Why You Shouldn’t Give Pets as Gifts

It’s Christmas time, and you want that special gift that the kids will go nuts over, so you decide to surprise them with a new puppy or kitten this Christmas. Seems like an excellent idea, buy an adorable puppy/kitten, place it in a wrapped gift box (not too long of course) and watch the kids go nuts with excitement.

But think again, Christmas is already an incredibly hectic time of year and puppies, and kittens take up a lot of your time and effort. You can’t just turn puppy off place him on a shelf while you try to settle the kids or make dinner, he’s there and needs your attention. House training alone is a huge task, let alone feeding, monitoring their activity so they don’t get into harm’s way.

There is a vast misconception that pets make great Christmas gifts when, in fact, they don’t. Puppies are a long-term commitment! They can live up to 13 years. This furry gift doesn’t get put away with all the other toys. They depend on you 24/7 for their care. So many puppies are returned to shelters because they seem to be too difficult to train. But in fact, the poor puppy never had a chance to train properly due to the busy holiday season. Improper care and training can lead to behavioural problems which if not corrected, can lead to even more significant issues.

So before getting a kitten or puppy, consider doing your homework first. Is it the right time for the family to take on this new 13-year responsibility? How will this impact all the family members? Who will be the primary caretaker and trainer of the puppy? He will need crate training, to keep him safe and to ensure he does not destroy anything while alone in the house. House training is another important hurdle, consistency is critical, to ensure the puppy does not make messes in the home. Learning to walk well on a leash is another training aspect that will need to be done. Obedience training (so puppy doesn’t jump on everyone or control unwanted barking) is another area that will need to be focused on. As you can see a lot of time and effort is required to look after your new puppy properly and the holiday season is just not the time to do this.

Tragically, many pets given as holiday gifts end up in the shelter system and many of them never find a new home.

Written by Jennifer Barr, Receptionist