It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Are you still searching for the perfect present for someone special in your life? Perhaps you are considering giving a gift as a pet. However, unlike a sweater or a pair of movie tickets, pets require extensive research in order to be prepared. Before you put that puppy or kitten underneath the Christmas tree, read through these four considerations.

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.

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.

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.

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.

With adequate research and planning, a pet can make a wonderful gift. If you have any questions or concerns about giving a pet as a gift, contact us for help.