Dec 05 2016

Giving a pet as a holiday gift? Think twice.

picture of a dog and cat

The holiday season is a time for giving and sharing. Giving a cute, fluffy pet may seem like the perfect gift, but a few things need to be considered before giving an animal as a present for Christmas.

Pets are amazing companions and many people benefit from having them around. They are also a huge responsibility and a lot of thought and consideration needs to be put into the decision to purchase or adopt an animal.

Animals are often given as a gift when a loved one, whether it be a human or another animal, has recently passed away as a way to cope with the healing process, to provide companionship or to prevent loneliness.

Pets can take a big commitment financially, and you are not always aware of someone’s financial situation. Puppies and kittens need multiple rounds of booster vaccines and de-worming treatments when they are young, and vaccinations done annually. Health problems can arise at any age, accidents can happen anytime that may require hospitalization or even surgery.

Pets are commonly given to children to teach them responsibility. Small animals have a shorter life span as compared to a dog or cat or even a bird. Hamsters can live 2-3 years, rabbits life span is 8-10 years and are both popular starter pets for children. Parents must be on board with the decision to give their child a pet, as most times the parent becomes the primary caretaker once the novelty wears off.

A dog or cats life span can range anywhere between 12-20 years, depending on the breed and species; certain birds can live 80 years or more.

A lot of time is put into house-training, and socializing a young pet, is the receiver prepared to take on the commitment that is involved with training a young pet, or would an older pet be more suited to their lifestyle. Many older pets are available in animal shelters or rescue organizations that need loving homes, and they may come already trained and socialized. There are a lot of different factors that come into making the decision in owning a pet that is not only based on how cute and fluffy it is. If you want to give a pet as gift, make the recipient part of the whole process and let them decide if they are ready to take on the responsibility and what type of pet they can handle.

Many animals of all species end up in shelters because the novelty of owning a new pet wears off, or the new owners were not prepared to take on the commitment. If the recipient of the new pet is welcome to share their home with a pet, then it can be the greatest gift of all. Animals provide companionship and can be beneficial to your health and well-being.

Happy Holidays!

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