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Choosing a Christmas Pet
With Christmas just around the corner, you may have discovered a pet of some kind on that wish list that your children keep reminding you about. Right now may be the last time you are able to think rationally about this situation so it is the best time to decide if this wish is one that is going to be fulfilled or one that is just going to have to wait a while. This decision is one that requires a lot of thought, since returning a pet is usually not an option and reselling the pet is not only hard on your children and you its not really a picnic for the pet either.

  • Because the actual purchase of the pet and necessary supplies can run into quite a bit of money, you must decide if you're ready financially to support a pet, making sure to take into consideration vet bills, housing, nutritional needs, grooming needs, toys. (check our pet homework page). If your getting a dog or cat, be sure to figure in the price of neutering or spaying if you have no intention of breeding.

  • You also need to determine whether or not you have time for a pet. This means not only do the children have time, but also do YOU have time. Once the newness of this type of gift wears off, someone is still going to have a time commitment toward it. Unlike the toy that got broken or the jeans that are soon out grown, this new pet (regardless of the what type it is dog, fish , bird, etc) is going to require attention for a lot longer.

  • The amount of space you have is also a factor. Is there room in your household for this pet? Some animals require minimal space, while others require lots of space. In addition to housing, large animals will need a large area to run. You need to decide if you have sufficient room for the pet that your hearts are yearning for.

  • If you are renting, does your landlord permit animals and will he require an extra deposit to cover the pet? Please check this out ahead of time - sneaking the pet in is not fair to anyone and will only cause heartache in the end.

  • Will this pet cause allergy reactions to anyone in the family? You can test this by visiting people with the same type of pet you are considering.

If you have taken all these factors into consideration and have come to the decision that you will fill this wish, what next? Read! Find out exactly what your new pet will need (food, housing, toys, care, etc.).

  • Find a veterinarian that caters to this specific pet. Not all vets handle all types of animals. If you are buying a birds or reptile you will often have to find a vet other than the one who currently treats your dog or cat. If you're considering an exotic or a larger pet like a horse you may have to search further for a suitable vet.

  • Check it out - Without your children! If you think taking candy away from a baby is hard, try leaving without a pet once your kids are already excited about going to get one. If you walk through the door of anyplace selling a pet, your kids are already in the mind set of buying a pet, and the seller is well aware of that fact! Visit pet stores, breeders or humane societies to get hands-on experience with the actual pet to see if you are going to be comfortable with it. This is especially important with a dog or cat when purchasing from a breeder or pet store. You might use this time to decide exactly where you want to purchase your pet and who want to buy from.

The next step is to buy all the supplies for your pet that you want or need and give these to the children for Christmas. But...reserve buying the pet until sometime after Christmas, you will find this a lot less stressful on you and the pet, and the children will have a part in picking out their new friend. There are only a couple of benefits for getting the pet and giving it Christmas morning, while there is a whole list of reasons why its better to wait.

Giving Pet Christmas Day:
  1. The surprise element
  2. No fighting over which one to take

Giving Pet After Christmas:
  1. You don't have to find a place to keep pet until Christmas morning.
  2. Children can help pick out which one to make their new friend.
  3. You can see how they interact together.
  4. No stress of housebreaking during holidays(in case of dog).
  5. No worries if relatives have allergies.
  6. No figuring out what to do with pet while people visit or where to put pet while you go to visit.
  7. Many Breeders breed for the seasonal spontaneous buyers resulting in often poorer quality pets with more health problems.
  8. Prices will drop after holidays, as with anything else.
  9. It's less stressful on your pet to be introduced to a "normal routine" as opposed to hectic holidays.
  10. You will have more time to devote into making everyone comfortable with the new addition in a relaxed atmosphere and can explain the care needed for pet.
  11. Pet is less likely to be cast aside as rest of gifts are explored and played with.

Remember - NEVER spontaneously decide to purchase a pet - its not fair to anyone involved.

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