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Giving Pets As Christmas Gifts, Is It Really So Bad?

When I was a kid, I could think of no greater Christmas present than a pet.  It could be any pet, a dog, cat, bird, guinea pig, fish, or hamster, didn’t matter to me.  My parents on the other hand did not think giving pets as Christmas gifts was a good idea.  I had a lot of disappointing Christmases when under the tree was a stuffed lion rather than a fuzzy puppy.

Many families  love the idea of surprising their children or spouse on Christmas with a cute little puppy or kitten. Oh the faces full of love and the little pup running around licking everyone  or the kitten chasing after all the Christmas ribbons.  The new addition brings such excitement and joy.  It’s hard to resist.

That excitement quickly ends with the festivities and that cute little furry family member becomes a nuisance rather than a loving companion, often ending in the shelter a few months after the holiday.

Giving pets as Christmas gifts, is it really so bad?
Giving Pets As Christmas Gifts

Most times people who get pets or give pets for Christmas are caught up in the moment.  There is not enough thought beforehand of what is required to properly care for the pet. They love the idea of the surprise and who doesn’t think a pup or kitten wrapped up in a bow under the tree isn’t the most adorable sight?

Pets require a lot of time. They need to fit in with your lifestyle.  Not only do they need food, water, and training, they need your attention.  They want to be with you.

If you are considering a pet for Christmas, ask yourself these questions?

  • Why do I want a pet?
  • Do I have time for a pet?
  • Can I afford the food and veterinary bills to care for a pet?
  • Who will take care of the pet?
  • What will I do with the pet when I want to go away?
  • Do I plan on keeping this pet for life?

If for any reason you cannot be committed to properly caring for and keeping a pet for its lifetime, please do not get one.  Too many pets end up in the shelter especially after Christmas.  A pet should be a family member for life.

Have you ever gotten or given a pet as a Christmas present?





Top 3 Toxic Christmas Plants for Pets

It’s that joyous time of year when we pull out all those Christmas decorations and adorn our home for the holidays.  The Christmas tree, bright and glowing with our favorite ornaments and the holiday plants bring the spirit of the holidays inside.

Although we love the festive décor, it is best to avoid these top 3 toxic Christmas plants for pets.


Top 3 toxic christmas plants for pets


Top 3 Toxic Christmas Plants for Pets 

Poinsettia Plant

The poinsettia plant is believed by many to be extremely toxic to your pets but that really is an urban legend per Veterinary Medicine.  The sap from the brightly colored leaves can be irritating and can cause nausea and vomiting. To be poisonous, large amounts of this plant would have to be ingested. It’s always safest however, to go with artificial.

Holly and Mistletoe 

Holly and mistletoe are more toxic than the poinsettia. The toxicity for these plants can range from moderate to severe. Ingesting large amounts of the leaves or berries can cause upset stomach, vomiting, or even death.  Pet Med advises that these plants be completely out of reach for pets.

Christmas Trees

The Christmas tree oils are mildly toxic causing irritable stomach and vomiting.  Pets love to munch on the branches but the needles are dangerous to pets. Pine needles can cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction or puncture.


Keep your pets safe during the holidays by watching them around holiday plants and decorations.  To be completely safe, replace live Christmas plants by using artificial plants instead.  If you are uncertain if a plant is toxic to your pet, you can look it up on the ASPCA.  Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet has ingested any of these toxic plants.  Poison control experts are on hand 24/7 at the ASPCA poison control center at (888) 426-4435.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!



Pet Sitter or Kennel, Which Is Best For My Pet?

Pet Sitter or Kennel, Which Is Best For My Pet?


Pets can’t always be with us and go where we go so we must arrange pet care for those times when the pet must stay behind.  Most people rely on pet sitters or kennels but every pet is different and while one option may be a good fit for Fluffy it can be very stressful for Fido .

Here are some guidelines on when to choose a pet sitter and when to choose a kennel.Pet Sitter or Kennel

Pet Sitter

  • You have cats.  Cats prefer to stay at home.  Transporting cats is very stressful for you and the cat.  Cats are not too keen on new environments.
  • Multiple pets reside in your home.  It is often less expensive and easier to keep multiple pets at home.
  • Your pet is a senior. Senior pets prefer the comfort of their own home. They are less mobile and adaptable and transporting them may be a challenge.
  • The pet is crated.  A pet sitter should be used if you are gone for 8  or more  hours in a day to let the pet stretch and potty.  This is not an option if you will be away more than a 24 hour period.
  • Pet is timid or frightens easily. These type of pets are best cared for in their own home environment.  The stresses of an unfamiliar environment, other dogs barking, and different surroundings are too scary for them.


  • Puppies.  Puppies need more interaction and outside potty time.  Puppies also tend to get into more mischiefPet sitter for puppies so it is recommended that they be cared for in a secure facility with more access to go outdoors.
  • Aggressive Dogs.  It is best for aggressive dogs to be cared for at a kennel so there is no risk for injury to the dog or pet care giver.
  • Destructive Dogs. Kennels are a better fit for destructive dogs or dogs that become bored when no one is around.  The last thing you want to come home to from a trip is your cushions, rugs, and bed are shredded to pieces.
  • Crated dogs.  If you are going away for an extended period and your dog must be crated the entire time, then it is best to use a kennel.  It is not fair to your dog to keep it crated for 22 out of 24 hours. The dog will get anxious and stressed being caged for too long.
  • Pets with serious medical needs. A pet with serious medical needs would be best cared for  being boarded or kenneled with your veterinarian so they are monitored.

