‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly – But Not To Give Pets As Gifts

23 11 2010

The holidays are upon us – time for spending time with family, baking and shopping for the perfect gift. Each year we seem to be on a mission to outdo what we’ve done in past years for our children. A common and mistakenly popular gift? Pets.

Why “mistakenly popular” you may ask? A pet – no matter what time of year you decide your family is ready for one – is a commitment of at least 10-15 years. It should not be an impulse decision or purchase. There are many factors to consider when adopting a pet. And yes, I said, adopt. We at Animal Rescue Superhighway stand firmly behind the idea of “don’t shop, adopt” and will never tell anyone to buy a puppy or kitten from a pet store or breeder.

On to why pets are a bad idea at Christmas time. Besides the obvious reason of choosing a pet that’s right for your family and lifestyle after researching what is available, the holidays are a very hectic time of year. With the constant cooking, baking, shopping, gift wrapping and parties, bringing a new animal into this chaos is not going to be good for any of you involved. If your home is like most at the holidays, you have a revolving front door as guests and well-wishers make their holiday rounds. This can be confusing to a new pet as they can become confused about who lives in the house and who doesn’t.

Still not convinced? Keep reading. A new puppy or kitten needs a calm environment in the beginning, particularly when leaving the chaos of a shelter. With the constant holiday traffic in and out of your home, it’s no wonder your new puppy will constantly be tinkling all over your home. Your pet needs to be secure in your home, with those who live in the home full time, before introducing them to a large group of strangers.

Strangers aside, there are still a few other things that can be dangerous for a new pet. Piles of crumpled wrapping paper and ribbons are prime “chew toys”, sweet treats that can be fatal and even alcohol all pose serious threats to your new puppy or kitten – and all things that need to be considered. What about your holiday travel plans – have you considered those? It’s a strain for a new pet to become accustomed to their surroundings in a “normal” state – it’s hardly fair to bring them to your new home for a day or two, only to further stress them by putting them in a boarding facility.

It’s understandable that you want to make a special memory for your family at the holidays – ’tis the season. But the last thing you want to do is cause your new pet to end up back in the shelter or worse. Don’t make an impulsive decision. If you and your family feel you are ready to take on the long-term responsibility of a pet, wait until after the holidays, when things are calmer and you, your family and your new pet can truly enjoy each other.

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