(WWL – New Orleans)
It’s a trend that is showing no signs of slowing, as the American Pets Products Association is projecting this to be another banner year for pet gifts.
Over half of all dog owners plan to gift this year according to the APPA and 38% of cat owners plan to give at least a little something to their pet.
But now, more of us are also giving gifts to other people’s pets.
“We’re seeing a big increase in people coming into Petcetra and buying gift baskets for that hard to buy-for person, or a boss or a business associate, because it’s much more fun than giving them a basket of fruit,” says Petcetra owner Diane Lundeen. “A lot of people love their animals and their animals are their family. So buying your boss a pet-related gift is a really great way to check off that Christmas present and to get your boss something your boss will love and remember.”
At the local Petcos, ugly Christmas sweaters for dogs is a new trend. “The ugly holiday sweater, which you’ve seen become more popular for people, now they’re starting to come out with that for pets. That’s been pretty popular this year,” says manager Denis Breaud.
And he says people aren’t holding back this year from spending on their pets. “People want to treat their pets just like they do there families, their children. Especially once the kids go off to college, and people are getting dogs and cats and other pets. And they’re treating them more like they’re family members.”
The First Family walking Bo on the White House lawn after he was introduced to the public.
· Say No to Puppy Mills: According to The Humane Society of the United States, about 25% of all dogs and cats surrendered to shelters are purebreds. The effects of having a family pet have shown to help mental and physical health, so take the time to research local shelters and find the perfect companion for your family before purchasing from a Pet store this holiday season.
· Age-Old Wisdom: Be sure your new pet correlates with the ages of those in the household. A good rule of thumb: the new pet should fit the current physical capabilities of the caretakers with a perspective for what the next 10-15 years will bring.
o It is not advised to bring a pet five months or younger, or toy-sized, into a home with young children. As young pets like to teethe and play, a young child may risk being bitten by a playful pet or may accidentally injure a toy-sized pet. A better choice for a household with young children is a medium-to-large sized pet over five months of age.
o If there are elderly members in a household, a strong vigorous adolescent pet is not advised. Large breeds also demand more physical upkeep, something that an older person may no longer be fit for.
· Establish the Primary Caretaker: As most families are extremely busy, figuring out who will take care of the new family pet while the others are working, at school or away is a key point to consider. The best decision to make before buying a new pet is to designate a primary caretaker who will be responsible for it when the fray of life picks up.
· A Gift for the Whole Family: Although it is exciting to surprise the family with a new pet for the holidays, the best approach is to bring the family to meet the candidate and gauge how they all interact. Do some research and poll each family member to find out what they are looking for in a new pet so that the pet you choose aligns with the circumstances of the household.
· The Price of a New Pet – Money: A new pet can go for “free-to-a-good-home” to several thousand dollars. A budget must be set not only for the upfront cost of taking the pet home, but also for immediate follow-up costs like veterinary check-ups, a training crate and pet obedience classes. Also keep in mind that your pet will need to be fed and groomed and will also need chew toys and additional supplies like food bowls, a dog bed, brushes, leashes, etc. Also keep in mind the necessary chunk of money needed for veterinary emergencies.
· The Price of a New Pet – Time & Energy: A new pet will cost the family by ways of time and energy. Various breeds and ages will make different demands, requiring more time in training and daily exercise than others. Any pet will require exercise, training and supervision and any age pet will require commitment from the family to establish house rules and routines.
To truly pet-proof your home, you should start by getting down on the floor to see the world the way your pet sees it. This is the best way to spot potential hazards.
Treat your Pet like you would a Child: Active puppies can easily get into dangerous situations. Consider investing in child-proof locks for cabinets. Use child-safety gates in areas with valuables to prevent your pet from getting into trouble.
Take the Bite out of the Chew: Dogs have the tendency to chew on furniture and shoes. Spray pet-friendly lemon or bitter apple scents on items to avoid further chewing problems.
Take Caution with Wires: Pets can easily injure themselves or destroy delicate electronics. Consider installing electric cord shorteners on television, phone, and computer cords, outlet covers in wall sockets and window cord safety locks.
Keep Curtains in Check: Tie curtains and be wary of blinds – they can easily strangle a pet.
Avoid Household plants: Believe it or not, plants can be poisonous for pets; many common plants that are indigenous to the United States are deadly to animals.
Utilize a Sofa Cover: To avoid fur on your loveseat, use a seat cover. Sure Fit offers pet covers that are great for the home and car that are also hypoallergenic.
Hide the Trash Can: A hyper puppy can easily knock over a trash can and spread garbage and bacteria throughout your home.
Be Careful with the Fruit Basket: Even though fruits are an important part of the human diet, grapes (and raisins) are actually deadly for dogs.