Does your kid want a pet for Christmas? Here are some things you should know before adopting

Pet store owners speak about rewards, challenges
Does your kid want a pet for Christmas? Here are some things you should know before adopting

On the top of kids’ wish lists across the country this Christmas season are pets: dogs, cats, fish, and hamsters are among the most popular. But unlike LEGOs, the newest video game, or clothes, pets are presents kids can’t outgrow.

Local pet store owners are warning families not to make an impulsive decision to adopt. Despite the fact that puppies and kittens make an adorable gift, shop owners encourage families to analyze their reasons before deciding to adopt.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Why you want a pet: If you want a dog or cat because they are cute, or because your friend just got one, you should wait. Pet store owners stress you also shouldn’t give in just because your kids have been asking incessantly. However, if you’ve been considering a pet for a while and now is a good time financially and logistically, you might be ready for the responsibility.

2. The cost of caring for a pet: Keep in mind pets aren’t free or cheap. They need food, visits to the vet, medicine, and training, on top of a bed, litter box, and toys. “It’s definitely important to think about what that commitment looks like, what supplies are needed, and what that pet’s going to need, based on age, breed of pet, and work schedules,” said Brian Holly, Petsmart store manager.

3. Costs vary based on type of pet: While cats can be cheaper than dogs, either pet can cost you a couple hundred to several thousand dollars annually. Pet store owners suggest you plan a budget to determine if you can afford to adopt.

4. The time it takes to train and care for a pet: Pets cost a lot of money, but they also require time. Dogs and cats in particular like when their owners are around and become lonely without the presence of a person. If you’re rarely home or busy shuttling kids around to a long list of after-school activities, it may not be the right time to adopt a pet.

5. Realize it’s a life-long commitment: You have to train a pet when you first adopt, but the hard work doesn’t end there. “It’s really important to think about what it looks like at the beginning and then once that pet becomes an adult, what the work-life balance is like there with taking care of a pet and who’s going to take care of that pet. You also have to consider what you have to have prior to the best coming home in terms of food and cages and treats,” said Holly.

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