Friday, December 13, 2013

Pets do not make good surprise Christmas presents

Pets do not make good surprise gifts. All pets require care and attention. Getting a pet for Christmas can be a great idea if everyone agrees with the plan, but astounding numbers of cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, and other pets are dumped right after the holidays. 

Adorable, but should not come as a surprise.
I personally feel that a home is richer with a pet. There are many health benefits to having pets, and they can be a great way to teach children about respect and responsibility. Every pet deserves a good home where he or she is loved and receives proper care.

Some things to think about before getting a pet:
  • Different animals have different physical needs. Research the type of pet you're considering, and make sure you can meet them. Do you have the space? Enough money to get whatever equipment you need?
  • Are you prepared for a lifetime commitment? A guinea pig can live for five years. A dog can live for fifteen. Some parrots can live for more than 100 years. Can you deal with someone being dependent on you every day for that long?
  • Discuss the pet's schedule with the family. All pets require attention, care, and training. If you're getting a dog, he or she will need walks every day, whether it rains or not. Puppies need to go out right now, and not when it's convenient.
  • Make a budget for vet costs, food, treats, kitty litter, straw, and whatever else the pet might need.
  • Make a plan for emergencies. You need to have some funds set aside in case something happens and your pet needs sudden care.
  • A child should not be sole caretaker of a pet.

This list doesn't cover everything, but it's a good starting point for the family discussion.

~ Maria Sadowski ~ 


  1. Mom has had pets since she was seven, cats, dogs, wabbits, gerbils, but still every time she gets a new pet it turns life upside down. It is not a bad thing, but it is a good reminder to those that don't know what it is like having a puppy in the house, it is not easy. It is a lot of work that Mom loves but it is work and it will change your lifestyle at least for a time until the puppy grows up. Kittens are a bit easier but still they are into everything!

    1. It does turn life upside down. Every time a new pet enters my life I know it will never be the same. =)

  2. I've grown up with dogs and cats (no more cats due to allergies since age 13 though). I feel lost without at least one dog with me, but we keep 2 because we've found they do better about us having to go to town, etc. with a dog-companion.

    I would suggest to anyone that gets a long-life parrot to have more than one contingency plan in place before ever getting one though. If you die, that bird needs to have someone that's willing to take them if you don't want them sent to a rescue, and THAT someone needs to have a back-up too in case they die. It's best to put your pets in your will (especially parrots), so that they're assured of being taken care of properly.

    1. Great points! Anything can happen at any time, and putting the pets in one's will gives them a chance. Thank you for coming over! =)

  3. I completely agree. It makes me sad that people will take on pet ownership as a spur of the moment decision; even sadder that they'll dump this responsibility on others.

    There's an infographic going round that promotes giving a puppy for Christmas and although it has a "what you should know" section, I still feel uncomfortable promoting this action, because there are so many people who don't think it through.

    If you search CL, you'll see lots of older puppies that aren't altered, don't have all their vaccinations, and are too active for the owner - sounds to me like someone thought a puppy was a great idea and wasn't prepared for the cost and responsibility.

    1. I agree. Even an "easy" pet requires equipment and time. I have the funniest story... My husband was visiting a friend and came home all happy with a little Tupperware bowl with two crayfish. They were beautiful; around two inches long, and blue. "Hey, I got you new pets."

      I had to go out and buy a fish tank, a filter, a light, underwater plants, gravel for the tank, some statues for the crayfish to hide in, food... I ended up loving my crayfish, but the good idea of "let's bring a couple home" also cost hundreds of dollars, and became one more thing that required attention every day. LOL. Imagine getting something high maintenance, like a surprise puppy, LOL.