4 big reasons NOT to get a pet for Christmas
It can be very tempting to get an adorable puppy or kitten for that special someone in your life, but if you’ve decided to give the gift of a pet this Christmas, you should think again. There are lots of reasons why this is simply a bad idea. Here are some of them.
1. Christmas is a noisy, chaotic time
Bringing a new pet home at this time of year is not only going to be tough on you with all the extra responsibilities it involves, it’s going to be immensely difficult for your pet! Just think of all the extra activity, noise and strange people who will be filling your home over the holiday period. Imagine a new puppy or kitten (or even a new adult pet!) trying to get used to a new environment with all this going on. Bringing them into this stressful atmosphere is not a nice thing to do, and will only make them nervous and unhappy. Puppies and kittens need to have very positive experiences while they are at an impressionable age, or they can grow up to associate certain experiences as triggers for fear or aggression. So, to give your furry friend the best start in life, wait until after Christmas before bringing them home. It’s the kindest thing to do.
2. Presents are surprises
It’s a very bad idea to surprise someone you love with a pet. Pets are a huge responsibility and the decision to become a pet owner should never be taken lightly, or forced on someone who is unprepared. Some cats and dogs can live for 15 years or more – this is a big commitment to take on and the recipient of your gift might feel obliged to agree at first, but may later end up surrendering their cat or dog to a rescue shelter because it turns out to be too much work. So, unless you have fully talked through the decision to get a pet well in advance, then an animal should never be given as an impromptu gift.
3. Toilet training will be tough
When a new puppy or kitten enters your home, they will probably need to be toilet trained. This takes a considerable amount of time and effort, so much so that you’ll need to be able to be there with your pet for the whole day. Puppy owners in particular often find themselves doing hourly toilet breaks, and even waking up during the night to let their little friends out to pee. Christmas is a very busy time – between cooking, looking after guests, keeping children occupied and going to parties and relatives houses, are you really going to have time to toilet train a new pet? And if you don’t, are you willing to deal with the bad habits that might form in the meantime?
4. Christmas pets are not ethical
A breeder or a rescue shelter who agrees to give an animal away at Christmas time will probably not have the animal’s best interests at heart. If you do find a breeder who is willing to part with a pup or kitten at Christmas time, they are probably not going to be an ethical one and will usually be more concerned about making themselves some extra cash. Going to an unethical breeder such as this means that your puppy or kitten can turn out to have behavioural or health problems as a result of careless breeding. By buying from these people you’ll only be supporting the practice of breeding for profit, which is the reason so many beautiful and lovable animals end up abandoned and on the streets.
What are the alternatives?
You don’t have to give a live animal as a pet for Christmas – there are lots of other brilliant gifts you can give! For example:
If your loved one is an animal lover, why not buy them a voucher for a wildlife experience in an animal shelter or wildlife park?
You could sponsor an abandoned pet, or make a donation to an animal charity in your loved one’s name
If your loved one has their heart set on getting a puppy or kitten, why not simply buy them a pet bed, toy or collar so that they can start to prepare and think about their decision in advance?
Ask your local animal rescue shelter if they need people to foster abandoned pets in the new year. By fostering a cat or dog, you can get an idea of what owning one entails before you make the commitment to become a permanent owner