temperament, as well as the amount of grooming and exercise needed.
5. Invest in Training: Set your new puppy up for success by enrolling them in a puppy training course. These 6-week training sessions will teach pet owners crate and potty training, nipping, self-control and basic commands. Bring your child with you to these classes so they can learn all of these very important techniques.
6. Schedule a Veterinary Exam: Make sure your new furry friend starts life with a clean bill of health. Bring your puppy or kitten to Ambassador Veterinary Hospital in Union City, NJ for a full examination with vaccinations. While most shelters, rescue groups and breeders perform thorough exams prior to adoption, it is best to create a relationship with your veterinarian, who is trained to address healthcare. This is to ensure your new pet has a healthy start to life in your home.
The act of giving a pet as a gift to your child is thoughtful and shows you care enough to give the dog or cat the loving home it deserves. At Ambassador Veterinary Hospital, we want new pet owners to realize all of the responsibilities and care that come with adopting a new animal. If you follow our 6 tips to success, we believe you, your child and your pet will have a positive and lasting companionship for years to come. If you have questions about gifting a pet this Christmas, our professional vet techs are happy to speak with you in further detail. Call our Union City, NJ veterinary hospital during our normal business hours, or feel free to stop in!