When choosing a pet sitter or kennel, consider your pet and their needs as well as which will be the least stressful environment for them. The main focus should be on keeping the pet safe, cared for, and comfortable while you are away.  No matter which you choose, always ask friends, relatives, or your veterinarian office for referrals.


When It’s Time to Fire the Family and Hire a Professional Pet Sitter – True Stories!


When It’s Time to Fire the Family and


Hire a Professional Pet Sitter 


True Stories


We love our families but they really aren’t always the best at taking care of our pets while we are away.

Here are just a few of the stories of why some pet owners had to fire family members and hire a professional pet sitter.

(All dogs will be called Scruffy and all cats Fluffy to protect those pet loving families)Hire a professional pet sitter

  • Mom called to see if she had to walk across the street to our house to let all 3 Scruffys out because it was raining.  Would they be ok without going out to potty for the night?


  • Came home from vacation and noticed the newspaper still in the driveway. Scruffy had accidents all over the house.  My aunt was caring for Scruffy but did not come by on the last day since she was very sick and knew  we were coming home later that night.


  • My mother who lives with us was caring for the cats and let Fluffy outside.  Kept asking mom if she went out to look for her or called her at night and mom kept forgetting. Fluffy was outside for 8 days and didn’t come back until after we returned from our trip.


  • Mom and Dad were keeping Scruffy at their house and Scruffy being a puppy chewed up moms shoes, carpet, and woodwork. Mom not happy.


  • Our nephew was caring for the Fluffys but did not scoop the litter boxes for 10 days and Fluffys started going outside litter boxes.


  • Dad stayed at our place to care for Scruffy but he gave Scruffy table food. Scruffy has a sensitive tummy and had quite a few accidents from both ends. Carpets look a mess.


  • Sister was going to care for the Fluffys and Scruffys but husband got scheduled for a business trip and she wanted to go so could no longer care for the pets.


  • Teenage niece was spending the night with the Scruffys and Fluffys.  She had several friends stay with her and they stayed up all night but slept all the next day not feeding pets in the morning or getting the Scruffys outside.


  • Mom was letting the rambunctious Scruffys out and they knocked her down.  She wasn’t hurt this time but is now afraid to watch the Scruffys.

Your family means well and they love your pets but let a professional pet sitter care for your pets while you are away. It will relieve a lot of stress and burden and you can enjoy your time away with peace of mind knowing your pets are with an experienced pet sitter.

Have you ever had to fire your family from caring for your pets? 



Tips for Scheduling a Pet Sitter for the Holidays

Holidays are a time of celebration with with family and friends and sometimes require travel to visit those loved ones.  Pets aren’t always able to go too.  Everyone knows holidays sneak up fast and often times booking a pet sitter is over looked until last minute.

To help make sure your pets are cared for while you enjoy time with the people you love, here are some tips for scheduling a pet sitter for the holidays.

Tips For Scheduling a Pet Sitter for the Holidays


Tips for Scheduling a Pet Sitter for the Holidays!


  • Contact your pet sitter as soon as you know your plans to be away. Holidays book up quickly and pet sitters have limited availability. This is to ensure that each pet receives adequate time and care.


  • Expect to pay extra for the major holidays. Most pet sitters charge an additional fee for the major holidays.  It can be a per visit charge or a per day charge. Most holidays included are;  New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.


  • Provide a trusted neighbor with a key and ask they be available in case of inclement weather.  We can’t predict the weather especially over the holidays.   When severe weather hits it is difficult and dangerous navigating on the roads. Pet sitter schedules may be slightly off due to longer commute times.  There may be a state of emergency if the weather is too severe. It is always recommended to have someone in walking distance to check on the pets.


  • Hire a professional pet sitter.  When you hire a professional pet sitter for the holidays, you can be sure they will be there for the scheduled service. They will not back out last minute leaving you stuck and scrambling to find someone  days before you are ready to leave.


  • Wait till last minute to schedule a pet sitter for the holidays. What is last minute?  It can vary but most pet sitters book for the holidays at least a month or more in advance.  Chances are if you are trying to schedule the week before, your pet sitter will not be available.


  • Expect your pet sitter to try to squeeze you in even if you are a long standing client.  Your pet sitter feels bad saying no but there are only so many visits they can personally fit in during a day and still provide your pet with great care.  Offering  to pay double does not open up those spots and it is not fair to existing clients who booked early.


Holidays are to be enjoyed with those you love. Follow these tips to secure your holiday pet sitter for your pets and enjoy  a stress free holiday with your loved ones.  Remember too, pet sitters like some time with their family over the holidays so please be respectful of their time.

Have you ever had to scramble last minute finding a pet sitter for the holidays?  What happened and what did you do with your pets?