|[an error occurred while processing this directive]|
Don't Let the Puppy Get Lost In The TinselIt's hard to resist the joy of giving your favorite loved one the pet they've always wanted for Christmas. However, the result of many of these well intentioned gifts is animals that are unwanted, uncared for and oftentimes sent to shelters. An animal of any kind (even one as small as a fish or a hamster) is not a light, last minute purchase. Bringing a new life into the house should be well thought out and discussed with the entire family.
Holiday pets often get ignored in the holiday rush. Christmas morning is filled with so many presents, lots of food, family and relatives coming over...then there's New Years in a few days. You think it's stressful on you? Thank about what a pet who's never been in your house before would be thinking. A new pet needs lots of quiet and calm. A new puppy or kitten needs to watched constantly and settle into a routine so they can become a happy member of the family. This is impossible to accomplish on Christmas. The new pet will just end up confused and scared.
Never give someone (or their kid) a pet or a pet setup without asking them if it's ok first. Aunt Martha is going to be upset if you give her children a guinea pig cage when she is dead set against giving them a guinea pig. The kids will be upset that she says no, she'll be mad at you and nobody will have a good time. It's better to ask Aunt Martha first.
You should never pick an actual pet for another person, even a child. Bring the child along to pick out the animal and let it be a family event. All animals (even hamsters and fish) have distinct personalities and letting your entire family help with the choice makes the animal more special to them. Besides, don't you want to see how the puppy interacts with your entire family? That great puppy you pick out for your son might not like kids. Your son might decide the puppy you like plays too rough. Your kids may decide they'd rather have a cat!
New PuppiesAlmost every child asks Santa for one, however a dog is MAJOR purchase and a new puppy needs lots of attention and care. With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas/New Year holiday, the puppy probably won't get the attention it needs. That's not even taking into account all the ribbon, trees, rich Christmas foods, chocolate and other dangers the puppy could unintentionally get in while your family is busy with their other gifts.
Alternate ideas: Give the kids a stuffed puppy and tell them the new puppy is coming. Wrap a puppy bowl, collar, crate and other puppy supplies with a "certificate" to get a puppy at a later date. All of this stuff should be set up and ready for the puppy when it comes home anyway. This way, you and your family can set it up while you tell them about the responsibility of a new dog. Another great idea is a few books on puppy care (especially if you have an older child).
New KittensKittens don't take quite as much attention as puppies but they can still get into a lot of trouble at Christmas. Kittens are notorious for swallowing tinsel and ribbon and getting lots of stomach problems. Small kittens scare easily and the safest retreat will probably be up the tree which can be dangerous.
Alternate ideas: Cat care kits, litter boxes, cat toys, books on kitten care. The litter box and a bed for kitty should be in place before he gets to his new house. You and the kids can decide where to put it.
FishI have a very nice reef tank that I take great pride in. I've actually had well meaning people bring me fish for my aquarium. It's a nice thought, but oftentimes the fish are incompatible with my current setup. That normally means I have to run back to the pet store while the poor fish suffers in a bag. I've also seen people give betta fish in a jar as gifts. I'm not going to rant about how cruel this setup is to the fish (you can read about it here) but oftentimes the fish get ignored and die because they are given to people who just won't care for them.
Alternate ideas: A much better gift than actual fish is a tank setup. Instead of the beta, get someone a 2 gallon tank for their desk. You should also consider gift certificates. Instead of buying your friend some new guppies for their oscar tank, get them a certificate to your favorite pet store so they can pick out what they want.
Small AnimalsSmall animals may be small but that doesn't mean they are without worry. Did you know rabbits and ferrets live almost as long as dogs do? Guinea pigs should live around 7 years. Hamsters should live around 3. It's not something you should just give your boss's son without thinking about it. It's 3-10 years of commitment.
Alternate ideas: How about a cage setup with a gift certificate instead.
Q and AHave a pet question you want answered? Ask me! I'll respond to your question for free.
Please note that due to the volume of requests I receive and the time it takes to answer some of the more complicated questions, I cannot answer every question received and I will not answer duplicate questions. However, I will try my best to get to all of them in a timely manner.
Content on this site is for information purposes only and not meant to replace veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian for specific advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet.
All info copyright © Amanda Galiano