Is it a good idea to give pets as gifts?

As Christmas approaches, you — along with countless other parents — may be debating whether to get your kid the pet he or she has been asking for. You may worry that your child will be disappointed if she doesn’t get the hoped-for pet; or you may be excitedly envisioning the moment that she first lays eyes on the animal. At Chico, we care deeply about animals and their well-being. In this article, we aim to raise awareness about the risks of basing decisions about adopting pets solely on holiday sentiment.

A sincere but fleeting joy

Nearly every kid has the dream of opening up a big box on Christmas morning and discovering a puppy, kitten, bunny, hamster or other cute and furry animal inside. You probably did too when you were young! And many of us have seen the videos on YouTube and Facebook that capture the moment when this wish comes true for a kid. There’s no denying that the joyful reactions we witness in the children are touching. However, very often these clips are misleading, as we don’t know the fate of the animal in the weeks, months and years that follow.

The sad truth is that it isn’t uncommon that animals given as gifts for Christmas, Easter or a child’s birthday are abandoned only several weeks later. This occurs even when the parent has done in-depth research and asked detailed questions before adopting the pet. What happens in many cases is that once the novelty of having a pet has worn off, children become aware of all the responsibilities involved in owning a pet and begin to regret their decision.

The result? The exasperated parents return to the “gift” to the pet shop or take it to a pet shelter, with their child in tears. The poor animal, meanwhile, has to undergo, once more, the stress of changing environments, which can have serious consequences on its health. It’s sad to think that pets are treated like goods that can be exchanged or returned. 

There are, of course, times where the story has a happy ending, and the animal receives good care and lots of love in her new home. With this article, we simply wish to have you think twice before letting your emotions — or your child’s emotions — guide your decision when it comes to adopting a pet. For more pet advice and for quality pet products, visit your local Chico store