You have it pictured in your head: the carefully wrapped present with holes in the box moving around under the tree – and then the delight on your loved one’s face when a furry little friend hops out.

responsibilities of a pet

Under the right circumstances, a pet can be a wonderful gift, but think about it carefully before shopping for the furry little friend. Here are the primary considerations:

  1. It requires a huge time commitment from the receiver

It’s difficult to know for sure if the recipient is ready to take on the responsibility of a pet, so a surprise is never a good idea. Have a conversation to find out for sure. There is often an increase in pet adoptions and returns to the SPCA during this time of year, which isn’t fair to the receiver or to the animal in question.

  1. The financial implications are significant

A pet can be very expensive – and this entails much more than food. Regular checkups, vaccinations, and other veterinary bills can number into the thousands of dollars. This is especially true with a new pet. In fact, the SPCA in British Columbia points out that dogs cost almost $1,200 per year and cats cost approximately $900 – and it’s significantly higher with puppies and kittens.

  1. Unexpected issues could prove costly

The price tag that comes along with a pet is just a starting point. In the unfortunate case that a dog or cat gets ill, the financial impact can be significant unless you have insurance. A recent Western Financial Group study found that 47 per cent of Canadian pet owners that do not have pet insurance say their primary reason is that it is too expensive. But that’s a misconception. According to Petsecure, insurance is relatively inexpensive to purchase, can save you thousands, and in turn it could prevent you from having to make difficult decisions based on monetary concerns.

Moreover, insurance can cover an array of regular checkups and treatments. So, if you plan on giving a pet as a gift, consider also providing a policy that can add peace of mind – or, as a nice gesture, you can buy it as a present for an existing pet.

More information about pet insurance is available at



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Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


Lifestyle Blogger. Traveler. Writer. Social Media Marketer. @SunwingVacay #Kidcations Expert Panel. Member of ITWA @PTBAssoc IG: familyenroute
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