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GardenSMART :: Pet’s Corner: A Pet is for Life, Not Just for Christmas!

Pet’s Corner: A Pet is for Life, Not Just for Christmas!

Preparing your pack for a new furry friend
By Dr. Jules Benson, Petplan pet insurance Chief Veterinary Medical Officer

For many, a little puppy with a big red bow tops their list of gifts to find under the Christmas tree. But how can you be sure a new pet will fit in forever? Before you surprise your family with a new pet for the holidays, do some planning to ensure your house will always be their home.


Photo credit: Shutterstock

Surprising the family with a new pet can be troublesome because there’s not time to adequately prepare. It’s crucial that everyone in the family meets a potential new pack member before making a commitment, and it’s also important to stock up on supplies and pet-proof the space before bringing your new friend home. A pet doesn’t have to be unexpected to make a wonderful gift – in fact, the excitement of preparing can be just as fun for the family.

If you plan on celebrating the season with a new four-legged friend, brush up on these basics of what to expect when you’re expecting a puppy or kitten:


Photo credit: iStock

Dig for Details

Choosing a pet compatible with the family’s lifestyle can play a large part in whether he or she makes a successful transition. Consider the size of your space, how often someone is home and whether a plucky playmate or calm cuddle buddy will be a natural fit. Also think about how much grooming a potential pet needs, what to do with the pet when you travel and how much training the family can provide before picking a winner.

Supply and Demand

Think ahead about all the “extras” that come with the territory of pet parenting, and stock up on supplies before you bring your bundle of joy home. Get a bed, litter, a leash, toys, treats, grooming tools, food and water dishes, a crate or carrier, a collar and ID tag and other necessities. You can never be too prepared!

Burden of Proof

If there’s one thing new pets have a knack for, it’s sniffing out every square inch of your home. Pet-proof areas like the kitchen, garage, laundry room and garden, where common household toxins can lie within paws’ reach. Invest in locking-lid trash cans to keep roving noses out of trouble (especially important with all of the tempting holiday goodies around!).

All About Baby

You can’t always know what to expect when you’re expecting a new pet, so brush up on the basics of puppy and kitten care. Learn about the feeding, grooming and exercise your pet’s breed requires, and tackle a few beginner training manuals to make sure you get off on the right foot (or paw). Even if you’ve had pets in the past, it’s a good idea to do your homework; veterinarian recommendations for standards of care may have changed in the meantime!

Bill of Health

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to ensure a long life together is to provide for your pet’s essential health needs. Find a veterinarian and go for a checkup right away, then get a pet insurance policy that will pay for illnesses and injuries. The last thing you want is to have to give up your precious kitty or pup because you can’t afford an unexpected vet bill.

A new home with loving people is one of the most wonderful gifts to give a pet – and a best friend for life is priceless for a family. With a little planning and preparation, the whole pack can be happy and healthy for years to come.

If you are planning on adopting a pet this season, be sure to check out Petplan’s puppy guide:  

Want 100% protection every day of the year? Sign up for Petplan online and get a 5% discount on your policy! Visit to get started.

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