That time of year is nearly upon us again: Christmas shopping season. Impulse buying will be at an all-year high, with emotions running all over the place. Most families find buying a pet for Christmas extremely alluring. But to paraphrase the famous adage, a pet is for life not just for Christmas.
Taking on a pet is a serious lifestyle choice, and needs to be thought about seriously. What will the food cost you? Can you give them the necessary exercise? How much will the pet insurance cost?
There’s no question that having a pet is very rewarding. So, read on for a guide to giving an animal a home this festive season.
Does it have to be Christmas?
The reason we ask is because pet shop owners know very well that emotions run high during the holiday season. They know that you’re more likely to make an impulse purchase after a glass of mulled wine when you gaze into that kitten’s eyes.
So, that’s why they hike up their prices over Christmas. More people get teary-eyed while they’re doing their Christmas shopping, so it’s not surprising that December is a goldmine for pet shop owners.
You’ll probably end up spending less if you wait a couple of months. Alternatively, steer clear of pet shops and opt for a dog or cat shelter; they’re usually free, and in dire need of owners!
Is the recipient responsible enough?
It might be worth thinking through whether the recipient of your kind gift is actually responsible enough to raise a pet. Many children want nothing more than a pet, and they can be great for teaching responsibility, but what are you letting the animal in for?
It’s fairly obvious that a pet isn’t an object; it’s a sentient being with feelings, and it takes a certain degree of responsibility to own one. What you also have to keep in mind is that, if for some reason the recipient can’t assume this responsibility, you’re going to have to!
If you’re going through with it, there will be other costs…
Of course, after you pick up your new little friend, you’re going to have to make a few other stops and spend a little more money on other essentials and accessories. If you’re buying a puppy, you might need a leash, a collar (possibly with its name and address engraved), food and water bowls, and so on.
The same applies to other animals. If you’re a cat person, you’ll want to go for a collar too, a cat perch so it doesn’t ruin your furniture, a litter box and so on.
Preparing to integrate a new member of the family
If you’ve got children around, you’ll have to instruct them how to behave and treat the new pet. You’ll also need to start co-ordinating who’s going to be home for the holidays to take care of your furry friend.
Basically, you’ll need to prepare adequately for the new circumstances. There’s quite a lot to think about and organise; make sure you do before you make a purchase.