It's around the winter holidays and everyone is searching for the best gift to give your friends, parents, and family members. Many Christmas movies give people the idea that animals such as dogs and cats or other interesting creature you can easily buy at PetSmart would be the perfect gift, but that could potentially be the worst gift ever.
When deciding to give an animal away as a Christmas present, ask yourself one thing: Have I discussed a new pet and the responsibilities with the new owner of said pet? If you are not absolutely sure and confident that they have the means and resources to take in a new pet, then it is best to find another gift. They may have a rental house or apartment, a roommate with an allergy or not prepared to take care of potential veterinary bills. Another danger is getting a new pet for a child as a Christmas gift. A puppy does not stay a puppy and a cute Christmas gift can turn into a resented Christmas dog in eight months.
Some animal shelters get busier after the holidays because people have decided their cute animal is not going to work out. If you surprise someone with a pet as a Christmas gift, you are potentially gambling with that animal's life. The average cat and dog lifespan is around 13 years, but cats often live longer than dogs, so remember that typical pets are a long commitment and not something to play with for a few months, then surrender to a shelter when you have decided you are done with it.
As for smaller animals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, or sometimes hedgehogs, do your own research on what specific breeds will need. The starter kits commonly sold at pet stores do not always allow the animal adequate space that it needs to be healthy. Keep in mind that just because these animals have shorter lifespans and seem low maintenance that they require just as much attention, love and care as cats and dogs.