pet day tease

PET DAY: How to keep your dog happy and content over the holidays. B5

The holidays are just around the corner and the vision of your loved one finding a furry friend under the Christmas tree can feel like the ultimate surprise.

However, giving pets as gifts is not considerate of the animals or the humans that are now responsible for their care.

Animals are complex social creatures that experience stress and confusion when adopted to a new family only to be returned days or even months later when it becomes clear that the commitment is too much.

While a family member or friend’s intentions may be thoughtful in surprising a loved one, the person receiving the living animal that they are now responsible for may not be prepared for the commitment.

Pets require love, attention, time, training, veterinary care, food, water, shelter, and financial resources.

Adopting a pet should be a well thought out decision by the person who wants to bring a new pet home. It should not be a well intentioned gift imposed by a family member or friend.

Already crowded shelters are often hit with an influx of dogs, cats, and other small animals given as gifts but surrendered when recipients realize that they require more care than they are able to give.

If you have been thinking of adopting a pet and your adoption day just happens to be around the holidays, there is nothing wrong with bringing your new pet home. Just make sure you consider that it takes time for your pet to adjust, and while you may want to take it home to be with you during the holidays, it may be best to wait until later if you intend on having family and friends over. That could create an overwhelming environment for your new family member.

Any time an animal goes to a new home there is an adjustment period where your pet is learning your behaviors and you are learning its. It can take a few days or even months for your pet to settle in and realize that it is safe and secure.

Bond-building with humans is essential to providing this sense of security. The hustle of the holidays can leave a new pet feeling stressed and confused.

If you’re going to have a full house for the holidays, set your pet up for success and wait until they’re over to bring your furry friend home.

Kristina O’Keefe of North Attleboro blogs at to promote the status of animals in society.

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