Getting a new puppy or kitten as a gift is a common wish. You see it in movies and on TV shows frequently. Unfortunately, it can be a short-lived joy.
If you plan to give your child a pet for Christmas, you need to make sure they are prepared to care for one. It’s not just a cuddly gift – it’s a living being that comes with lots of responsibility. If you want to get a pet to teach your children responsibility, you may want to start small. Hamsters and mice are less responsibility and can teach your child how to feed and clean up after an animal. Dogs and cats, however, are much more work.
Dogs, especially puppies, require lots of time and affection. House training, several daily walks, and veterinary care aren’t things that can be put aside until a more convenient time. Cats aren’t quite as much work, but they still need to be taught where their litter box is, what surfaces they’re allowed to scratch, and when breakfast or dinner time is. If you don’t provide exercise and love for them, both can act out with bad behavior.
The holidays can be hectic too. With travel and adjusting to different schedules pets can be overwhelmed. When your child returns to school from the holiday, they may not have time to devote to their new pet. Try getting one in the summer, when kids need something to fill their time. The companionship will be welcomed by both parties.
As for giving a pet to someone other than your child, make sure that they really want one. A good way to gift a companion animal is by writing a nice card offering to pay the adoption fee at your local shelter, and going with them to pick out a good match. Wrapping up a food bowl, pet bed or other item they would need can also be helpful.
Make sure that you have a plan and budget for a pet before you commit to one. Many pets are turned in to shelters once people realize that they don’t have the time or resources to care for them. And if you do decide to welcome a furry friend into your house, remember – there are many dogs and cats who are in shelters that want nothing more than a home for the holidays!