Are you considering a puppy or kitten as a gift for Christmas?
There are some very important things to consider.
There is an increase in Toronto Animal Services and Toronto Humane Society surrenders in the first few months after the holidays, this is not a coincidence. Many people bring home a puppy or kitten on Christmas not fully understanding the commitment that this involves, or the pet has been bought for them and it was not something they wanted.
Have you spoken to the intended recipient of your gift? Do they want a puppy or kitten?
This is a huge commitment, taking ownership of a pet is taking ownership of a life. The person getting this adorable kitten or puppy should be ready for this, as it’s at least a 12 year commitment for a puppy and could be a 20 year commitment for a kitten. There is house training for puppies in the winter; that’s an outside trip every 2-3 hours until pup figures it out, whether it’s snowing or not. For both puppies and kittens this is a huge financial responsibility too; vet visits, vaccines, spaying/neutering, microchips/City of Toronto licensing, training, boarding when you travel, what if they get sick? Food and all the bowls, beds and toys. Is the person you are giving this life to ready for all this? Are you buying this present for your children? There is a very high likelihood that you will in fact be taking care of this pet, is this something you have considered?
Ok so you’ve decided to get a pet for your family, when do you introduce them to your home? A great suggestion is a card or box with a picture of the cute bundle of joy as an I.O.U, with a collar and leash, or kitten toys in it. That way you can pick up your new baby the week after Christmas, once the excitement dies down. A good breeder will not send an animal home for Christmas. The holidays are overwhelming for us as humans, and it’s just as overwhelming for a new puppy or kitten. It’s best to introduce them to your home once the holidays are over and the house is back to normal. Easier to teach them your routine and an easier situation for you to teach puppy or kitten what you want from them.
Do your research, decide if this is really something you can commit to for over a decade and go from there. Bringing a puppy or kitten home is so much fun, and a pet will always add a lot to your family and home. You will always get out of a pet what you put into him or her. Meaning training and time spent teaching them what you need them to know. Christmas and the holidays may just not be the best time to bring them home.
Written by: Marion Cummings