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Excluded from exchange: Pets are not a Christmas present
Especially on the wish lists of children there is often a cat, a puppy, a bunny or even an aquarium. However, animals are completely unsuitable as spontaneous presents and the decision to get a pet should only be made in full awareness of the responsibili

Excluded from exchange: Pets are not a Christmas present!

Many people want a pet for Christmas. Especially on children's wish lists there is often a cat, a puppy, a bunny or even an aquarium. "Such wishes cause a lot of problems," says Marius Tünte from the German Society for the Protection of Animals in Bonn. "A pet cannot be exchanged as a pullover or a toy can, and a lot of responsibility is needed for a pet."

Why is a pet not a Christmas present?  

A guinea pig, a bunny or a kitten – a pet should only be acquired in full awareness of the responsibility. A pet is completely unsuitable as a spontaneous present. When buying a pet, you take over responsibility for a living being and you need to be ready to carry this responsibility as long as the pet lives. When seriously considering a pet as new family member, you should consider beforehand which pet is best suited to your family, whether the conditions are right and whether the specific needs of the pet can be met.

What do many people misjudge when they want to give a pet as a Christmas present?

Often not everybody has agreed to the new family member. Also, some might be frustrated if the pet happens to be not exactly the animal or not exactly the breed that they wished for. Often parents realize too late that most of the necessary care such as feeding, cleaning the cage or walking the dog becomes their responsibility. Even if a child promises to look after the pet, parents have to be ready to take over the responsibility. A child can and should never carry the responsibility for a pet alone.  

Are a lot of pets taken to animal shelters after Christmas?

It happens that pets are taken to a shelter directly between Christmas and the new year because the person who received the present has no use for the pet. More pets are taken to shelters later during the year because at the beginning, the pets – mostly puppies or young animals – are still really cute. 

Source: IVH

What does this mean for the pets?

Particularly dogs suffer when their attachment figure changes frequently because they are animals that live in fixed social orders. As puppies, they need to be close to and bond with fixed attachment figures. If subjected to a frequent change of owners, they can come to mental harm, and this is very difficult to put right later on, if it is possible at all.

What can we do if we want to give a pet to someone dear to us who has had this wish for a long time?

If you still want to give something related to pets as a Christmas present, you can turn to guidebooks for adequate pet keeping or to suitable pet accessories. Sponsorships for a pet in a shelter can be a first step to acquiring a pet later, or people can do voluntary work for a shelter by walking the dogs or stroking the cats and get their first experience with animals at the same time.