With Christmas a mere 9 days away, we felt we needed to list the many reasons why you should NOT gift a pet of any kind over the holidays.
Gifting someone with a 10 to 20 year commitment is not something anyone should do on impulse. It’s rare for people to plan well in advance to acquire a pet during the holidays, especially with how busy it is.
It’s much more common for people who have planned well ahead to add a pet to the family at virtually any other time of the year.
For example, if you visit your local shelter in late January or February, you’ll have your pick of pets who’ve already worn out their welcome as Christmas gifts. It happens every single year.
If that’s not enough incentive, here are a few more things to consider.
Reason #1: The holidays are crazy enough.
The holiday season is very busy for families. In addition to the usual hectic daily routine of school, work and other activities, end-of-year festivities mean even more demands on your time and energy.
Extra shopping, cooking and cleaning chores, along with trimming the tree, decorating the house, gift wrapping, parties, overnight guests, trips away from home to visit family and friends, and so on.
With all that goes on, the last thing any household needs is a new puppy or kitten to add to the busyness or stress. New four-legged members also do not deserve to be introduced to a brand new, slightly scary environment in the midst of chaos.
A new pet requires a great deal of time and attention from his new family. It’s in everyone’s best interests to wait for a less busy, exciting time of year to bring home a new dog, cat or other pet.
Reason #2: The weather outside is frightful.
Newborn pets need to be house trained once they come home with you. The short days, cold and wet weather around the holidays, and into the new year are not an ideal time to start training. Why not wait for spring if you’re planning to add a pet to the family?
Another good reason to wait for warmer weather is so children are out of school for the summer. Without school and related activities to distract them, they’ll have time to bond with their new friend, help with house and obedience training, feeding, accident clean-ups, playtime, dog walking, etc.
Reason #3: Pets should not be surprises.
Surprising anyone with a puppy or kitten on Christmas morning is a romantic, but usually bad idea.
Yes, the recipient might be extremely excited and happy with a new puppy, kitten or bird, but unless the ‘surprise’ has actually been well researched and planned, it can be so risky.
We understand that it’s hard to resist a warm, furry little bundle under the tree, waiting for you Christmas morning. But unless the new pet owner is wholly committed to the idea of raising a puppy or kitten, the bliss can end in a hurry.
In our experience, it’s best to let a potential pet owner, no matter what age, be very engaged every step of selecting a new pet and preparing ahead for the homecoming.
Reason #4: A pet for a child shouldn’t be viewed as a new toy.
A living creature shouldn’t be considered the same kind of ‘wow’ Christmas gift as, say, a new toy or the latest Playstation console.
Caring for a dog or cat is a huge responsibility and a lot different from getting a new toy. Toys are played with, and put away again. It’s important to let a child know the difference between their belongings and their pet, from the start of their relationship.
Even if your youngster is crying for a pet and you think he or she is old enough to take on the responsibility, we recommend that the ‘pet project’ be kept separate from the holiday festivities.
Reason #5: Pet stores, backyard breeders, puppy mills.
Leading up to Christmas, certain disreputable businesses are bursting at the seams with all the latest puppy or kitten models. Most of these babies are shipped in from puppy mills. Some are healthy. Many are not. All are bred and born in terrible conditions.
Every time a dog is purchased from an irresponsible breeder or mill operator, it gives incentive for those businesses to keep their doors open. So while you might give a pet mill baby a good home for Christmas, their mother stays back at the mill, having litter after litter until she’s too sick or old to reproduce — at which point she’s disposed of.
To be clear: We are not opposed to you adding a dog to your family during the holiday season, if it means that you are planning for it far in advance. We only ask that you make an informed decision and not a knee-jerk one. This time of year is notorious for last-minute impulse buys!
That being said, we are just as excited as you are to add a new addition to your home, and if you need any help selecting the right pet for your family, please drop in to All for Pets and speak to one of our many trained staff. We’re here to help!
We wish you a wonderful Holiday season!
Your pet-loving Team at All for Pets