New Pet Gifts: 10 Things To Make Having a New Pet Less Stressful
No matter how many times you've done it, getting a new pet can be a stressful experience. Whether you're adopting a brand new puppy or an elderly cat, being prepared can help ease some of the anxiety that occurs around any major life change like this. To help, we've created a list with what we think are the top 10 things that you can either gift yourself or someone close to you to make having a new pet just a little less stressful. Trust us on this one.
#1) A Pet Crate
While this may be a controversial entry for some people, at least having the option of a crate is incredibly helpful. Most experts suggest that the sooner you work on crate training your puppy, the better. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to purchasing a dog crate. According to the American Kennel Club, crate training will likely take around six months. However, it is really only the first few nights that are the most heart wrenching.
Choose the right crate, give yourself a lot of grace and understanding, and use positive reinforcement. In the end, having a crate-trained dog will be the ultimate reward.
#2) Coffee Gift Cards
As much as we wish that new pets would just immediately and seamlessly become a part of our family, the truth is that it can be a difficult transition. This is true not only for us, but also for our pets. In the beginning, there are likely to be a lot of sleepless nights as everyone adjusts to the new arrival, and the new arrival adjusts to his or her new home.
This adjustment period can be really rough, especially for people who still have to go to work in the morning. Lack of sleep can have some pretty shocking negative health effects, as well. To help counteract this, coffee gift cards are one of the nicest gifts you can give to a new pet owner. They'll likely need it to survive the first few weeks.
#3) New Food and Water Bowls
Even if you have existing pets in the household, it's a good idea to invest in new food and water bowls for your new pet. Many pets have a tendency to become more guarded and possessive of their things when a new pet enters the house. To help reduce the likelihood of a fight and to start out on the right food, get your new pet their own food and water bowls.
If you're adopting a pet for the first time after experiencing the loss of another pet, although it may be tempting, don't reuse their food and water bowls. Not only do they begin to accumulate bacteria over time (especially the plastic ones), they're likely a lot more emotionally tied to your previous pet than you think. Your new pet is his or her own unique animal and they deserve to start out fresh.
#4) Pet Insurance
While not a classical "gift" in the sense that it's exciting to open, pet insurance is one of the best things that you can do for a new pet. With the increased popularity of pet insurance, many car and home insurance companies are also getting on board. Places like Allstate and Progressive, as well as companies that only sell pet insurance, offer plans that cover both dogs and cats.
While every plan differs, there are three common types of pet insurance plans available - comprehensive, accident only, and wellness. Every little bit helps with both the expected and unexpected veterinary costs that come along with adopting a new pet. It's a great idea to get a policy in place quickly, as many have exceptions for pets with underlying conditions.
#5) Fun Gifts
If you have one of those overly prepared friends and they've just adopted a new pet, they likely already thought about and purchased most of the necessary supplies long before their pet came home.
This is where the fun comes in! Instead of purchasing something practical, consider gifting them a piece of art for their home, featuring their new pet. Crown & Paw's options are nearly endless, and are customizable to fit each person's (or pet's) specific personality. There are also pet painting phone cases, and Crown & Paw gift cards if you're unsure which outfit they would want to pick for their new pet. It will become a family heirloom that lasts for years and years to come, guaranteed.
#6) New Toys
Similar to the reasons you should always purchase your new pet their own food and water bowls, new toys are an absolute essential. Existing pets in the household are likely to get very protective about their toys, so picking out new ones just for your new pet can be a lifesaver.
You'll be surprised at how quickly your new pet will go through toys, too. It's good to have a few on backup for those middle of the night playfests. You won't want to get stuck with a playful pet and nothing for them to play with. That's how they get in trouble. Keep them occupied by engaging both their minds and their bodies with new toys, which will also wear them out quicker so they're likely to sleep easier as well.
#7) ID Tags
While collars and leashes are often one of the first things that new pet owners pick up, many forget about the most important part: the ID tag.
More and more, cats and dogs are coming home with a microchip already inserted. While that does work wonders for getting a pet home in the event they get out and get lost, it is also reliant on your pet getting to a place that has that specific chip reader.
To be even safer, make sure that you have an ID tag on your pet's collar with your name and phone number so you're easy to reach if they somehow go out exploring on their own.
#8) Training Treats and Tools
Another less thought-of pet gift that you can either give yourself or someone else is a training tool and treats. It's never too early to start training your new pet, and it's nice to have the tools already around to do it when the opportunity arises.
One of the most popular training tools is the "clicker." When combined with small, easy to chew treats used to positively reinforce behavior, the clicker gives a recognizable sound that your pet will understand as a "good" noise. Start with easy tricks like "sit" and "stay" and move on from there.
#9) Training Classes
Training classes also make a great gift for a new pet owner. Many training facilities offer what they call "Puppy 101" classes, where new pet owners can come, socialize their pet, and learn more about how to train, reward, exercise, and generally act around their new puppy. More experienced pet owners may not benefit, but new ones certainly will. And it's likely not something that they've thought of themselves, so puppy classes make the perfect gift.
#10) Your Time
One of the best gifts you can give a new pet owner doesn't even cost anything--your time. The first few weeks and months of new pet ownership can be incredibly tricky, so offer your support and ear. They likely will never ask for help, so being around to offer to puppy-sit or just listen while they vent is the gift that keeps on giving.
Whether you are getting a new puppy yourself or you're looking for a gift to give someone who recently welcomed a new pet into their home, aim for giving something that has a real benefit. In most cases, the new pet owner has already purchased most of the basic supplies themselves. Giving a gift they may not know they need, or giving yourself permission to give yourself those gifts, can be make or break when it comes to the stress level any new pet elicits. Hang in there! It gets easier and it's oh so worth it!