Owning a pet is a huge responsibility. That may seem obvious to you but I’m consistently amazed by how many people want me to help them find a new home for their dog or cat when things get messy, difficult, or time-consuming (otherwise known as normal).
By the time the cuteness and novelty of a new pet wears off, that idea for a great gift might not seem so great.
Please, before you give a puppy or kitten as a Christmas present—or any other type of present—stop and consider all of the time, energy, patience, love and money required to be a responsible pet guardian.
I can’t stress this enough.
The overflow of purebred and mixed puppies and kittens in the shelters during February and March tells the whole story. Here are the statistics as reported by the ASPCA:
- Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year.
- Approximately 3 million to 4 million animals are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats) annually.
Do your research. Learn about the breed that you are bringing into your home to understand if the breed characteristics fit your lifestyle. Some breeds are diggers, chewers, more stubborn than others, harder to train, have higher energy levels, are more sensitive, have constant grooming needs or have high health risks.
Additionally, animals cost money. The average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog or cat can run between $600 to $900 annually.
If you're fully prepared, know what you're getting into and are all set to give or receive a pet for Christmas then congratulations. Be ready for one of the most meaningful relationships you'll ever have.