Pets make the worst presents

It’s cold outside, dinner’s cooking, you’re trying to clean the house before your family comes over; there are decorations and wrapping paper everywhere and it’s busy – so much busier than a normal day. It’s Christmas, then New Year’s, then belated Christmas dinners, and more functions, and then your friends come over. It’s the most wonderful – and the most stressful – time of year for humans, and even more so for pets.

Even for the pet that’s experienced family get-togethers time and time again, it is unbelievably stressful. They can be stepped on, eat something they shouldn’t when no one is watching, their usual spot is taken or their bed is moved elsewhere, they are not getting the attention they’re used to, their activity schedule is off, you name it. It’s extremely overwhelming even for a seasoned cat or dog. It’s best to give your pet a safe place to hang out during these gatherings – a place that’s away from foot traffic and the door, equipped with a comfortable bed, food, water and toys to play with.

Now, imagine being new to the family amidst the chaos. There are a million new faces, it’s a new environment, there’s a new bed, new bowl – a new everything for the pet, which is a lot to take in on a normal day. But, on Christmas, there’s SO many things going on for you, (or the recipient) that you won’t have the time, space, or energy to properly welcome the pet into their new home and make the transition a smooth one.

But before you even get to that point, of trying to gift an animal, you really have to consider that you are giving another person, maybe your kids for example, the responsibility of a life. It’s a financial, physical and emotional, lifetime commitment to feed, walk, and provide water, love, attention and affection to an animal. That’s not the type of commitment to take lightly.

You cannot guarantee the potential recipient will be a responsible pet guardian, especially when the novelty of a new animal can wear off quickly with other gifts, family members, more presents, and everything else that’s happening during the holidays. That’s why, shortly after Christmas –months and weeks- there’s an influx of animals surrendered to shelters because the idea of a pet as a gift wasn’t planned for or thought through accordingly.

Don’t make this mistake. Pets are the absolute worst gift you could give someone.

Pets are a lifetime commitment, and finding the right fit is so, so important for the relationship to be mutual beneficial and fulfilling for both the guardian and the animal.

So, whether it’s Christmas or a birthday, really consider the person, the pet, the lifestyle, everything. If someone wants a pet, they should be the one to decide who it is they are bringing home and make the final decision.

So, perhaps the gift, if this is something you want to do for your kids, for example, can be a pet bed, toys, food dishes, or something to signify that there’s a plan.  But you should not commit to a pet as the gift itself – it’s just too much for the animal to experience. If you opt for pet gear as a gift, (mostly, this is for kids), go, as a family (or couple) and let the recipient(s) adopt the animal they feel most connected to.

Anytime you bring a new pet home, it should always be on a day where the attention is all on them and they can get to know the environment without being overwhelmed.

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