“The Good Word” by Dr. Carol Good – Rockford Animal Hospital

*Giving a Pet for Christmas?*

     Puppies and Kittens with red bows, popping out of a basket to the delighted squeals of children on Christmas morning seems like the perfect gift on TV commercials and holiday movies. But, are they really a good Christmas present?   The answer actually depends on the answers to these three questions:

1)    Does the person and their family want a pet?

2)    Does the person have time for a pet?

3)    Can the person afford to care for a pet?

Always ask the person (or their parents/family) before gifting a pet. It is important to make sure they really want a pet and the timing is right. If a person is taking off for a vacation over Christmas, they won’t be home to care for a new pet.

Be honest about the time commitment a pet takes. If the person receiving the pet has only a few days off around the holidays with no one at home after they go back to work, who will raise and train a puppy? In this case, a fully trained, adult dog or a cat might be a better choice for a gift.

Pets are not a one-time expense kind of gift. Even though the pet is “free”, they need food, toys, leashes, litterboxes and veterinary care for the rest of their lives. The new pet parent needs to be prepared and capable of taking on the expenses of caring for a pet.

If all the questions above are considered and answered appropriately, a new pet can be a wonderful gift. In fact, it may be the best gift ever!

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