SunLive – Pets are for life not Christmas presents

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A new puppy or kitten may seem like a Christmas present, but people need to think about the long-term needs of their beloved new gift.

“Adopting a pet is a major commitment and is a decision that should not be taken lightly,” says Sue Kinsella, SPCA Bay of Plenty area manager.

“If you are planning to give someone a pet this Christmas, please make sure it is something they really want and plan for, and that they are able to take care of the animal their whole life.”

When adopting a pet, people need to consider how the animal’s physical and mental needs will be met and the cost of doing so.

This includes everything from food, regular veterinary care, vaccinations, deworming, flea treatments, exercise, and any unexpected trips to the vet in case of illness or an accident.

Other things to think about when adopting or gifting animals is that pets are for life – they will be part of the family for up to 20 years.

Pets need training, care, affection and attention, while dogs also require extensive training and daily exercise.

For those renters, owning an animal can make it difficult to find a home, as most rentals have “no pets” policies.

“It is always important to adopt responsibly, no matter what time of year you are considering welcoming a pet into your family.

“I wouldn’t encourage people to surprise a friend with a kitten under the tree, but if you’ve been planning to adopt for a while, have done your research and are ready to welcome a new family member, Christmas can be a lovely time to adopt.”

SPCA has processes in place to ensure a good match between personalities, energy levels and lifestyles and to ensure that animals are adopted into responsible homes forever.

Fortunately, the charity doesn’t see an influx of animals being delivered or returned after the holiday season, which suggests that most people have thought carefully before taking on the responsibility of a pet, says Sue.

Visit: If you’re looking to adopt a Christmas pet, where you’ll find advice on choosing the right pet and things to consider when preparing to welcome a new furry member of the family.

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