With the holidays approaching quickly and gifts already getting wrapped one present that should be carefully considered before purchasing is a dog or cat for a friend, elderly parent or a child. Animals require a lot of time and financial support, so SPCA International encourages you not to make that commitment on someone’s behalf until you know they are ready and able to be a good pet parent.
The estimated annual cost for owning a dog is $2,300 and $1,100 for a cat, which includes food, visits to the veterinarian – both expected and unexpected, toys, training, grooming, and other miscellaneous expenses. This does not include the cost for damaged household furniture that the dog could chew up if they get bored or the cat decides to sharpen its claws on. You can also expect to pay an additional $800 - $1,200 in the first year for puppies and kittens due to extra vet visits for vaccinations and spay or neuter. It is important to understand all these factors before purchasing an animal, either for yourself or someone else.
After considering the factors above, if you still decide to get a dog or cat for someone other than yourself, SPCA International strongly encourages you to purchase a gift certificate from your local shelter. A gift certificate allows the new pet parent to pick out their next companion animal and find one that best suits their lifestyle.
An alternative gift idea for a friend or family member who is interested in getting a pet is an annual membership for pet insurance. This helps with the costs that are associated with owning an animal and can take the unexpected additional financial costs off the owner.
Shelters see an increase in animals surrendered or brought in as strays after major holidays. To help save an animal’s life this holiday, consider all factors before purchasing an animal, either for yourself or someone else and strongly consider the alternatives.
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This SPCA International article is intended to help further your understanding of your animal's needs. We understand your unique bond with your pet and it is our pleasure to help you look after its welfare. Thanks to your continued support, SPCA International is able to provide you and countless others with important news regarding the safety of your pets. Thank you again for your donations – every little bit helps!