CARROLLTON, Texas, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- With the holiday shopping season well underway, many people are likely thinking of giving a puppy or a kitten as a gift. While pets can be truly wonderful gifts, there are several questions that one should ask before making the decision to purchase a pet. Motel 6, which has been pet-friendly since its founding in 1962, partnered with Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, to provide 6 valuable tips for giving a pet as a gift this season. * Determine whether a dog or cat would best fit your lifestyle. Dogs are companions, coworkers, protectors, therapists, healers, buddies; and they're part of the family in one-third of all American households. On the other hand, cats do not perceive owners as "masters," but think of them more in way teenagers think of parents. Cats will snuggle up to you when they're feeling cuddly or want something, usually attention. * Consider how much time you have to spend with the pet. Cats are independent creatures, but they do require veterinary care. However, dogs need a lot of time from their owner -- for socializing, housebreaking, training, grooming, walks, exercise, meals, play, vet trips and cleanups. If the owner feels pressed for time in his/her life, it may not be a good time to think about purchasing a pet. * Do your research on cats. Cats have an average lifespan of about fifteen years, which means a long-term commitment. Cats can be kept in small apartments, and they don't have to be walked outside on cold and rainy days. They can amuse themselves when you are not around, and they enjoy what a pet owner can offer without being emotionally dependent. * Do your research on dogs. Size counts in many ways when it comes to dogs as pets. If one has a small apartment, a large dog can be a big problem. In addition, different breeds have different temperaments, so read up on the characteristics of the breed and then think about how compatible it may be with its owner. * Recognize a healthy pet. Whether you're buying a puppy or kitten from a breeder or adopting one from a shelter, you want it to be as healthy as possible. Optimally, kittens should be at least eight weeks old before being taken from their mom and litter mates. Puppies, like kittens, should not be taken from their mother before they are six weeks old. If you are getting a pet from a shelter, try to find out as much as you can about its past and its personality. If you're getting an older dog, you're entitled to and should ask for, a certificate of health. * Learn how to read trouble signs. Knowing what to look for in a pet is important. Once that puppy or kitten becomes yours, knowing what to look out for is even more important. To avoid pet catastrophes, familiarize yourself with your pet's demeanor and keep your vet's number handy. For example, a cat or kitten may be sick if its gums and tongue look pale. A puppy or dog may be sick if its tongue and ears are swollen and its eyes look yellow. "While pets bring a lot of joy to families, it is important that the person on the receiving end actually wants the animal," said Hanna. "If you are set on buying a pet, you should find out as much as you can about the animal. In addition, if you are considering giving someone a pet for Christmas, consider going to your local animal shelter. There are many homeless dogs and cats there that are looking for a home." Hanna, known to the animal world and the general public as "Jungle Jack," is instantly recognizable by his khaki safari outfit and deep tan. He is one of America's most beloved naturalists and adventurers. In addition to hosting his television series, "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures", he is also a regular guest on shows including "Good Morning America," "Larry King Live," and "The Late Show With David Letterman." About Motel 6 Motel 6 offers the best price of any national chain at more than 850 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Standard amenities include free local phone calls, no long distance access charges, free morning coffee, data ports, and a channel line-up including HBO, ESPN/ESPN2, and CNN. All Motel 6 properties welcome pets, and most locations offer swimming pools and guest laundry facilities. For reservations or information, visit http://www.motel6.com or call 800-4-MOTEL6. Click 6 Web Bargains are available only online at motel6.com. About Accor North America Headquartered in Dallas (Carrollton), Texas, Accor North America operates more than 1,200 upscale and economy properties including nationwide economy leaders Red Roof Inn, Studio 6 and Motel 6 and the upscale Sofitel and mid- scale Novotel and Ibis hotel locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. For more information, visit http://www.accor-na.com .
SOURCE Motel 6