Pets for Christmas?

PDSA’s advice to prospective owners

Christmas is a special time for families. It’s lovely to spend time together and enjoy the festive fun. We can almost forget that life isn’t always like this and so, for some people, this is the time that thoughts turn to getting a new pet.

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing explains why Christmas isn’t the best time to bring a new pet into your home.

“Because owning a pet is really rewarding, it’s easy to fall for the idea of getting a new furry friend. Our children especially, wholeheartedly feel and believe they’ll look after their pet every day without fail. As reality sets in, owning a pet is a lot of work and so the responsibility often falls back to the already busy parents. For those without children, the free time over the Christmas period can be tempting to fill with a new pet. Sadly, when full-time work or school routines return, pets can suffer when left home alone for hours at a time, so vets and charities strongly advise against getting new pets at Christmas.”

Pets are great company and can help our physical and mental wellbeing. But they are also a big responsibility.

Nina adds: “It’s important to do thorough research, to make sure you get the right pet for your family. Taking on a new pet and getting them in time for Christmas can lead to quick decisions that owners may later come to regret. It’s important to remember that pets need your time and energy. The cost of buying or adopting a new pet is just the start as the lifetime costs such as vaccinations, food, toys and insurance, plus other veterinary care, keep coming.

Here are Nina’s top tips for parents:

“It’s hard to say “no” at Christmas, but explain to children that getting a pet at Christmas time might make the pet unhappy. It’s important to be firm and stick to your decision. And remember that Father Christmas won’t let pets ride on his sleigh on Christmas Eve as it’s dangerous!

“Alternatives to Christmas pets could include a visit to a conservation park or nature reserve, sponsoring an animal or giving books about their chosen pet so they can learn how to look after them in the future.”

The noise and commotion around Christmas time can also worry pets, making it difficult for them to settle in to a new home.

Nina concludes: “If you’re thinking of getting a new pet, waiting a few more weeks will mean you’ll be back in your usual routine and you’ll be able to make a decision about whether or not to get a new pet, without additional pressure.”

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

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2 thoughts on “Pets for Christmas?

  1. Willow Croft says:

    Excellent! Also, some shelters in the U.S. can offer a “gift certificate” for the adoption fee that can be given at the holidays, giving the family member the time to select a new pet away from the madness of christmas, and the opportunity to find the right animal they will bond with, one that’s right for them (background/potential owner adoption screening still applies).

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