Vet Connect: Considering a Pet for Christmas?


What better time to purchase/adopt new pets/animals or even gifts specifically for the animals you may already have that can be given as Christmas gifts? What animal-loving person wouldn’t love to open a gift only to meet a new companion? Before you take the plunge to bless someone this way, make sure you do your homework and research first.

Pets make great companions. They can make great protectors; they are natural gatekeepers. Their curious nature allows them to stay on top of things by letting you know someone is near your place – even warn you and your family if there is an emergency brewing, such as a fire or unusual smoke. There are also many proven health benefits to owning a pet. According to recent studies, people who have pets tend to be more active, especially dog owners who routinely walk their dog.

However, pets are not free. The first-year cost for owning a dog or a cat can cost over $1,000. Allergies can be a concern. There are many people around the world who would love to have a pet but can’t due to allergies.

Lastly, owning a pet requires a large time commitment for playtime, feeding, and care. Puppies and kittens can be a lot of work; they are like infants and need constant care.

Make sure to take your or the gift recipient’s lifestyle into consideration. Different breeds have different behaviors and energy levels. They were bred for different jobs. Don’t get an active, independent breed for a family who hasn’t had a dog before. Choosing a breed without a thought for how it might fit in your life can be a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, a lot of puppies and kittens are taken to shelters or found in rescue groups 6 months after the holidays because the “newness” has worn off, the time commitment was overwhelming, the cost of owning was not expected, etc.

Other options are available as well. Consider adopting an adult pet instead? For every puppy bought at the store, there is another like him at the pound, just months older, getting ready to say goodbye to the world. Shelters and rescue organizations have designer pets as well.

Foster caregivers and rescue group volunteers know the personality of the animal and how he interacts with others, including children. You can get a sense if he seems well adjusted, mentally normal, intelligent, open or friendly.

The real joy of Christmas is in giving — and what better gift to yourself than giving a home to a lonely pet. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, with gratitude, loyalty, and love. Participate in the solution. Let’s spread the Christmas spirit and help empty out some of those cages.
Animals other than cats and dogs can make great pets, too (such as small pocket pets, fish, birds, and exotics).

There are better ways to gift a pet than surprising someone on Christmas day with a puppy. Consider doing the following:

  • Give pet supplies and an offer to go with the person to pick out their favorite puppy at a shelter or reputable breeder.
  • Take the person out to the breeder or shelter before Christmas and have them pick out their perfect pet to be home by Christmas.
  • Ask the person if they want a pet and find out when would be the best time to bring one home. Ask them if they want to choose the pet themselves.
  • Give your friend or family member a voucher for adopting or purchasing a pet for Christmas. Then, they can choose the pet they want.

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