You’ve done your research. You’ve scoured the shelters. Now you’ve found the perfect pet to surprise a family member with this holiday season. What could go wrong?

The Domain

Well, for one thing, the chaos of the holidays could scare the new dog or cat and create trouble right from the start. So, before you decide to bring a pet into your home during this busy time of year, make sure you are prepared to give him the proper pampering so he feels safe and right at home.

For a dog, that safety net just might be a crate. If you are planning on crating your newest family member, take comfort into consideration.

The Planet Petco Natural Wood Crate ($119.00-149.99), available at Petco, is a comfortable and attractive choice. The dark wood fits into many decors, doubling its function as an end table or nightstand, as well as a safe haven for your new pet.

At the very least, you want to make sure your dog or cat has his or her own special place to sleep. The variety of pet beds and blankets can transform any place in your house into your pet’s ultra-comfy boudoir.

Consider the plush Precision Pet SnooZZy Sleeper Natural Crate Mat ($7.99-$39.99), also available at Petco. Or, for a step up in the comfort department, the Precision Pet SnooZZy Black Cozy Comforter Crate Mat ($22.99-$59.99). This mat is sounds so comfy, you might find your kids cuddled up in Fido’s bed! The crate mats can be used, even if you don’t have a crate. They soften any surface where your pup wants to bed down.

Kitties need a place to call their own as well. While dogs tend to be ‘cave dwellers,’ cats prefer lofty lounging. Cats are also territorial, so it is important they have a place they can put their claim to. The best way to make your new cat feel at home is to give her her own room…at least for the first few days. Confining her may not seem like the right way to welcome her into the family, but it really will help her adapt to her new home.

Of course, she will need a fresh new litter box, food and water, and a comfy place to curl up. Cats love boxes, so place one in the room and see if that’s where your new kitty decides to bed down. And, as mentioned, give your cat a higher ‘perch’ to satisfy her lofty aspirations.

A carpeted or sisal rope climbing ‘tree’ provides perfect pampering for your new pet. offers a wide variety of Cat Trees, Towers, Playgrounds and Beds for prices ranging from around $30 to close to $900!

Other ways to pamper your new pet over the holidays and beyond…

  • Toys – Both cats and dogs need a selection of toys to keep them occupied, active and to help prevent boredom-related behavioral issues. Drs. Foster and Smithoffer a whole slew of toys designed to keep pets stimulated and happy.For cats, you can opt for simple furry play mice or small crinkly balls or more advanced interactive toys like the Booda Balance Ball Cat Toy($12.99).Dogs like toys they can chew on, so be careful to choose toys they can’t choke on. Always buy toys specifically made for dogs, like Pro Action Dental Chew ($8.99-$16.99). Dogs also enjoy tossing around stuffed toys. The Squeak N Grunters Dog Toys ($17.99) come in a menagerie of animal shapes designed for pampered playtime.
  • Clothing  – Of course, this category is limited to dogs, as most cats will feel neither pampered nor pleased when wearing anything more than a collar! Keeping your pups tootsies warm and dry as they head outside on a snowy evening is easy with a set of boots. Check out the stylish boots and socks at Aside from warming their paws, the selection of doggie sweaters and coats is almost overwhelming. Head over to your local pet store to see which style fits your pup’s needs.
  • Palate – Yes, there are right and wrong ways to pamper your pet’s palate. While the Christmas ham might entice your dog or cat, keep it on your plate. If you want to treat your new pet, stick to special goodies made for them, such as Frosty Paws ice cream for dogs or Catsip Lactose-free Milk for cats.

Pet stores are filled with holiday-themed pampering pet products. But what your new dog or cat really needs can’t be bought. They need security, shelter, and a large dose of what they give to you … unconditional love. So pamper them a little with the things you can buy, and then pamper them a whole lot more with the things you can’t. Priceless!