Why Pets Are Not Perfect Christmas Gifts
Some movies portray a pet underneath the Christmas tree that later becomes a child’s best friend. The pet brings the family together and everything ends happily ever after. While this may be the case for some families, it does not always happen. Children dream of receiving a pet for Christmas, but animal shelters report that a large percentage come back the following year. One animal shelter in Germany reported a 40 percent increase in cat returns and a 50 percent increase in dog returns every January. Other shelters then see another wave of returns in the summer when families do not know what to do with their animals while on vacation. Here are a few reasons why pets do not make perfect Christmas gifts.
Getting a Pet Is a Commitment
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is difficult to give your new pet the time and attention they need. A new pet needs a calm environment, as well as consistency, in order to adjust to their new home well. Pets also need to start training immediately, not after the holidays when everything starts to settle down. When you buy or adopt a pet, you have to accept the commitment that comes with them. If it is for your own children, you have to be willing to help. If it is for a family other than your own, that family has to be prepared for it. You should not surprise them. Each family that has pets has to be willing to commit to them in the long run. At least one person should be home to create a calm, consistent environment and maintain training.
Pets Require Financial Responsibility
On top of committing time and energy to new pets, each family also has to take on the financial responsibilities. This includes buying food, litter, and other supplies to keep them well-fed and healthy. Other than the everyday expenses, there are other expenses that you need to plan for. You will need to plan for all of your pet’s trips to the veterinarian, including vaccinations and other unplanned trips. Sometimes, pets get sick and need medications or surgery. Each owner of a pet needs to be prepared to spend money on each of these necessary expenses. It takes money to keep pets healthy and strong, so you should not buy a pet for Christmas if you are not willing to spend money regularly on them.
Pets Are Not Objects
One of the biggest problems that come with people buying or adopting animals for Christmas is that the novelty wears off. For children especially, people view pets as a new toy or object. They will be intrigued and interested in them for the first few weeks, but it fades. Kids no longer want to take care of the pet, and the parents are not always willing to help. This problem comes from people viewing pets as objects instead of living, breathing creatures that need love and attention. Once the fun wears off, families no longer want to put forth the effort to take care of them. That is when they return their pets to the shelter.
Other Pet Gift Ideas
Thankfully, there are other gifts you can give that keep pets from bouncing around from home to home. Some animal shelters offer gift certificates that you can buy and give to a family. This way, they get to go into the shelter themselves and decide which animal is the best fit for them and their family. If you are persistent in wanting to buy a pet for another family, you should take a family member with you so their input is heard. In summary, you should never surprise a family with a pet for Christmas. Owning pets requires time, effort, and money, so each family should be prepared for it.