While it might seem appealing to adopt a pet as a present for your family or friends, there are some important things to consider first. Beginning with the obvious; a pet is a long-term commitment! Once they come into your home, you are responsible for their health and care for the rest of their life, which hopefully will be several years! It is important to make sure that the person receiving the pet is able to commit to both the time and financial obligations that come with pet ownership.
Remember that pets can be costly- especially in their first year of life. Veterinary care, food, beds, toys and other enrichment supplies are essential items and the cost of these things can add up quickly. Another thing to consider is the time needed each day to properly care for them, including walks, training, grooming, playtime etc. A hectic work or school schedule can make spending quality time with pets very difficult. This may mean the pet will need to go to dog or cat daycare or frequent boarding facilities. They will also need to have someone care for them if you happen to go away on a business trip or vacation, all of which are additional expenses.
If you are considering a pocket pet, remember that while their lifespan is typically shorter than dogs and cats, they too need special attention and are not necessarily easier or less costly to care for. Some pocket pets require special diets, supplements and enclosures. Housing, daily exercise and enrichment are also very important for small mammals. Enclosures that are large enough to suit their needs can take up quite a bit of floor space. Finally, some small mammals need to be housed in pairs or groups, so you may end up with more responsibility than initially expected! Pocket pets also require the same veterinary care that dogs and cats do, with routine wellness exams and for some species, vaccinations too.
There are so many factors to consider when adopting a pet that it is important to make sure the new owner is prepared and willing to accept all of the obligations that come with furry family member ownership! Pets are not disposable toys that can be discarded after the holidays. We recommend avoiding giving pets as gifts unless the receiver has already been informed of and agreed to all the responsibilities of pet ownership!