It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas! Perhaps you’ve already completed your gift list, or you’re still brainstorming ideas of what to give to your loved ones. If you’re considering gifting a pet to someone who made the nice list this year, think through all that would entail to see if it’s a good fit for everyone. Here are four important considerations to make before allowing Santa to put a new pet under the tree.
- Lifestyle — Are you a family of hikers or loungers? Do you live in a condo with no outdoor space or a house with a fenced backyard? Before adding a pet to the family, you must consider your family’s lifestyle and the needs of the pet. An energetic dog will need frequent exercise. A high jumper will need a fence high enough to keep him in the yard. A lap dog will want a homebody who enjoys cuddling.
- Time — Will your new pet be left alone for eight or more hours every day? Will you or someone in your family have time to walk a new dog or play with a new cat? What about cleaning up your dog’s business in the backyard or cleaning out the kitty litter regularly? Consider the time required to properly train a new pet. If your family neglects to teach your new companion right from wrong, you’ll all regret it later. Pets require a significant time commitment, and your child should understand all that’s involved before asking Santa for a puppy.
- Money — Just because Santa is delivering a “free” pet on Christmas morning, doesn’t mean that companion won’t cost you in the future. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $69.51 billion on their pets in 2017. Expenditures included food, supplies, over-the-counter medications, veterinary care, grooming, boarding, and more.
- Commitment — When you purchase or adopt a new pet, it’s a lifelong commitment. Many children beg and plead for a new pet, only to eventually tire of the companion and leave all the pet duties to mom or dad. If your child really wants a pet, she’ll still be asking in April, long after the holiday décor has been packed away and Santa is back at the North Pole.
Adding a furry family member can make a wonderful gift with adequate research, planning, and preparation. If you have any questions about this decision, contact us.