Reasons Why NOT to Give a Pet as a Christmas Gift

Christmas is not the time to introduce a new pet to the family, especially if it’s a surprise. Unlike the “lovely” sweater your great aunt sent you, a pet is not a product and can’t be returned if it doesn’t fit. Shelters and rescue organizations are over run in January and February with pets that have worn out their welcome as Christmas gifts.

Here are 5 reasons why pets should not be given as a Christmas gift

  1. Pets should never be an impulse buy. Individuals and families thinking of getting a pet should research, prepare and then, when the time is right, seek a pet that realistically complements their lifestyle, schedule and energy level. Becoming a pet owner is a huge emotional, financial and time commitment. Gifting a family member or friend with a 10 to 20 year responsibility is not something one should do on impulse.
  2. That adorable little fluff ball will very soon turn into an adolescent with more energy than brains and after that a full grown adult, with adult needs. That little puppy won’t usually stay 5 lbs. More like 40-60 lbs.
  3. That cute little puppy or kitten in the store window is most likely the product of a puppy mill, despite what the store owner says. Most are shipped in from mills and non-reputable breeders. Some are healthy, most are not. All are bred and born in inhumane, often filthy conditions. Each time a pet is purchased from an irresponsible breeder or mill operator is incentive for them to stay up and running.
  4. The holidays are an exciting and stressful time, so now isn’t the best time for a pet to make a successful transition into your home. You’re off schedule, there are lots of people in and out (some of them may be adding to your stress), and things can be overwhelming and confusing to a new pet. He needs a calm environment with patient people to help him adjust. It’s very hard to keep a proper housetraining, feeding and elimination schedule during the busy holidays which is all a vital part of your new pet’s health from day 1. Also the numbers of safety hazards are increased at Christmas time. This includes decorations, ornaments, tinsel, poisonous plants, abundance of food to name a few. All of which can be hard to monitor at this hectic time.
  5. A pet should not be viewed as a toy for children. Caring for a dog or cat is a big responsibility and much different from getting a new toy that is taken out, played with and put away again. It is important to teach a child the difference between her belongings and a pet. It is essential to always supervise when pets (especially dogs) and children are together. Since this is hard to do during a big holiday, the chance of a bite increases. Children not used to having pets are more prone to behavior that can frighten a pet, thus provoking a defensive bite. This would be a bad start for a new adoption.

So if you are truly intent on getting a loved one a pet as a gift after reading this, we do have a few suggestions for you. Give them a certificate! You can make it yourself, offering to take your loved one to the local shelter or rescue organization and let them pick out the pet they want and you pay the adoption fee.
For children, you can give them books, magazines and articles to read and prepare them for the responsibility of a pet. Training and pet care books would make great gifts. Even accessories like leashes, kennels, and toys would be a wonderful gift for a future pet.
Make a donation! You can give a donation to your local shelter in your loved ones name. Most shelters have cards made up and ready to give, but you could also make one and include the receipt for the donation.



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