As a young child, did a new puppy or kitten always top your Christmas list? Are your children begging for the same this year? Although nothing is sweeter than watching your children’s eyes light up with love for a new pet, the hectic holiday season is not the best time to welcome a furry companion into your home. Gifting a living creature is a serious commitment, and should never be taken lightly, whether it’s a goldfish, hamster, cat, or dog. Someone may say they wouldn’t mind a pet for a holiday gift, but then feel entirely different when it comes true. Here are five reasons why gifting a pet, especially during the busy holiday season, is not the best idea—for children or adults. 

#1: You can’t devote much time to a new pet during the holiday season

Do you spend more time running errands and visiting friends and family over the holidays than you spend at home? If so, bringing a new pet into this situation, when a move is already stressful enough, is not right. Many people are too busy with holiday festivities to focus on welcoming a new pet into their homes, much less providing a calm, stable, relaxing environment.

#2: Pets are a big commitment and may not be an ideal gift

When gifting a pet to your child, you understand that you will likely be the one taking care of them, but gifting a pet to another person is an entirely different situation. While your friend or family member may talk about finding a new cat or dog, they may not mean at that time. Knowing if a person is actually ready to invest time and money into the big commitment a pet requires to be happy and healthy is difficult. 

#3: Choosing a new pet is a personal decision

Choosing a pet to add to your family is a personal decision. While your friend may say they want a Labrador puppy, they vary widely in colors, personality types, and appearances, as well as the dog’s purpose. Are they looking for a family companion, or a duck-hunting dog? A therapy dog, or a hiking buddy? Without knowing all the details, you may choose the wrong pet for your friend or family member. Plus, many people want to pick out their own pet. 

#4: Holidays stretch finances, and new pets are expensive

There’s no doubt about it—pet ownership can be costly, especially in the first year when purchasing supplies and needing veterinary services. Budgets are already stretched by the holiday season, and a new pet may stretch the recipient’s budget further. Consider gifting pet supplies instead, and let them choose their own pet after the holiday season. 

#5: The holiday season can be stressful for a new pet

Imagine being uprooted from everything you’ve known, plunked into a chaotic situation, and expected to adapt immediately. Pets given as holiday gifts are expected to perform this miraculous feat, often with little chance to settle in, which can lead to stress- and fear-related aggression. Give a new pet the best chance to integrate with their new family, home, and lifestyle by introducing them after the commotion of the holiday season. 

If your child is begging for a new pet this Christmas, make the occasion special by setting a date for visiting animal shelters, breed rescues, or local rescue groups, and meet the pets looking for a home, after giving yourself time to unwind after the Christmas and New Year chaos. Before Christmas, put together a new-pet gift basket that will go under the tree for your child to open Christmas morning, to reassure them a new pet is indeed coming. The basket can include a new pet’s necessities, such as a cozy bed—or proper habitat for exotic pets—and toys and treats. Your child will still be overjoyed at the thought of a new pet, and the new addition will appreciate settling into your home during a more relaxed time. 

We can’t wait to meet your new pet! Once you’ve welcomed your new companion into your family, allow us to welcome them into the Medina Veterinary Clinic family and ensure their good health with a wellness exam. Call us to schedule an appointment.