Holiday movies, TV shows and ads make it seem like the best time to give or get a new pet is Christmas morning. Cute little puppies and kittens festooned with big, floppy ribbons—who can resist? Everyone dreams of waking up Christmas morning and running downstairs to find an adorable puppy sitting under the tree with the quintessential big red bow.
In reality, not all Christmas pets live up to the hype, and bringing a new animal into the home during such an exciting holiday can lead to the opposite of a positive beginning. There are a lot of variables to consider before deciding on bringing home a Christmas puppy or Christmas kitten.Above all, don’t get swept up in the excitement, forgetting that pets are lifelong commitments as new members of your family. This shouldn’t be a snap decision that’s made in the spirit of the holidays.
Is It Okay to Surprise Friends With Christmas Pets?
A pet should NEVER be a surprise for the receiver if you are thinking of gifting them to someone outside your own home. Discussing the vague possibility of adopting a pet is not the same as a real conversation about the responsibilities of pet ownership.Whoever will be feeding, cleaning up after and paying veterinary bills for a new pet needs to be actively involved in the decision of adopting them.
Is Your Family Ready for a New Pet?
Discuss how a new kitten or puppy will change your family’s life, and how it will affect children—even older children. It is easy to imagine that the older a child is, the easier it will be to enlist them in the care of the pet, but older children tend to have more social engagements and may not have a lot of time to spend with a new puppy or new kitten.
A pet can change a lot of the family’s day-to-day arrangements, like schedules walking, feeding, training, sleeping arrangements who gets to keep the pet in their room, pet safety precautions remember that anything left on the floor is fair game to a dog or cat, especially when they are young. And then you’ll need to make sure that family members can handle the responsibility of litter box duty, potty training and cleaning up pet messes.
You should also assess your finances to determine whether you will be able to pay for regular vet visits, dental cleanings, vaccinations, chronic illnesses, diagnostic tests, prescription flea and tick preventatives, prescription pet medication, dog food, cat food, dog toys, cat toys, cat litter and all of the other pet supplies you’ll need.
When the Novelty Wears Off… There’s a Whole lot of Responsibility
The first few days with the new puppy may be extremely exciting and full of joy for all involved, but the novelty of having the dog will soon kick in. Pets are a lot of work. They take a ton of time, money, and energy. They also don’t stay tiny, fluffy, babies forever. More often than not, children who receive pets as Christmas presents don’t understand the responsibility that comes with them. This responsibility then falls to the already busy parents.
Giving pets as gifts to adult friends or family members can also cause problems. It is wise to adopt a pet that fits your lifestyle and wants. Someone giving another person a pet may not know the time or energy they have to dedicate to that animal and, thus, may make a poor decision on that person’s behalf. Even with amazing intentions, giving someone else a pet may do more harm than good.
Christmas Puppies or Kittens Often End Up in Shelters
And we can’t forget about the puppy or kitten that all this is revolving around. That animal is going to rely on the person for everything from food and a place to sleep, to guidance on behavior and love. If that person cannot provide this to the animal, what does that puppy or kitten do? They may suffer from a lack of exercise or attention. They might also have medical issues that cannot be paid for. Worst comes to worst, that animal ends up in a shelter. From there, their fate is indeterminate.
Shelter’s across the U.S. see a huge shift in the number of animals they have coming in during the months following the holiday season. As puppies and kittens lose the adorable baby-ness they had on Christmas morning, some people find themselves less invested. As they get older, puppies are prone to causing more messes and damage especially in the case of larger breeds.Many animals end up in animal shelters because they were Christmas gifts. No animal should be given as a last-minute gift when the toy of the season was sold out. Even if it’s not a last-minute decision, reconsider adopting a dog or cat right around the holidays.
How to Properly Give a Holiday Pet
If you are well prepared for the responsibilities and costs associated with bringing a pet home, consider waiting until after Christmas. Buy a collar and place that under the Christmas tree as a representation of the future animal. Make the adoption of the puppy a family event so you are able to choose an animal that fits in perfectly. This will not only allow you to welcome your new family member into your home in a calm and relaxing way, but will ensure you find the perfect match!
Pets are amazing, and every family can benefit from sharing their home with these furry bundles of love. But make sure that you, and everyone else involved, are ready for the lifelong responsibility of a pet.
Merry Christmas 🎄
iPettie: We bring you an amazing life with your pet.
*We hope to give you better ideas for your pet, but this information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. If your pet feels bad, please take it to the veterinarian in time.