Seasonal Pets: Why Pets aren't presents

Don't give pets as presents!Don't give pets as presents!

Think­ing it through

The busy time of Christ­mas is not a fair time to intro­duce a new pet to the fam­ily. Your chil­dren will be excited, noisy and the house­hold far busier than nor­mal. This could be a very scary time for a young ani­mal to be intro­duced to your house­hold and in the midst of other shiny things it could well be over­shad­owed by another gift.

Never get an ani­mal for some­one else with­out their knowl­edge. This puts an unfair bur­den on them and really increases the chance of them being rehomed after Christ­mas. Plus in all hon­esty, isn’t choos­ing the ani­mal your­self the best part?

Avail­able animals

Any good breeder will never time a lit­ter to coin­cide with Christ­mas and many res­cues close their doors to rehom­ing over this period. This restricts the ani­mals avail­able to those from pet shops, uneth­i­cal breed­ers and acci­den­tal lit­ters this therefore:

  • Increases the chance your ani­mal has been poorly bred and will be prone to expen­sive health prob­lems later on.
  • Dwarf ham­sters bought from pet shops will be hybrids — mean­ing they may develop dia­betes later on.
  • You will likely be sup­port­ing prac­tices such as rodent farms and uneth­i­cal breeders.
  • You have no assur­ances of good tem­pera­ment in your animal.

So what is the alternative?

Make it fun!

Why not print out a colour­ful Christ­mas voucher enti­tling the child to one visit to a breeder to pick out their animal(s)?

You can buy the cage and acces­sories, or merely take a photo of a suit­able cage if you are buy­ing it for some­one else’s child (espe­cially if you haven’t checked with their par­ents first).

Place the voucher inside the cage (if bought) or in a card­board box filled with helium bal­loons. You could also buy a small toy ani­mal of the same type and have it hold­ing the voucher!

Not only are you then allow­ing more thought to the pur­chase, but the ani­mal itself can be more care­fully cho­sen — from a source to give a happy, healthy ani­mal with­out sup­port­ing uneth­i­cal prac­tices. You are also giv­ing an extra gift as you are promis­ing your time and atten­tion to the child. You can make a day of it, the jour­ney, a lunch out before or after, and all the fun of deck­ing out the cage for the new arrival!

Breed­ers also often offer reg­u­lar, photo updates. How happy would your child be see­ing pho­tos of these babies and get­ting to pick which one would be their very own?

The Result?

The child learns that pets are not an impulse buy. It doesn’t feed the cul­ture of ani­mals as dis­pos­able things and reduces the chance that the ani­mal will be rehomed later on.


Christine, of Crittery Exotics

Crittery Exotics was setup in 2007 to pro­vide a use­ful resource regard­ing com­mon and exotic rodents and small mam­mals. It is run by volunteers in their spare time around work and family life.

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