As Christmas draws nearer, people are starting to think about the gifts they could give to their loved ones that would make this festive season a memorable one.
Many know someone who would love nothing more than a new furry friend this holiday, but is it a good idea to give pets as gifts during this festive season?
Christmas can be a hectic time for a lot of households, with some struggling to deal with the responsibility of looking after a new pet along with all the other demands of the holiday season.
Amy Ockelford of the RSPCA said:
Christmas, in particular, can be a busy and hectic time for many households. Unusual noise, activities and extra demands upon the household can make it difficult for any pet to settle into their new homes so it is not always the best time to introduce them.”
TAG Pet Rescue in Kent in fact feel very strongly that pets should not be given as gifts at Christmas having said:
We are totally opposed to giving pets as Christmas presents. Sadly we often get people coming to us saying someone bought them a cat, dog, bunny etc and they don’t want it. In fact we would not rehome one of our pets around the Christmas week for that very reason.”
However, you should not be completely discouraged from giving pets to family and friends this Christmas as long as you take precautions beforehand.
Do your research
Before buying or adopting a pet for someone else, do your research on the needs of the particular animal. For example, a German Shepherd might not receive the care it needs if the person you are thinking of giving it to has a busy life, whereas a reptile might be more ideal as they typically require less care.
Always ask beforehand
Although some of the magic of Christmas are the surprises that come with gift giving, in this case you should always make sure the person you are getting the pet for is actually prepared to look after it. Pets are for more than Christmas, and therefore it’s key that the person you are getting the animal for is dedicated to looking after it for as long as it lives.
Know who you are getting it for
You should always know and trust the person you are getting the pet for. This is extremely important because if you don’t know whom you are getting the pet for very well, there is always the risk that the pet will not be looked after as well as it should be or that they did not in fact want the pet at all.
Know who you are buying from
Buying pets at any time of the year can be risky, so its key that you make sure the person you’re buying from is properly looking after the animal. Cats and dogs are particularly at risk from this, with there being a wide range of unethical breeders across the UK, so it’s very important to look into who you are planning to buy from.
Becky Thwaites of the Blue Cross said:
Whatever time of year you decide to take on a new pet, please beware of unscrupulous and unethical sellers. We have admitted poorly young puppies and kittens in all of our animal hospitals because they had not been vaccinated or had been taken from their mother when too young. When the new pets became ill their sellers vanished and owners had not been given relevant vaccination records or microchip paperwork.”
Plan for the pets arrival
With a wide range of shops being shut around the Christmas period it is essential that the person you are getting the pet for is well equipped. If you are giving the gift of a cat to someone for example, make sure that you have the necessary items such as a litter tray in order to properly care for the pet.
Even though the RSPCA do have their concerns about giving pets as gifts for Christmas, they do still urge people to adopt a pet if they are capable of looking after it:
If you are confident that you can meet a pet’s needs, then please consider visiting your local RSPCA centre or branch to pick out a pet that best suits your lifestyle.”