Animal Friends Blog
Christmas is a special time, with families coming together safely to spend some quality time with one another after a unique year If your children have asked for a pet from Santa, there are some things to consider before buying one for the big day.
Should I buy a pet for my child this Christmas?
Getting a pet can be such an exciting time and might seem like the perfect gift for a child that wants nothing more than a four-legged friend to be under the tree on Christmas day. Unfortunately, Christmas might not be the best time to get a pet, here’s why.
The excitement can wear off quite quickly
Even though they might get jealous of friends who have pets, or love playing with the animals that live in a relative’s house, it can be quite a different experience when they’re your own. They might have promised to care for it, keep on top of its training or clean up its messes, but it might not be as fun as they thought.
With buying or adopting a cat or dog being a lifelong commitment, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s something the entire family want and are willing to contribute towards its care.
Christmas is busy enough as it is
Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone; there are gifts to open, toys to play with, food to cook and a house to tidy. It’s the month of disruption and new pets can be easily disturbed or frightened as they’re not given the right opportunity to calmly settle into their new environment.
Not the right pet
Getting the right pet to suit your home and family is all part of being a responsible pet owner, so it’s important that you research every breed before taking on a new animal. This is to make sure you can meet their grooming, exercise and diet needs which are sometimes overlooked in the excitement of a new addition.
What can I get my child instead of a pet?
While it might be disappointing for them not to see a cat or dog waiting for them on Christmas day, there are some alternatives you can do and give to help nurture their love of pets.
A cuddly toy
You might be able to buy a toy version of the pet they want. With lots of breed-specific toys out there, you can personalise the gift depending on what your child has wished for. Some of these toys are now interactive, meaning they can walk or talk and need to be fed. While it’s not quite the real thing, it will offer some excitement at Christmas.
Sponsor an animal
Charities around the country, large and small, often offer their supporters a chance to sponsor an animal. You’ll be able to receive regular updates, with some offering certificates and cuddly toys as part of certain packages or sponsor levels. This gift gives your child the chance to ‘care’ for an animal until they get their own pet.
Visit a rescue centre
Why not visit a rescue centre with your family? This will allow you to speak to the staff and volunteers who can help you determine whether rescuing a pet is right for you. You’ll also get to learn how the animals at the charity will spend their Christmas, with some centres taking in donations of toys or food.
You could also buy a book on their chosen pet which will help them prepare for the animal’s care if you decide on buying or adopting a new pet later on.
New pet necessities
If you are planning on buying or adopting a new pet in the new year then you could buy some new pet necessities like a bed, collar, lead or toys. This gives your child the promise of a new pet, without the stress of adding to your family over Christmas.
How do I say ‘no’ nicely?
Saying no is never nice, especially if it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings. It’s important that you explain just how stressful Christmas can be for new pets and that another month would be better for everyone. They might get upset at the news but remember to stick to your decision.
Santa Claus doesn’t deliver animals, either, so you could blame the man in red for the time being until you know that a new addition is right for your family.
Whatever you decide, make sure you do your research before making a final decision.
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