When is it the right time for a new puppy or kitten?

My response is there may never be a right time to bring home a puppy or kitten, only the right reasons.

What do I mean by right reasons? Well here are some examples of the wrong reasons to get a puppy or kitten:

  1. My child’s birthday is coming up and he or she is nagging me to get a puppy/kitten.

Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful for children to grow up with pets. However be sure that you are ready for the responsibility of caring for a puppy or kitten, because let’s be honest most children need to be reminded to brush their own teeth, let alone the dog’s teeth. If your reason for getting a pet is so that your children can grow up with them in your home, make sure the whole family is on board with taking care of this dog or cat for between 12 – 15 years (even longer).

  1. It’s Christmas and I want to surprise my boyfriend/girlfriend with an adorable fluff ball!

Getting a pet as a gift for Christmas is never a good reason for getting any puppy or kitten. Firstly, the person who you are surprising this puppy with, is not aware of the costs or responsibilities of owning a pet. Regardless of the circumstances, bringing home a new puppy or kitten should be a decision made by both parties and taken with a lot of thought for the future.

  1. The neighbour’s cat had kittens and they are offering me one for free!

Why shouldn’t you help out your neighbour whose cat or dog had an “oops” litter? Well in the first place their pets’ should have been sterilised and then they would not be in the position of trying to find homes for kittens or puppies they were not prepared for. Additionally have the kittens or puppies been vaccinated and dewormed? It is critical that in the 1st months of life these animals be protected from deadly diseases such as parvo virus, distemper, rabies, cat influenza, and more. In essence, free to good home may actually cost you a great deal of money in vet bills.

  1. There has been some crime in the area and I want a big, scary guard dog to look after my property.

There are many reasons for wanting to own a pet, specifically a big scary guard dog. However if the only reason is for the protection of your property, then I suggest investing in a good security system and armed response company. A dog that is part of your family, especially breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Boereboels make excellent guarding dogs, but so do Poodles and Dachshunds. The purpose for having pets is to be part of the family, the early warning alarm system is only an added bonus. Sadly in this country, many dogs are poisoned every year because they are seen as the “security” on the property. Pet’s should not be sacrificed in the name of your property’s protection.

In conclusion,

No matter what time you decide to bring home a new puppy or kitten, as long as the reasons are right, things will work out the way they should. My reasons for getting a puppy or kitten are:

  • Wanting to share my life with these amazing canines or felines.

  • Spending quality time playing silly games and going on long walks.

  • Experiencing the joy and laughter pets bring to our lives.

  • My children growing up with a dog or cat in our home and learning the responsibilities of caring for something other than yourself.

  • Accepting that no matter what the costs, my pet is part of the family and deserves the best nutrition, veterinary care and should be spoiled on a regular basis!

 

Candice Segal
Pet Care Advisor
Orange Grove Vet

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