Things to consider before buying a new pet for Christmas

Published: Dec. 21, 2015 at 5:49 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2015 at 9:39 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - There's no better sound than the joy and laughter of children when they get that one gift they really wanted.

To help you make sure that excitement doesn't turn to frustration, Kara Duffy, D.V.M. at Atlantic Animal Hospital says you should do some puppy proofing.

Pick up things like shoes, clothes, remote controls, even cable or electrical cords are attractive.

"Keep in mind a new dog isn't going to know the rules and especially puppies they get into all sorts of things," Duffy explained.

Potty training always seems to be a big challenge, and buying a crate may be worth the investment.

"You just want to make sure the crate is large enough that the dog can turn around and comfortably lay down, but not so large that they have room to basically use the bathroom in one end of the crate and then go sleep on the other side," Duffy said. "Dogs instinctively don't want to go to the bathroom in their nice comfy little crate where they're sleeping."

Another big challenge is leaving your new puppy or even a new dog home alone so you don't come home to a disaster.

"Make sure that when you aren't at home or when you're asleep the puppy has, or even an adult dog, has either a crate or kind of an enclosed area that's their own that's going to be free of anything they can chew on or get into," Duffy explained.

You should also keep your puppy or new dog on a schedule for meals, walks , and bedtime. They will bond with you very quickly but need to know they are loved and will be taken care of.

You will also want to have your pet checked out by a local vet. There are important vaccinations and health check ups you should be prepared to pay for.

If you are still thinking about getting a pet please consider a shelter animal.

Either way the biggest thing to remember is a pet will give you unconditional love and they deserve a commitment.

"A puppy or a pet is a wonderful gift to get, but it comes with a lot of responsibility," Duffy added. "You need to be prepared for that and be ready to make that commitment to an animal because it's really not fair to the animal to be brought into an environment that's not going to be a permanent and stable environment."

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