You’ve heard your young son or daughter sit on Santa’s lap and lovingly tell the head elf “I want a puppy/kitten for Christmas.” Oh boy. Having a pet is a huge responsibility and it’s up to you as parents to decide whether or not your family is capable of having pets around the house.
Another problem with buying a live animal for Christmas is your new pet may not be ready for winter weather if it is going to be an outdoor pet. It’s better to buy a puppy or kitten in the spring when it’s warmer and they can get used to being outdoors if need be. Plus if you have babies around the house it’s another consideration as to whether or not you should get a furry pet.
Luckily there are many alternatives to keeping a live animal if you feel your family isn’t ready yet. Try some of these alternatives to see how your child does instead of buying a fuzzy and cuddly animal for Christmas.
If your child absolutely must have a live animal for Christmas, a fish is a viable alternative to getting a larger pet since they are relatively easy to take care of. Buying the right equipment for the tank means all you have to do is feed the fish and clean the tank and you can still have a fascinating world for your child to explore when he or she watches your aquarium.
On a more practical note, if your fish dies and needs to be replaced in a pinch it can be easily done without much fuss. Consider getting larger animals as your child gets older and has more responsibility.
Trips to the Zoo
A membership to your local zoo is a great way for your child to get in touch with animals without having to take care of a pet full-time. Some zoos even have the beauty of a petting zoo which literally puts your child in touch with animals.
Aquariums and natural parks are also great ways to get your child involved in nature. Instead of taking your dog for a walk every day you can just have a family outing every once in a while to satisfy your child’s curiosity about animals.
Virtual Pet Video Games
There are several video games which revolve around taking care of animals or pets. Nintendo has a wonderful series of games for the DS gaming system called “Nintendogs” which explains the realities of taking care of a real dog.
Other games in the “Petz” series get your child in touch with cats and other animals. You can even get Wii games which get your child interacting with virtual pets.
Other game titles are oriented more towards taking care of zoo animals like “Zoo Tycoon” or Xbox’s new “Kinectimals” as viable options for active games. The more involved and complicated the games are the more your child will take an active interest in wanting to be around animals.
For very young children, stuffed animals are always an option. Even going for cute and cuddly cartoon characters such as the animals from “Madagascar” or “Pokemon” will give your child some familiarity to the toys. If you purchase a stuffed animal from your child’s favorite television show will endear the toy to them even more.
There are many viable options instead of buying a live creature for Christmas. As a parent you must be firm if your child desperately wants something warm and fuzzy to cuddle with but you feel your family isn’t ready to handle such a huge responsibility. The heartache of having to give away a pet after a few weeks may be even more devastating than not getting one in the first place.
Save yourself a lot of tears later with a little disappointment now. If “Santa” didn’t bring your child a puppy, kitty, bunny or parrot you can always explain to them that Santa is still taking care of the animal or is still finding the perfect one for your family.