Buying pets for Christmas presents...the dos and don'ts

Buying a pet as a gift at any time of the year requires much consideration, but as we head towards Christmas, we asked our Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sam Reitterer-Barbour to highlight why this decision requires careful thought.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the joy and excitement of a loved one receiving a new pet for Christmas. But buying a pet as a gift requires so much consideration, so we urge anyone thinking about this to carefully consider the needs of the pet and not just the new owner,” says Sam.

Our homes at Christmas

As we have detailed in previous blog posts, our homes around Christmas-time contain more hazards than ever when it comes to pet safety. Additional toxic plants, festive food and all sorts of decorations may make for a challenging time for any pet, but especially a new one. Bringing a new puppy or kitten into a house filled with guests and noise would be unsettling, too. Not only is the house itself more chaotic around Christmas, but the recipient themselves has much more to think about and adding in the additional responsibility of a pet can be overwhelming. The statistics show that in the days following Christmas Day, many kittens, puppies and other pets are left abandoned.

Is the recipient ready for a new pet?

New pets require attention, time and investment, and if they are a gifted cat, dog or small furry, it’s vital that the recipient is prepared for the commitment they will be making. We remind pet owners regularly of the value in creating the right environment at home; and of the importance of regular health checks, vaccinations, preventive care and insurance for pets to lead long, happy and healthy lives with their families.  For some, they may not have the time, lifestyle or financial means to take on the responsibility, so please make sure you check this out before gifting a pet. 

Read more about our Pet Health Plan

Sending the wrong message?

Gifting a kitten or puppy on Christmas Day can be confusing for the pet as it is suddenly thrown into the chaos of an excitable Christmas morning. And whilst the kids will be delighted to meet their new friend, having received this ‘gift’ alongside all their toys and games may also send the wrong message. A pet is not a toy or game to be played with and then discarded. It is a member of your family who needs time to settle into their new surroundings and requires consistent care and attention throughout its life. It’s a long-term commitment.

Still like the idea of a pet for Christmas?

There are ways to build the excitement of getting a new pet, and here at The Pet Vet we are all for encouraging responsible ownership and the love you can give to your choice of pet. So, perhaps rather than presenting a pet on Christmas morning, consider gifting the recipient some of the items they will need to be a good pet owner, then let them be part of the rest of the journey. A beautiful collar, a reflective vest, a cosy bed…all of these items can help build the anticipation and excitement of introducing a new member to the family. This allows you the time to discuss the full implications of owning a pet and the opportunity to research together which is the best breed or type of pet for their lifestyle.

Owning a pet can be the most fulfilling and wonderful of experiences, but it comes with a huge dose of responsibility. If you have any questions at all about adopting a pet or wish to get some advice on when and how to introduce a new member to your family, please give us a call, it’s something we are so passionate about; any member of our team would be happy to talk through your options.

We’re here when you need us.

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