Live animals make poor choices for gifts any time of year, but Christmas can be an especially chaotic and busy time for many families. Please check out my gift-giving suggestions below for ways you can make the holidays special for your animal-loving child, without putting the wellbeing of a live animal at risk.
Plush toys or realistic models featuring the animal your child has interest in are always great alternatives to the real thing.
A book, activity kit, or project that prompts further understanding of a particular animal is a good way to encourage them to do more research and learn more before considering getting a new pet.
Consider planning a visit to a zoo, rescue, or pet store to meet the animal your child is interested in. Some professional animal exhibitors even offer hands-on outreach programs to visit you, giving your child a chance to interact with and learn about an animal without bringing home a permanent pet.
In some cases, your family may already be planning to bring a new family member home. If you’ve already done the research, are ready to supervise the care and maintenance of a new pet, and want to surprise your child with the reward for their efforts on Christmas day consider the following:
Habitat supplies, accessories, and things your new pet may need BEFORE coming home make great presents. This surprises your child with the idea that the animal will soon be coming, and they can take their time getting things setup and ready for the animal’s arrival.
Explain to your child that getting a pet is like making a new special friend, and it’s best to wait until everyone is settled and ready to go select one. Make plans to bring your child to a rescue or pet store to look at and select their new friend AFTER the holidays are over, and only after you’ve finished ensuring the habitat and all items you need for that animal are ready for arrival.
Always keep in mind that pets are a FAMILY commitment. Even if your child is very dedicated to the care and upkeep of an animal, it is ultimately your responsibility as a parent to ensure that animal is receiving the care and attention it needs to remain healthy and happy.
I am always happy to offer guidance to support families in their pet-keeping decisions. If you are looking for assistance in choosing the right animal for your family or would like to know how you can improve the care of an animal you already have, please feel free to reach out to me directly.