The Sad Reality of Unwanted Christmas Pets

Cesar Milan, the world famous dog trainer, gives sound advice, “Remember: dogs can make wonderful gifts, but unlike sweaters or socks, they aren’t as easily returnable if the fit isn’t just right.” Pets are a wonderful addition to the right household. Animals have a long history of giving humans the companionship they seek. A Lutheran Ministry from Illinois deploys comfort dogs to disaster areas around the United States. Recently, these companions gave relief to people devastated by the California wildfires. Pet ownership is a tremendous responsibility, so before gifting, there are things to consider.

Pets Are Not a Good Fit for Everyone

Every animal has different temperaments and instructions for care. This mostly stems from each individual breed. Pawster Pet Blog suggests that by knowing a specific breed, you can determine if your home and surroundings are acceptable for the pet. Dogs are the most common animal when talking about breeds; however, every species has associated breeds.

In the United States, freshwater fish are number one at an astounding 139 million according to the Insurance Information Institute. Cats are the second, with dogs coming in at a close third. Sixty-eight percent of households own some type of pet; the cost can be upwards of 41 billion dollars.

When gifting an animal, communicate with the receiver on the new addition to their family. Key points to contemplate are the extreme costs, allotted time during the day and space. Puppies and kittens require 10 years or more of commitment. Many pets are returned because of moving, allergies, or behavioral problems.

Giving up, an Uncertain Future

In the United States, roughly, 70 million dogs and cat are strays. Only around 10% will end up in a shelter or someone’s home. When animals are picked up off the street, or relinquished, the shelter will spay or nurture them to control the pet population.

An estimated 6.5 million animals are relinquished to shelters yearly, as stated from the ASPCA. Of those, an outrageous 1.5 million are euthanized every year. There is good news though, since 2011, the number of animals heading to shelters is dwindling. Through the help of social media, lost animals are finding their way home again. More people are becoming aware of the cost of caring for their beloved family pet.

Typically, there is an increase in shelter intake at the beginning of the year and in a poll conducted by the ASPCA, only 86% of the gifted pets still reside in the home they were gifted to, and are well cared for. They advocate for strong communication and attention to details on gifting a pet.