Pets can be very fun presents and some parents may be seriously thinking about getting their child one for Christmas. When filled with Christmas cheer and thoughts of wanting to bless your child, a pet may sound very appealing, but there are some things you should consider before you run to the pet store to find that “perfect gift”.
Can Your Child Take Care of a Pet? If you are thinking about getting your child a pet for Christmas, you need to consider whether your child is able to take care of a pet or not. Is your child old enough to take care of a pet? If not, do you have the time and are you willing to help them take care of it? If your child is old enough to take care of a pet, will they have the time to take care of it? Pets require daily care and how busy your family’s schedule normally is, not how much time you have during Christmas vacation, needs to be considered.
Is Your Child Responsible Enough to Take Care of a Pet? If your child is old enough and has enough time to take care of a pet, you need to consider whether they are responsible enough to take care of a pet. A pet is a living creature and it is very important that it is well taken care of. Does your child do well with other responsibilities? Can you count on them to do their chores, homework, and other things they need to get done, or do you constantly have to nag them in order for them to complete anything. If your child hasn’t shown they can be responsible in other areas of life, then it’s wise to wait on getting them a pet. If you still want to be open to the possibility of getting them a pet for Christmas, or a later time like a birthday, talk to them about earning the privilege of owning a pet by showing they can be responsible in other areas of life first. Requiring at least a month of showing responsibility is a good foundation for your child proving they are ready for a pet. Of course, you’re not looking for perfection, just solid proof that they will not neglect their responsibility. A reminder here and there to get something done isn’t the same as needing to constantly nag your child to get anything done.
Does Your Child Know How to Take Care of the Pet You Want to Get Them? If your child is old enough, has the time, and has proven they are responsible enough to take care of a pet, then you need to consider whether they know how to take care of the pet you want to get them. If they don’t, do you? If you do, do you have the time and are you willing to teach your child how to care for the pet? If neither of you know how to take care of the pet you want to get, then it is very important that you both learn before you get the animal. There are many ways to find out how to take care of a specific animal. A lot of pet stores will tell you how to take care of a pet you are interested in, you can get books on how to take care of specific animals, and of course, you can search the internet, just make sure the source is reliable and not just the opinion of someone that doesn’t really have experience.
A Pet Is a Serious Commitment. A pet is a year-round responsibility and you should ask yourself a couple of questions before you get one. Can you afford to take care of a pet? Unlike many other Christmas presents that you pay for and that’s it, pets have needs that will cost money on a regular basis. Will your child still like the pet after the thrill of Christmas and having a new pet have passed? Do you think that your child will get bored with the pet and tired of taking care of it not long after they get it? Then it would be wise not to get them a pet. There is an epidemic of pets needing new homes because they are no longer wanted. Please don’t get your child a pet for Christmas and think that it’s okay to get rid of it a couple of months later if it doesn’t work out.
Give an Unwanted Animal a Loving Home for Christmas. If you truly believe your child is ready for a pet, that it’s a good addition to your family, and you are committed to providing a permanent home, then please consider adopting an unwanted animal and giving them a loving home for Christmas. It is very easy to find all kinds of unwanted animals at local shelters and on Craigslist or Freecycle. Also, if you have a Petco in your area, they usually do pet adoptions on the weekends from shelters and foster homes. By adopting an unwanted animal, you can find the “perfect gift” for your child and also give an animal the gift of a second chance. Enjoy your pet and have a Merry Christmas!
Petco Pet Adoptions