Is someone in your life hoping that Santa leaves a new furry friend underneath the Christmas tree this year? Pets can make great gifts, and it’s fun to think of the delight on someone’s face once they see their newest companion. But not so fast: While pets are certainly a lot of fun and a bundle of cuteness, they also come with responsibilities. Here are four things you should consider before giving a pet as a gift. 

Time

Will your new pet be left alone for 8+ hours every day? Will you or someone in your family have time to walk a new dog or play with a new cat? What about cleaning up your dog’s business in the backyard or cleaning out the kitty litter regularly? And, consider the time required to properly train a new pet. If your family neglects to teach your new companion right from wrong, you’ll all regret it later. Pets require a significant time commitment, and your child should understand all that’s involved before asking Santa for a puppy.

Money

Just because Santa is delivering a “free” pet on Christmas morning, doesn’t mean that companion won’t cost you in the future. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $69.51 billion on their pets in 2017. Expenditures included food, supplies, over-the-counter medications, veterinary care, grooming, boarding, and more.

Lifestyle

Are you a family of hikers or loungers? Do you live in a condo with no outdoor space or a house with a fenced backyard? Before adding a pet to the family, you must consider your family’s lifestyle and the needs of the pet. An energetic dog will need frequent exercise, a high jumper will need a fence high enough to keep him in the yard, and a lap dog will want a homebody who enjoys cuddling.

Commitment

When you purchase or adopt a new pet, it’s a lifelong commitment. Many children beg and plead for a new pet, only to eventually tire of the companion and leave all the pet duties to Mom or Dad. If your child really wants a pet, she’ll still be asking in April, long after the holiday décor has been packed away and Santa is back at the North Pole.

A pet should be a good fit for everyone before they become an addition to the family. You can prepare yourself and the recipient of your gift by doing research and planning ahead. Contact us if you have any questions.