Should You Really Get a Pet for Christmas?

It’s that time of year: Christmas is only a matter of weeks away, and you’re pondering what to get for your partner/kids/parents as a special Christmas gift.

Happy doggies at daycare
Shadow & Pete

Pet stores are brimming at this time of years with cute and furry little four legged friends. A lot of people will think, “A puppy!” or “A kitten!” but we’re here to tell you to Stop. Pause. And consider very carefully…

NEVER buy a pet on impulse. We don’t recommend ever buying a pet for another person – unless you live in the same home and are willing to love and care for the pet yourself. A pet is a very personal choice, an enormous responsibility, and unless another person has already chosen their furry family member for themself, and you’re just paying for it, it’s not at all recommended to buy an animal for another person. Too many animal Christmas gifts wind up surrendered or abandoned at the RSPCA and other animal shelters by the time the holiday season has passed. This is heartbreaking for the animal, for the shelter staff, and, in many cases, for the person who can’t keep the pet. Not a happy Christmas at all.

If you’re buying a pet for your loved ones who live with you, please consider:

• Does the recipient really want a pet?
• Are they up for the challenge of everything pet ownership entails?
• Has the recipient expressed a true desire to imminently get a pet?
• Will a pet fit into their lifestyle and home?
• Can the recipient afford to keep and care for a pet?
• Does the person already own a pet? Is another really a good idea?
• Are pets allowed if the person is a tenant?

A pet is a lifelong commitment – not an accessory or a toy you can discard when it is no longer little and cute, or if it becomes annoying or too much hard work. A dog can live on average from ten to fifteen years; a cat from between twelve and sixteen years or older. Pets require loads of constant love, care, attention, and affection – and they can be very expensive.

Pets should never be given as a surprise – unless it’s to your own children in your own home. The giver should always be willing to take on responsibility for the pet for its lifetime if the recipient of the pet is unwilling or unable to care for it – at any time in the future.

Even better than giving a pet for Christmas – wait until after New Year if you’re looking to get a pet – and save an animal that has been abandoned and is desperately in need of a great home.

Make sure that if you decide to adopt or buy a pet, you’re in it for the long-haul, and that you are more than ready for a long, loving, reciprocal relationship with it for life – and not just for Christmas.

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