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Most veterinarians repeatedly ask people not to give a pet as a Christmas gift. This is a fairly busy time in most households, and often a time when people leave their home to visit with relatives and friends. New pets can find itself neglected, or possibly injured in an unfamiliar environment. Additionally, certain Christmas items, like tinsel or easily breakable ornaments and Christmas lights, may be extremely dangerous to untrained animals, and can cause death or significant injury.
Most new pets, especially puppies and kittens, benefit from a fairly calm and predictable environment when getting used to a home. A Christmas morning puppy or kitten may seem very appealing, but the puppy peeing all over the floor every time well-wishers ring the doorbell is not. If a family plans to have guests to Christmas dinner, this gives the animal immediate misunderstandings about who lives in the house. Most pets need to be secure in their environment before introducing it to guests.
While a little insecurity or puppy pee is not a danger, the trappings of Christmas can be. As well as the above-mentioned problems, crumpled up wrapping paper may be chewed, chocolate Christmas cake might be ingested, or alcohol imbibed. People visiting are no more used to the new pet than the it is used to them, so this may cause immediate and costly issues. A dog with a full belly of chocolate may require emergency treatment and the bill is quite likely to rob the new owner any remaining Christmas cheer.
People often don’t take their travel plans for the holidays into consideration when getting a new pet. Leaving an animal, especially a young one, in an unfamiliar house is quite risky and unkind. Similarly, taking a new pet only to send it off to be boarded a few days later does not really make a lot of sense.
Instead, veterinarians recommend that if someone wants to give a pet for Christmas, he or she should make arrangements with a breeder to keep the it until after the New Year. When life settles down to its normal pace, it is far easier to train and bond with the animal. If it is for a child, a picture of their puppy or kitten can be presented on Christmas morning.
Alternately, someone may consider purchasing a pet for the family after the holidays, and not as a gift. This way, children won't be disappointed that a real furry little stranger didn't show up on Christmas morning. If the family is all looking forward to the new pet, a picture can be displayed of the "coming attraction" to the home.
It is acceptable to give a someone a pet for Christmas under some circumstance. For instance, if the person doesn't have a lot of plans for the holiday, then they can more easily accommodate a new animal. A house with young children is likely to be a jolly and chaotic mess around the holidays, however, and these are not ideal conditions for introducing a pet to a household.
The last thing that anyone wants, of course, is to give a pet that will quickly be sent to the shelter. Adopting or purchasing a pet requires careful consideration as to breed, temperament, and housing needs. Many people are swayed by Christmas shopping compulsion and the cute puppy in the window, but cuteness only lasts so long. Bringing a pet home is serious business that requires a 10 to 15 year commitment from its new owners.