Things to Know Before You Buy a Pet for Christmas

A lot of people gift themselves or others pets for Christmas. Parents buy pets for their kids, single people adopt a homeless animal for companionship, and friends give their BFF a pet to share the love. But before you up and give someone (including yourself) a pet for Christmas, there are a few things that you should consider first.

Do you/the receiver have the money?

Pets cost a lot more than the adoption fee and a bag of food. If you are considering getting a pet for Christmas (or giving one to someone else) are you or they financially able to take care of a pet? For a typical cat or dog, average annual costs hover around $1000. And considering that animals can live up to 15 or 20 years, we’re talking $20,000 over the lifetime of your pet. Costs can be even higher if your pet gets sick or needs extensive training. Just make sure whoever will be taking care of the pet can care for it financially.

Do you/the receiver have the time?

Pets also cost a lot in time – especially cats and dogs, which are social creatures that crave love and attention. It takes time to train them, groom them, play with them, feed them, and clean up after them. Will the animal be left at home alone all day long? Do you travel for days or weeks at a time? A pet will become a full-time member of the family and can’t be ignored like an inanimate Christmas gift. Make sure you have the time to care for your pet as it deserves.

Where do you/the receiver live?

Also consider your living conditions. Big, boisterous dogs need space to run around and play in. Don’t even think about getting a German Shepard if you live in a tiny studio apartment. Also, does your building/landlord allow pets in the building? Think about whether or not an animal would be happy living where you do.

Do you/they have the temperament to be a pet-owner?

As cute as those fluffy little faces are on the first day or two, some people quickly sour towards their pet when they pee on the floor, scratch up the furniture, shed all over your clothes, or whine throughout the night. Make sure you are prepared to handle small catastrophes learn patience for this cute, but troublesome addition to the family.

Does anyone that will live with the pet have allergies?

It’s always unfortunate when an excited family prepares for and adopts a pet, only to find out a few days later that someone is severely allergic to the new pet. Have everyone tested and/or visit the intended adoptee for extended periods of time to make sure no one will have any allergic reactions to the pet.

Hopefully this hasn’t deterred you from adopting a pet this holiday season if you are truly prepared. Many wonderful animals need homes this Christmas season, and just as the pet will be a gift to you, you will be the greatest gift to your new pet!

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