Gift pets come with responsibilities

An adorable little kitten or puppy can be a delightful, heartwarming Christmas gift, promising to bring both the gift bearer

Puppies and kittens or even full-grown cats such as the one being held by Dr. Stacey White from the Bluffton Veterinary Services

Puppies and kittens or even full-grown cats such as the one being held by Dr. Stacey White from the Bluffton Veterinary Services

An adorable little kitten or puppy can be a delightful, heartwarming Christmas gift, promising to bring both the gift bearer and the receiver a warm, fuzzy feeling that inevitably comes with such a present.

However, people who received a pet for Christmas need to remember such a gift brings with it responsibility and rules that need to be adhered to for their pet to remain healthy and happy.

Dr. Stacey White from Bluffton Veterinary Services said puppies and kittens are the type of pets commonly received as Christmas gifts.

The veterinarian generally discourages giving pets as gifts. However, if it does happen there are rules that need to be followed if the owner wishes to keep their new pet healthy and happy.

“First of all get as much information as you possibly can. The health history of the pet; what it has been fed, the breeds of the parents, all of this is important to know.”

White said clients may bring their pets into the veterinarian clinic without this knowledge and the veterinarian will have to start from scratch to treat the patient.

All pets need to be vaccinated against various diseases and dewormed against parasites. If no record is available, vaccinations may have to be repeated.

“We prefer not to repeat vaccinations if we can help it, but it is much safer to repeat one than to go without,” he said. “Parasites need to be taken of as they can spread to humans as well.”

Veterinarians can usually approximate the age of a young animal, he added.

Bringing a new pet to the vet is also important so as to receive guidance regarding grooming, training and nutrition.

He said many people don’t realize pet health insurance is available. Information about coverage and companies is available on line or through veterinary clinics, he added.

Anyone giving a pet as a gift needs to give consideration to making a good match, said White.

“Sometimes people get a little more than they have bargained for. You need to be sure the breed matches the owner. For instance, a big, gregarious puppy might not match up well with young families or seniors. You need to be prepared and chose the pet with care.”