Paws for thought this Christmas, warns PDSA

Deciding to get a new pet is a big commitment, and PDSA is urging people to think twice before making plans to give a furry friend to somebody as a present this Christmas.
 
“Pets can be a rewarding addition to a family but giving a pet as a surprise gift at this time of year is likely to end in disaster” says PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Elaine Pendlebury.  “The recipient may not be prepared for how much time, money or responsibility being a pet owner involves.”
 
Sadly, the novelty of a pet as a surprise gift can quickly wear off, leading to thousands of pets being abandoned and homeless just weeks later.  Anyone thinking of getting a pet needs to ensure that their lifestyle and circumstances are suited to the animal they intend to keep, not just for today but for their entire life.
 
For instance, the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2012* found that 92% of owners drastically underestimated the lifetime cost of owning a dog, many of which can live for 15 years or more.  Unfortunately this can lead to suffering and heartbreak, as new owners find they are unable to take care of their pets’ needs properly, and may even have to give them up.
 
To prevent this happening, PDSA recommends that any potential owners take time to do thorough research before taking on a new pet.  PDSA’s online pet selector tool, Your Right Pet, quizzes prospective owners to help match them with the pet that most suits their lifestyle. Potential owners can visit www.your-right-pet.org.uk to find their perfect pet.
 
In addition, introducing a new pet into the home during the excitement of Christmas can be distressing for them.  The excessive noise and activity of the festive season may scare new pets who need lots of peace and quiet to help them settle in.  In addition, new owners may not have enough free time to devote to their new pet to help them settle in to their home.
 
If you know someone who wants a pet but hasn’t any experience a more suitable   Christmas present might be is a book about their preferred animal,” continues Elaine.  “Then, they can read up on everything that pet will need to be healthy and happy and make an informed decision themselves. For more pet care tips log onto: www.pdsa.org.uk/pethealth.