Things to consider before getting a kitten or puppy this Christmas

Published: Friday 16th December 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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If a puppy or kitten is at the top of your wish list, you should take a few things into account before bringing one into your home.

Adopting your first pet can be a little daunting, so we’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you along the way. We spoke with RSPCA Hull to get some expert advice:

“Owning a pet can be a wonderful thing for families. However, it is extremely important that you consider very carefully the implications and responsibilities, and that in reality, it can change your whole life.”

The RSPCA rescued a total of 211 abandoned animals across the UK in the two weeks between Christmas Eve 2014 and Wednesday 7 January 2015. To prevent this from being repeated, they advise you to think very carefully before getting a pet for yourself or someone else:

“Make sure the animal will be looked after for its whole life (the next 10-20 years), not just at Christmastime. Factors to consider include daily grooming, feeding and exercise, plus ongoing costs such as vet bills and insurance fees.”

Preparing your home

Firstly, make sure that you can provide lots of space for your kitten or puppy to play:

“All animals, even small ones, need exercise and somewhere they can rest undisturbed. So have a think about whether you have space in your house and, if applicable, car. If you are considering getting a dog, make sure there are suitable places you can take it for regular exercise.”

Puppies and dogs require stimulation, so you need to purchase fun toys and chews to keep them entertained. For cats, include a litter tray, scratching post and plenty of places to climb.

To help the pet feel safe and in familiar surroundings within the first few weeks, take a blanket from its original home or shelter. It may also be a good idea to pop a warm (not hot) water bottle underneath a blanket in the kitten or puppy’s bed, which will compensate for the absence of a mother or littermates.

Ensure that there are no hazards

All nooks and crannies need to be blocked off. Kittens especially are extremely inquisitive and can get themselves stuck. Things that we would consider harmless, including human medications and contraceptives, pesticides, houseplants, alcohol and tobacco, can be fatal for dogs and cats.

For a list of items that can poison dogs, please visit the RSPCA website. For a list of household objects that can harm cats, please go here.

Find a vet

All pets need to be registered with a veterinary practice. This is somewhere you can take your animal for routine check-ups and access emergency treatment. All surgeons must be registered by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, a list of which can be found here.

It is so important to register your puppy or kitten with a vet as soon as you bring them home. If an animal that you are responsible for is suffering or in pain, you are required under the Animal Welfare Act to take them to a vet.

Get pet insurance

When choosing pet insurance, you must know that you’ve got the cover that you need in order to protect the wellbeing and health of your cat or dog. If your pet gets ill or into an accident, vet fees and bills can soon rack up.

If you can’t afford to keep up with the charges, your pet will suffer and you will be held responsible. Check out price comparison sites such as CompareTheMarket and MoneySuperMarket to get the best deal.


The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, with routines going out the window and little time getting put aside to look after pets.

“Decorations, music and extra guests are all part of the fun for us humans,” adds the RSPCA. “But sometimes these additions to daily life and changes to routine can be extremely stressful for pets.”

The RSPCA urges those looking to adopt a pet this Christmas to rehome one of the thousands of animals waiting for their perfect family. You can find your local branch down Clough Road in Hull (opposite Dunelm) and call them on 01482 341331.

Oakwood Dog Rescue on Sutton Fields Industrial Estate also has pooches looking for new homes. Nicola Hardy, Rescue Manager, says:

“People buy or adopt a dog with the best intentions, but they do not always consider the future. They may have a child, change jobs, or the relationship breaks down and they no longer feel able to care for their dog.”

“It’s really important to consider the future, because a dog is for life, not until life changes.”

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Published: Friday 16th December 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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