As we enter into this unique holiday season we can’t forget one of the greatest gifts we’ll receive all year, and it’s not from whom you might think!  

There will not be any shopping, cooking or baking involved. There will not be any holiday card sending, or decorating. In fact, there will be no preparation involved at all because this gift is from your pet.  

While we’re stressed trying to figure how to get through this holiday season, our pets are doing what they do best…. giving us unconditional love all year long.  

From the time they come into our lives whether as a puppy, kitten or even an adult dog or cat they come to us with an amazing ability to ask very little from us and yet give us some of the greatest gifts of all.Holiday Cat with Christmas Lights  

Finding The Right Pet  

Bringing a pet into your life is a big decision. Finding the right pet for you and your family is essential for both your family and the pet. For many people that’s a dog and for some that’s a cat or even a bearded dragon or perhaps a guinea pig. No matter, these animals need us to thrive yet they teach us so much.  

Bring A Pet Home After The Holidays are Over  

Holiday Dog in Present Box in front of Christmas trees holiday’s may not always be the best time to adopt a new family member – our home and travel schedules are busy and we oftentimes don’t have the extra time that new pets require. Do you want to give an animal as a special gift to someone? Then wrap up a picture or a note card with your special gift and then bring your new pet home after the holidays when everyone has more time to spend with them. The first two weeks that your pet is home with you are very critical so make sure you give yourself the gift of time to make a successful transition.  

Here’s a great resource if you’re looking to bring an adult adopted dog into your home from Patricia McConnell.  

The Gift of Health  

Dogs, in particular, have proven to give us many health benefits including reduced allergies in children, increased socialization, reduced stress and heart health, increased exercise and of course, unconditional love.  

Dr James Gern, a physician and the University of Wisconsin- Madison has found that pets can reduce the childhood rate of developing allergies by 33% and it also boosts a child’s immune system.  

Taking your dog to positive training classes, on walks or to visit friends at a local café can all increase the opportunity for people to get out and meet other people and help build the human/canine bond. You know you’ll at least have something in common when you meet a new potential friend.  

Holiday Dogs in Santa hat and antlers with lightsThere are also heart healthy benefits including reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, better resting heart rates and overall reduced stress levels. Dogs and many cats tend to know when we’re stressed or not felling well and have an uncanny ability to be able to comfort us in times of need.  

Just getting outside and exercising is key. It might be doing agility with your dog or going on an afternoon walk through the woods or a great run in the park, you both benefit from that!  

Unconditional Love  

The biggest gift, however, is their unconditional love for their families. Who hasn’t had a perfectly crumby day only to come home to a pet whose greatest joy is seeing you walk through the door at the end of the day? We need to take time out to celebrate this love. While dogs might be a little more demonstrative with their love our cats are a bit subtler with their gift giving but just a brush up or a jump up on a lap can bring you back to a peaceful place.  

So as we’re rushing around this holiday season, take the time to celebrate and say thanks for all of the joy our pets bring us. It didn’t involve any elaborate preparation and it doesn’t matter what others are giving, it only matters that you’re the most important person in your pet’s world and that’s an amazing gift to receive.