What About Pets for Christmas?

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Are Pets Ever a Good Christmas Present?  ( Plus a cute dog picture )

Cassidy Lenn

There is a rise of about 5% in the number of pets admitted into shelter in the post-festive period, indicating one simple fact: pets do not make an ideal Christmas gift. This is particularly true when pets are given as a surprise to a friend or family member who may love animals but lack the time or funds they need to give the pet a good life. Of course, there is one tiny exception to the rule, and that is when you decide to bring a pet to your own home, after taking all important cost and time considerations into account and deciding that a pet would make a great addition to your family. Ask yourself if you are ready to be a pet owner and if you are, make sure your pet has all the creature comforts it needs to really feel like it is has found its forever home.

How Much will a Pet Cost You Per Year?

Cute dog picture

Sorry, I just had to insert this…

In case you thought pet ownership involved little more cost than food, think again. The ASPCA has drafted a financial breakdown of the annual costs of caring for dogs ($894 for a medium-sized dog), cats ($809), guinea pigs ($304) and more species. If you adopt or purchase a puppy, the first year can cost considerably more (around $1400), because you will need to factor in spaying costs, microchipping, and other expenses. You can bring down expenses in many ways, including adopting instead of shopping, buying affordable toys and goodies, and taking out pet insurance, which will be a big relief if any unexpected accidents, injuries, or illnesses occur. For comfie yet affordable beds, check out the wide range of pet beds and fashions at Green Life Center – which come in so many cute patterns it will be very hard to make your selection.

How Much Time Will Your Pet Need?

Depending on how much free time you have, a pet may be a good or bad idea. Think beyond the holidays and think about whether or not you have time to take your dog for two good walks a day. Dogs don’t simply need to do their necessities and head back home; they also need unstructured, off-leash playtime, in which to fetch, sniff their surroundings, and let off steam. A bored dog can quickly become a destructive one, and take to chewing the furniture or becoming anxious when you leave the home. Some people do not like the idea of having small animals in cages; if you are one of these, know that a dog is far more dependent than a cat or other animals. If you are opting for an exotic pet like an iguana, be aware that they need around half an hour of training a day, so they learn to control their natural instinct to claw.

Do You Have Kids in the House?

If you have little ones in your home, you will need to introduce them gently to their new pet. Kids should not be left alone with a dog and cat and should be taught not to approach their new dog; rather, they should wait until the dog comes to them for some affection. Parents need to work with kids to show them not to place their weight on pets, not to hug them or pull their ears or tails. Kids often learn by example but parents need to stress that pets like dogs can be both powerful and fragile; petting them isn’t a right but rather, a privilege.

If cost isn’t a problem and you’d like to ‘pay if forward’ while bringing home a new best friend, why not adopt instead of shop? Your dog will need time and training, and family members will also need to adapt to their new family member. Patience is key, especially if you adopt a puppy that needs training, but the most families would agree that the love and unconditional friendship a pet brings, are priceless.