Many people will want to give pets as gifts this Christmas – others will want to give gifts to pets! If you are considering a live animal as a present, please be 100% sure that the recipient will want this gift and will be willing and able to care for it for up to 20 years! Dogs and cats can be costly things to own. While veterinary fees seem to be rising quickly, pet owners in the US spend far more money on food and accessories than they do on veterinary care! Giving pets to young children means that an adult must be happily willing to feed, potty and pay for the animal. I believe that some of the best lessons children learn come from caring for animals, but we must remember that not all children learn these lessons well and we cannot let the animals pay the price.

If you are choosing a gift for your pet, consider a gift certificate for veterinary care or food. Most pets would be far better off with cleaner teeth or some parasite control, than with yet another toy. This type of gift would be ideal if you purchase presents for other people ™s pets. If you prefer toys, be sure they cannot be swallowed whole or in pieces. Toys that engage animals brains, clean teeth or cause animals to run are best. If you have questions about animal Christmas gifts, give us a call.

by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP