With Christmas right around the corner, gift givers are searching for that perfect gift. Holidays see an increase in pet purchases for others. Please, do not give anyone a pet unless it is agreed upon. If you do get a pet for a gift, please, research the breed and its needs/energy level/etc.. Kittens and puppies are cute but they are rambunctious, need training, and can be a poor fit for children since they are fragile, unpredictable, and have very sharp claws and teeth. Kids often do not know how to play nice with small animals and can result in injuries to either the child, the animal, or both. In addition to potential injuries, the pet might not be suited for the family, animals have a personality and should be chosen by the future owner. Purchased pets may come from breeders who may be looking at money instead of good breeding practices, training, and proper weaning potentially leading to more problems.
If you want to get someone a pet for the holidays, make sure they are prepared, consider adopting at the local shelters, and make sure that the family/person gets to pick out the pet that works best for them. Every year, pets get released, abandoned, or turned over to shelters because the owner no longer wants the pet, cannot take care of the pet, or cannot have the pet anymore. If the pet is not spayed or neutered, it can reproduce and lead to more homeless animals. Pets are a long term commitment and need training and vet care – they can be financially taxing. Instead of a puppy or kitten, consider adopting an older animal that may have had training already. The shelters can tell you more about the animals personality and what type of environment would be best for them. In addition, please teach children to properly interact with animals. Running up to strange dogs, pulling on tails, ears, and paws can result in bites to children.
A pet can be a great addition to a family and teaches children responsibility, but please, make sure everyone is on board with the animal and the right animal for that person/family is chosen to reduce the chances that the pet will end up in a shelter or abandoned.
Have a great holiday season!