Buying A Pet For A Christmas Gift? Think Again…

During the 2015 festive season, RSPCA Victoria took in 11,570 unwanted dogs, and 11,673 cats. The organisation fears the same number of animals to be dumped again this year.

It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit, but animal welfare groups are once again reminding the public not to buy pets as Christmas presents after shocking statistics from RSPCA Victoria were revealed.

Simon Richards from the RSPCA pleads with parents not to buy pets for children around Christmas time. “Think of it like this; for that 10 year old daughter or son you are buying that puppy or kitten for, potentially that puppy or kitten is still going to be around when the child is 25 to 30 years old,” He said.

“Without advocating a completely pet-free Christmas, it is important that the decision is well researched and planned, taking into consideration facts like how big your yard is, what your lifestyle is like, and whether you can afford it or not.”

Some of these aforementioned costs can include yearly veterinerary costs, pet insurance, food, housing and training, making a pet a costly financial decision.

Should you decide, with careful consideration, that you would still like to purchase a pet as a Christmas gift, the RSPCA recommends buyers:

  • Go to a shelter to adopt a pet or visit
  • If you decide to use a breeding service, ensure you meet the mother and father to check they’re happy and healthy
  • Also ensure the breeder has provided a high standard of care and living conditions for all of their animals

If you’re still unsure about the responsibility involved with caring for an animal, Pet Insurance Australia Spokeswomen Nadia Crighton has come up with a fantastic idea.

“If you really want to invite a new animal into your home, consider popping a collar under the tree, and then having a discussion about it with your family members. It is never a good idea to surprise someone with something as large as a pet, and the recipient should always be a part of the planning process.” She said.

Animals Australia has also put together a list of the 10 Commandments of Responsible Pet Ownership that everybody should consider before making a purchase decision:

buy a pet for christmas 1. Feed an adequate balanced diet.
2. Supply clean cool water at all times.
3. Provide a cozy, dry sleeping area.
4. Provide the dog with regular exercise and allow the pet regular family contact.
5. Protect the health of the dog and cat, particularly: vaccinations, regular worm control (including heartworm for dogs) & control of fleas and ticks.
6. Register the pet with the local council and ensure the registration tag and owner’s name and address is on the collar when the pet is outside the home. Cats should have an identification tag on an elasticised collar.
7. Confine the dog to the property at all times, especially at night. Cats should be kept inside the house or garage overnight.
8. Train the dog so that it is not a nuisance to neighbours, for example, by barking or attacking people or other animals.
9. Dogs and cats that are not used for breeding should be desexed. Female dogs that are not desexed require a fully enclosed pen, including a roof.
10.   Ensure the dog or cat is adequately cared for during holidays, preferably at a reputable boarding kennel or cattery.

Source: Animals Australia; adapted from Bureau of Animal Welfare, Victoria

In summary, pets are for life, and should never, ever be purchased on the spur of the moment. It is important to think the decision through carefully and thoroughly before bringing a pet into somebody’s life. By waiting until the end of the holiday season, you’re giving yourself and your family enough time to consider some of the financial consequences involved in owning a pet, and in turn, if you decide to adopt, the opportunity to give your furry friend it’s best life possible.

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