My boyfriend used to work at a veterinary clinic for a few years, and the holiday season was one of the most depressing times of year for us over there. The number of people who buy or adopt animals, only to neglect them or abandon them once the festivities are over was ridiculously sad. This holiday season, if you are considering gifting someone an animal, please don’t do it unless you’ve thought about it a lot and considered your options. Here are 3 things to think about before going through with gifting pets for Christmas.
Can the Recipient Afford One?
Animals are expensive to look after, no matter how much you care for them. Not only do you have to think about how much their good food costs (which is a lot), but also the cost of toys, grooming, training, boarding or sitting fees when you can’t be around, and the cost of veterinary bills. My boyfriend and I have $3000 sitting in savings for each one of our animals, because veterinary bills add up, and skimping on medical care and food is not an option. Don’t subject an animal to poor health just because you can’t afford it.
Can the Recipient Care for the Pet?
Giving a dog, cat, bunny, hamster, or bird cuddles and affection isn’t the only thing your pet needs. Can the recipient groom the animal appropriately? Will they be able to take their pet out often enough that it gets the exercise it needs? Will they freak out at the animal if it has an accident indoors? Do they have a garden large enough for a dog to play in? Are they prepared to look after the animal for the next several years? Remember, larger animals and birds can live to be 20 years old. Can you promise 20 years of care?
The safest thing to do in almost every situation is to just not gift someone a pet for any holiday. Getting a pet is essentially bringing home another family member, and if you or the recipient doesn’t think of it like that, then you’re probably not ready for the responsibility of an animal.