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So You’re Considering a Pet for Christmas

December 12, 2011

Christmas will soon be here and trying to think of just the perfect present can occupy your spare time. Perhaps that special someone would like a furry or feathered friend for Christmas…or perhaps not. Pets can be a wonderful present for those who enjoy caring for them, but there are some things to think about before adding a new family member to the household.

Some things you should consider. First, do any family members have pet allergies? Obviously if Fido or Fluffy is going to make someone in the house sneeze 24/7, you should probably consider a different type of pet. Also, where in the house would the pet live and how much time do you have to spend every day on pet care and playtime?  All pets take a certain amount of daily maintenance time, whether it’s feeding and cleaning the litter box, or wiping the slobber off the walls that your mastiff has kindly shared with you. Fishes need periodic cleanings of their aquariums and birds need fed and their cages cleaned as well. Be certain that there is an adult in the household committed and willing to provide the daily care the pet needs for the life of the pet.

Does everyone in the household want a pet? Some pets can demand time and attention from everyone in the family so it’s a good idea to make sure everyone is on board with the idea of adding a new family member. Another consideration if you already have pets is how will a new addition affect them?  While many dogs and cats enjoy a furry companion, not all do.

You should also take into consideration how you see your future pet interacting with the family. If you have small children, a very small dog or rabbit may not be the best choice as they can be easily injured. If you want a pet you can directly interact with, then fish are probably not going to make you very happy. Think about how you see this pet fitting into your life and your household. Ask other family members what they want in a pet.

One final important consideration is financial. How much time and money can you afford? Not just in the initial purchase of your pet, but long term. All animals will require a financial commitment for health care both when ill and for routine vaccinations and parasite control.  Costs can vary a lot, depending on the type of pet. Fish tend to have a large initial cost for their aquarium, filters and other supplies, but tend to be fairly inexpensive to keep long term. Dogs and cats can be gotten for free from a friend or for thousands of dollars for a valuable show dog. They then require yearly exams and vaccinations over the course of their life.

Adopting a new pet can be an exciting and enjoyable time, but first make sure you’ve thought your decision through so that it remains enjoyable for you and your pet for its lifetime.

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