Remember, pets are not just for Christmas!
The slogan ‘pets are not just for Christmas’ may be 35 years old, but it remains as poignant and accurate today as ever before.
With the festive season just a few weeks away, it is important that you understand why pets are a lifelong commitment and not a festive fad.
How we are avoiding this scenario
These days, a large number of dog rehoming centres, responsible breeders and various privately owned pet shops are choosing to put a ban on adopting or buying a dog during the month of December. This ban has gone a long way towards stopping people from buying puppies on a whim.
The majority of people who choose to purchase a dog in the lead up to Christmas have put little research into the responsibility that comes with such an animal. Prior to buying a dog, it’s important to do the necessary research. If you’ve decided on a particular breed, it’s a good idea to learn about their daily exercise quota – if you work long hours, ask yourself ‘are you going to have time to walk your new family member?’
Those who leave small puppies home alone may come back to find sofas, the daily post and various other household objects in ruins. Other factors to consider include how much the dog eats – large dogs can be extremely expensive to feed and it’s amazing how many people forget to equate this into their weekly budget.
Other expenses include costly veterinary bills, pet insurance, toys, treats and kennels.
No-adoption December policies
Although a series of ‘no-adoption December’ policies have been put in place, it’s by no means impossible to purchase a dog at Christmas time. A number of dogs still end up abandoned or surrendered to shelters, sometimes before the New Year is through, so it’s important that you act responsibly.
Doing your part
If your child is hinting to waking up to a puppy on Christmas morning, it’s important not to rush into this decision. If this is what your child really wants, it’s a good idea to sit down with them and learn the ins and outs of dog ownership together. Only then will you be able to make an educated decision as to whether or not a new dog is a good addition to the family household.
Embark on a trial run
If you have friends or family members who already own a dog, offer to help them with their dog duties for the week. This way you’ll learn just how difficult it is to care for a dog – even on a part-time basis. This is a great way to learn the ins and outs of looking after a dog, including information on feeding times, when they need walks, baths, vet appointments and what they’re allowed to eat. This will help you to determine whether you’re actually committed to the idea of owning and helping to take care of a new pet and will help any children get a greater understanding of what it is like to have an animal too.
Choose the breed wisely
Certain breeds are more suitable to certain individuals and household set-ups. For example, if you live in a small apartment in a city centre and only have a small budget for a dog, the likes of a Great Dane is the least likely canine candidate you should consider. A smaller dog that requires less exercise is a much better option in these scenarios.
Always research dog breeds carefully before buying an animal and ensure that you are aware of the following for the type of animal you choose:
- Average size when fully grown
- Average lifespan of the animal
- Any hereditary or common health problems
- Grooming requirements
- Eating habits and amount of food they should be given
- Exercise requirements