It's nearing Christmas and a certain furry baby is drawing at your heartstrings. Perhaps he's so cute and cuddly, you want him for your own or maybe your child has been begging to take him home. No matter the reason, you would like to bring him home for Christmas. Is it humane to give a pet as a Christmas gift? The answer can depend on several things.
Are you adopting the pet as entertainment? Animals may look all sweet and cute in the shelter or pet store window. They also can be quite fun. But is that the only reason you are adopting them? If so, you should probably leave the animal for someone else to care for. Having a pet is rewarding, but it's also a huge responsibility. A pet parent should be willing to handle the responsibility, as well as enjoy the fun. You can't choose one or the other.
Will the pet be a toy to your kids? if this is just your child's latest interest, a pet may be better off with another family. Animals are not toys. They have feelings too and deserve to be with a family who realizes this. Parents, please educate your kids before adopting a pet.
How will you introduce the pet as a gift?
- Rescue a shelter pet. Christmas is about compassion. If you want to do the right thing, choose shelter animals, who are often at high risk of being euthanized. Shelter pets often come with shots, a spay or neuter, and a microchip. Many pet stores do not offer this, some deal with inhumane breeders, and some also charge a higher adoption fee.
- A pet is best presented without gift wrap and inappropriate enclosures. This is a gift best presented before the holiday and chosen by the intended pet owner. Both pet and owner need to have a bond and should be introduced before making a decision to adopt. A puppy might look cute sitting inside a decorated gift box. But, that's no place for a living creature to be for an extended period of time.
- A pet should not be a surprise gift. This can lead to the pet ending up abused or in a shelter. Be sure the recipient will be responsible for the pet and has knowledge and desire to be a pet parent.
More about adopting pets:
Should You Adopt a Stray Animal with Kids in the House?
Parents, Please Educate Your Kids Before Adopting a Pet
How to Tell Your Child 'No' to Having a Pet