The image is iconic: a new puppy, wrapped in a bow under the Christmas tree. However, before you fetch a four-legged friend for your family, you’ll want to make sure everyone is ready for the responsibility.
“Think about if December the 25 is really the best day to enter that pet into your home,” said Jeannie Wolicki-Nichols, president of the Bay Co. Humane Society.
She’s all for pets as gifts, as long as the whole family is on board with both the responsibility and the cost.
“Pets are not Xboxes. We can't play with them, put them away and decide two days later that it's time to play with them again,” Wolicki-Nichols said.
She suggests mapping out family responsibilities before getting the animal. Who will take the dog for walks? Change the cat’s litter box?
“Many pets need to be rehomed after the holiday. That is heart breaking to children that are in the family and it's heart breaking for the pet,” Wolicki-Nichols said.
Besides the cute factor think of everything that goes into caring for an animal: the food, treats, vet bills.
“It’s estimated the first year of a pet's life in your household will cost approximately $1,000,” Wolicki-Nichols said.
If not more. A survey from OppLoans finds on average, Americans spend more than $120 on their pets every month.
However, let’s say you know the costs and you’re ready to bring a furry friend into your family.
Consider the timing: Christmas morning can be a little hectic.
“You could wrap a box and put all the cat supplies in, some cat food, some cat litter, the litter box. For the dog, the leash, a crate, all of these things wrapped in this beautiful bow with a message inside, this is our certificate to go as a family to find the pet,” Wolicki-Nichols said.
That way, you know the entire family is part of the decision-making process and your new pet will be happy for many Christmases to come.
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