It’s fun to give gifts at Christmas and nothing gets a better reaction from loved ones than a cute little puppy or kitten. But, if a pet is what you’re planning to gift this year, please think again. Pets are a long-term commitment, creatures not toys. Christmas is the wrong time to introduce them to the family, and here is why:
Christmas is hectic. There’s people everywhere, it’s noisy, and you’re busy doing all sorts of activities, both in and out the house. Do you really want to add an animal to the mix? The busyness will be stressful for your new pet, and you won’t have the time to give it the attention it needs to settle in
When you buy on impulse or gift a pet to an unsuspecting person, they’re likely to be unprepared for the responsibility that comes with it. A dog, for example, is a commitment of roughly 15 years and takes a lot of time, effort and money to keep happy and healthy. Kids are also often too young to take on the responsibility and can lose interest, so care falls to parents.
The period between Christmas and New Year is the busiest in terms of animal abandonment. Charities become overwhelmed with calls from people unable to cope with their Christmas pets, so much so that rehoming centres prepare in advance for the expected influx of unwanted pets.
In January 2015, the Scottish SPCA took in 235 dogs and 250 cats. To reduce the risk of them being gifted and later abandoned, the charity do not rehome puppies, kittens, or other baby animals from 19th December to 3rd January, allowing people to reserve them instead for collection after the holiday period.
If you are ready for the commitment of bringing a new pet into your family, why not buy the supplies for Christmas instead and build anticipation for your new post-Christmas arrival. Or gift a book on pet care to see if they truly are ready for the commitment.