Why You Should Think Twice About Surprising Your Child with a Pet This Christmas
One of the biggest surprises you can get your child for Christmas isn’t the latest game or gadget, but a pet. We’ve all heard the stories of kids being elated as they open up their gifts and get pounced on by a ball of fluff. The thought is enough to make your heart warmer than hot cocoa.
If your child has been asking for a puppy or a kitten for Christmas, you may be tempted to go out and make their dreams come true. However, owning a pet isn’t like owning a new video game console or a bike. A pet is a big responsibility, and you should use logic rather than emotions when considering one.
What’s the problem with Christmas adoption?
Many families that adopt pets during the Christmas season usually do not have any prior pet experience. Instead of making sure they’re capable of owning pets before they make the commitment, families adopt and soon realize the puppy or kitten was more than they bargained for. After a few months the animal is sent to a shelter, the child is upset, and the parents feel awful.
Here are a few important things to consider before surprising your child (or anyone else) with a puppy or kitten for Christmas.
Do you have the time and money?
Being the owner of a pet makes a dent in your wallet. Pet food, visits to the vet, tailoring your home to make it pet-suitable…these all add up. Many parents spend a couple hundred dollars on adoption fees, thinking that’s the most they’ll pay. This is a mistake.
If you’re a parent who works a lot or finds yourself flooded with extra-curricular activities, you should realize that owning a pet requires time out of the day. You’ll need to be around the house a good deal to take care of your pet, especially during its first few months in your home! If you can’t do that, you may want to hire a pet sitter.
Is your child responsible enough?
A pet can teach your child about responsibility. He or she will have to feed, water, walk, play with, and clean up after it. Parents can’t do all the work!
While this responsibility can help a child mature and realize how difficult it is to take care of something else, if your little one is irresponsible, easily distracted, too young, or too rough with animals, you may have to wait a little while until he or she is ready for a pet.
Can you train your puppy or kitten?
Odds are, you want to surprise your child with a puppy or a kitten and not a full-grown animal. This is fine, but young animals require lots of training. This means patience, determination, and persistence from both you and your child. If you’re unclear on how to train an animal, you’ll want to do more research before you adopt.
Think about it!
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring home a four-legged friend this Christmas, but you should put some thought into it, do your homework, and prepare beforehand. Do you have the time, money, resources, and responsibility for a puppy or kitten? If so, surprise your child! If not, choose another awesome gift for Christmas this year.