Ah, the inevitable pet conversation. It happens to all parents at some time or another, although it seems to peak around birthdays and even more so in the run-up to Christmas.
Caring for an animal is a big responsibility. And it is still a huge decision to adopt a pet, either for the first time or as a new addition to the family.
There are several important considerations you need to bear in mind before making a decision about getting a pet, from the cost to the amount of care the pet will need, and how your chosen new pet will fit in with your family and other pets if you have any.
4 Vital Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet for Christmas
Keep reading to find out all the elements that you need to reflect upon, before determining whether a new pet really is the best Christmas present for you and your family, because it is not a decision that should be taken lightly.
1. Do you have enough time to care for a pet?
You may be imagining gentle walks around the local park or getting in your recommended daily steps by going running with your dog in matching workout gear, but do you actually have enough free time to follow this through?
Pets, dogs especially, require attention and care to keep them happy and healthy, and if you work long hours or go on vacation often, a pet might not be the best choice for you and your lifestyle.
However, if you really want a dog, you could always enlist the help of a professional such as Heart + Paw who can help you with many aspects of dog ownership, from veterinary care to grooming and doggy daycare.
2. Do you have enough space for a pet?
Depending on what type of pet you are thinking of getting, you need to work out if you have sufficient indoor and outdoor space for that pet to thrive in.
Of course, most homes can accommodate a goldfish, for example, but if you have your heart set on a German Shepherd or a Great Dane and you live in a small apartment, you may need to adjust your expectations.
3. Do you have enough money for a pet?
You may have considered the upfront cost of adopting a pet, but have you factored in all the other purchases that you will need to make such as spay/neutering, food, insurance, and emergency vet bills?
Many animal shelters will cover the cost of spaying and neutering, or include it in the adoption fee: but some do not.
Not to mention the potential damage that pets can cause in your home, from peeing on your rug to scratching your sofa. Adopting a pet is a huge commitment and if your financial situation is precarious, it may not be the right time for you to get a pet.
4. Do you have other pets?
If you already have a dog, is it is perfectly fine for you to get another one, but you need to be able to commit to the process of introducing a new animal into your home.
This can be time-consuming and a lot of effort, especially if your existing pet has been the sole animal in your home for a very long time.
However, if you have a dog and want to get a cat, for instance, this can be problematic as traditionally these two animals do not get along.
Your best bet regarding this is to introduce a cat while your dog is still a puppy; before they have a chance to become too established in their routine and in their home life.
Deciding to get a pet is a huge commitment, but if you have carefully considered all of the above, and have talked to your partner about the decision and genuinely feel that a pet could enrich your home, then go for it!!