Pets As Gifts

Many popular holiday cards portray the idyllic scene of a happy puppy popping out of a tinsel-wrapped box to the joy of the recipient. Many of us have probably considered how wonderful it would be to actually live that moment. Unfortunately, that image doesn’t show what happens next (hint: it probably involves pee.) Here are some issues to consider before adding a new pet this holiday season :

  • Does the recipient really want a pet? This includes making a commitment of approximately 10 to 15 years to care for this pet.
  • Is the household pet friendly? Will someone be home and able to schedule time to allow feeding, walking, and caring for this pet?
  • Is this pet a good match for the family? Small children might not feel comfortable around certain breeds, and certain breeds might not fit well with small children. For an older person, is the breed too large to handle easily or too young and full of energy to match a more relaxed lifestyle?
  • Can the household afford the added costs associated with caring for a pet? Consider the price of food, monthly heartworm and flea preventatives, grooming, veterinarian visits, and petsitting or boarding costs. Expect unexpected costs.
  • Are there already pets in the household? If so, will the new and old pets get along? Will the family have the time to acclimate the pets to each other? If you have an elderly pet, a young pet might make them very unhappy.
  • Is the household ready to commit time and resources to training the new pet? The most common reason pets are dumped in shelters is because of inappropriate behavior, usually an avoidable issue with the proper training.
  • Does anyone have a health condition that would be aggravated by the pet’s presence? Allergies are always a possible issue to consider.

If your household is ready for the joy and responsibility of a pet, adopt one from a shelter, breed rescue group, or your local Humane Society. There are many wonderful animals out there just waiting for a miracle.