Animals for Christmas: What You Need to Know
It’s rare to see a letter to Santa or a Christmas wishlist that doesn’t include a request for some kind of pet. These requests are usually accompanied by endless promises that you, the parent, won’t have to lift a finger when it comes to the feeding and cleaning of said pet (all of which may well go out the window a few weeks after the latest addition to your family arrives!).
If you’re considering buying an animal for Christmas, then here are a few points you should take into consideration when when deciding which pet is right for your family.
Unlike a toy, a live creature won’t always stay the same size as when you bought it. If you’re purchasing an animal as a Christmas present, think about the potential size it can grow to, not just how big it is now. Everyone loves waking up to a little puppy in a big red bow under the tree, but will you still find it adorable – and have the time and space to care for it – when it's nearly fully grown?
The same principles apply to other pets too. Reptiles and fish often grow far beyond their original size, and will need bigger tanks or aquariums to accommodate them as they grow. Before purchasing an animal, really think through if you can accommodate its growth and how pet-friendly your home is.
Having the Right Equipment
From dogs to danio fish, every creature requires the correct equipment to properly take care of it. Before you buy a pet as a Christmas gift, you should consider the extra costs required for its upkeep. It’s a common mistake to think that fish make for easy pets, because the reality is that they often need larger tanks as they grow, along with a filtration system, a heater, and regular cleaning of the tank.
There is a reason why “Pets are for life, not just for Christmas” is a phrase used so often around the festive period. Along with joy and festivity, the yuletide season also brings a sharp spike in the number of abandoned animals in the following months, as owners realise the long-term commitment of receiving a living gift.
If you’re getting an animal as a gift for children in the family, then you need be prepared to be its sole carer if the kids lose interest after a few weeks. After all, no-one finds housetraining a puppy or cleaning out a cage or an aquarium fun.
Although Christmas is the perfect time to bring some fun and excitement into the household, some creatures are best left in the wild, where they belong. It may be tempting to purchase an exotic species, but many of them require a licence for you to own them, or are altogether illegal in the UK. Because of this, when you’re looking for a pet, always buy it in person from a reputable pet shop or an animal shelter.
Keep in mind that most wild and exotic animals needs very specific conditions in order for them to live a happy life, something which can be costly to provide and maintain. If you want to introduce children to some more exotic species, why not take a trip to the zoo or the aquarium instead?
To make sure that a live creature is the right choice for you, follow these general tips: