Are you thinking of getting yourself or a loved one a pet for Christmas?
We all know the saying “A pet is for life, not just for Christmas”… well it is a universal truth. You shouldn’t get a pet unless you can look after one properly, or you are certain the person you are getting the pet for is commited and able to look after the pet properly.
Here is our list of ten things you should consider before getting a pet for Christmas.
1 – Can you cope with the demands of a pet?
You are dealing with the life of another being, so don’t take the decision lightly.
2 – Do you have enough time to look after a pet?
If you live a busy life with only a couple of hours spare a day, will you have enough time to look after a pet properly?
3 – Do you have the money to look after a pet?
Pets cost money. As well as vet bills, you will need to spend a lot of money on food and supplies for a pet. Some pets that need their own environment like fish, turtles or lizards can be very expensive to look after. The electricity bill alone is quite considerable.
4 – Do you have the space?
Even small pets can take up lots of room, and you wouldn’t want to lock an animal up in a small cramped space. How would you feel if you lived in a tiny space your whole life?
5 – Can you commit for a long period?
Some pets may actually outlive you. Tortoises for example can live over 100 years!
6 – Can you get them in an ethical way?
If you are going to get a pet, why not get one from an animal sanctuary? So many animals are put down every year because they don’t have homes, that it would be silly to encourage more to be bred by breeders.
If you are buying an “exotic” pet can you be sure it hasn’t been poached from its natural environment and smuggled into the country? Will you be funding poachers and gangsters?
7 – Will you still love them when they are old?
Puppies and kittens inevitably get older, and harder to look after.
8 – Can you trust the animal around children?
All dogs can be dangerous and unpredictable. If you are planning on having children or have children you should think carefully.
9 – Will your landlord allow pets? What if you move?
Many landlords do not allow pets. It might be okay now, but can you guarantee this for 15 years+?
10 – Do you go away for days at a time regularly?
Do you often go on business, visit relatives or go on holiday for more than a day? Will you be able to look after your pet or provide cover all the time?
Looking after a pet isn’t easy. Also giving a pet to someone else (possibly with out asking them) can be a little irresponsible. Can you really guarantee that they will be looked after until they die? Can you guarantee that you or the person you are giving them to will be able to afford the thousands that it costs to look after them?
Make sure you think it through. Having a pet can be a great thing, but you need to be sure that the pet’s welfare comes first.
Article updated December 2010.
Photo of Ella the puppy by jpctalbot