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Think Twice Before Giving a Pet as a Holiday Gift

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Thinking about giving a dog as a holiday gift? Think again. While dogs are wonderful companions and are probably the least demanding family members we have, not everyone wants to receive a pet as a holiday gift. I once received a pet as a gift and it was not a well thought out plan - I was not prepared for the time and emotional commitment required by having a pet. Further, it is also very important to consider the financial responsibility of caring for our four-legged family members, whether a cat or a dog. They will need food, veterinary care, grooming, and exercise—and you can count on unexpected expenses, too! As you can see, it's not always a welcomed gift to receive a pet, particularly if one is not prepared for it.

If you do decide to give a dog as a gift, and you are absolutely certain the recipient is emotionally prepared for a pet, you may want to also want to consider setting up a savings account for the new family member! While it sounds like something we usually do for a child's college fund, a pet requires financial expenditures and it is helpful to have some money set aside for pet care and needs. So often, dogs and cats end up in local shelters because owners are unable to financially care for their pet. After all, the best way to be a responsible pet owner is to be prepared.

It’s important to budget your dog. He is a member of the family and relies on you to provide for him. If you have a puppy, you should also anticipate the costs of obedience training, a leash and collar, toys, bedding and other doggie basics. You should have a cost estimate as to the quantity of food and treats he consumes on a regular basis. How much flea and tick and heartworm medication does he need and at what intervals? What about his annual vet checkups? Also, consider setting aside some money in the case of an emergency. A dog may develop allergies and be placed on a permanent regimen of medications or special diets, or you may need to board him for an unexpected emergency. Things happen and it’s always a relief to have backup funds to use as a safety cushion. You may also wish to consider giving the gift of pet health insurance, which is an excellent way to ensure that your pet’s health is protected.

Remember - when searching for a pet - always check the local rescues and shelters!

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