The holidays are a time for giving,
but be warned, some gifts require a
lot more responsibility than others.
Every child’s wish, after watching
Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, was to receive
a puppy wearing a big red bow in a hat box
for Christmas. And when 101 Dalmatians hit
screens, requests for dappled pups soared.
Although giving a pet as a surprise
present may seem like a grand gesture, the
reality is you’ve just left someone with a
huge and unexpected responsibility.
Chantall Giliomee, marketing assistant at
Durban and Coast SPCA, says, “We do see a
very slight increase in adoptions during the
festive season, however we have a very large
number of of unwanted and stray animals
taken in over the holidays, too.”
According to Giliomee, it’s never
advisable to surprise someone with a pet as
“Pet ownership is a big responsibility and
a lifelong commitment.
“Having a pet requires an emotional
and financial commitment. And the person
receiving the pet may not always be in a
financial position to take care of the pet’s
“A pet owner has to also prepare for a
pet joining their home. It is always best to
choose your own pet as you need to have an
emotional connection,” she said.
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PET OWNER:
- Clean drinking water – this should always be available to your pet and should be changed regularly (more than once a day, especially if left outside).
- Food – the proper diet required by your pet in order to provide them with all the nutrients needed. Dietary requirements will depend on the brand of food and pet. Different brands of food will have a feeding guideline on the packaging.
- Shelter – somewhere warm, dry and safe from the elements. If your dog will be staying outside, a raised kennel must be provided in order to keep them away from rain.
- Exercise – pets should be able to run and move freely. They should NOT be chained.
- Your property should be fully fenced.
- Veterinary treatment – vaccinations and sterilisation should be done. Medical attention must be provided if your pet falls ill. Regular flea and tick medication should be given. There are different varieties of this on the market, dosage will depend on each individual brand.
- Kindness – you must be kind to you pet and affectionate. Animals are sentient beings and can experience pain, sadness, joy and loneliness.
- In addition to food and pet supplies, there will be often unexpected veterinary costs that you will need to budget for.
Aside from all the responsibilities, pet-parents
can also prepare themselves for a
“A pet will love you unconditionally and
give you longlasting friendship. Having a pet
can even reduce stress levels.
“When adopting a pet, you also have the
knowledge that you have saved a life and
given an animal the
greatest gift it could ask
for,” said Giliomee.