As the holidays draw nearer and the air turns chillier we are once again busying ourselves with the thought of getting the perfect gift for everyone in our lives. As fellow animal lovers would agree, who wouldn’t want a puppy or kitten greeting them under the tree on Christmas morning? Sometimes this can backfire on your good intentions as some people just don’t want a furry friend at home. Here’s why you should never give animals as gifts:
Children love animals, what’s a better gift than giving them a playmate? The downside to this is children often see pets as their “toys” sort of like a lifelike stuffed animal. This can cause harm to both children and pets as younger children who have not had much experience with animals may not understand that they can hurt them. Smaller animals such as kittens and hamsters can receive serious injuries from children who are just trying to play.
2. Puppy Mills
When pets are bought from pet stores the customer often doesn’t know the background story of the adorable little puppy or kitten in the store window. Unfortunately, a lot of the time these cute little things come from puppy mills and backyard breeders. Customers are unknowingly supporting the repetitive forced breeding of the parents of these puppies.
When gifting a pet, the gift giver might be unaware just how much a pet can cost. From vaccines and exams to toys, bedding, and proper food, costs add up relatively quickly and can shock an unexpecting owner. The recipient may not purchase a pet but they have now been given a 10-20- year commitment and once the novelty has worn off the new furry friend might be viewed more as a financial drain which isn’t good for anyone.
4. Unprepared Homes
When receiving a pet as a gift most people will not have pet-proofed their home and might be unaware of the dangers they have around the home. Curious noses can get into just about anything if they are persistent enough. Cleaning products and leftovers are just some prime examples of what a little inquisitive pet can get into.
If someone has never owned a pet before and suddenly they get one as a gift they might not be aware of preexisting allergies to fur or dander. This can be dangerous because they could have life-threatening allergies that might cause severe consequences if not treated immediately. The owner can also bond very closely with their new fur baby and the thought of having to give them up due to allergies can very hard to do.
So, this holiday season, think of all of those involved and maybe reconsider gifting a pet to a friend or family member. Instead, you can donate to charities that help animals like the Toronto Humane Society this can help better an animal’s life and help shelter employees find suitable homes for pets.
Written by Madison Smith, Animal Care Assistant