Pets are not just for Christmas, warn vets

Christmas may be just around the corner but PDSA is urging people to make sure pets don’t end up on their shopping lists at this time of year.

Deciding to get a new pet is a big commitment, and the UK’s leading veterinary charity is urging anyone to think twice before making plans to add a furry new member to the family this Christmas.

“Pets can be a rewarding addition to a family but giving a pet as a surprise gift at this time of year could end in disaster,” says PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, Elaine Pendlebury. “The recipient may not be prepared for how much time, money or responsibility being a pet owner involves.”

Sadly, the novelty of a pet can quickly wear off, leading to thousands of pets being abandoned and homeless just weeks later. Anyone thinking of getting a pet needs to ensure that their lifestyle and circumstances are suited to the animal they intend to keep, not just for today but for their entire life.

PDSA research found that 92 per cent of owners drastically underestimated the lifetime cost of owning a dog, many of which can live for 15 years or more. Unfortunately, this can lead to suffering and heartbreak, as new owners find they are unable to take care of their pets’ needs properly, and may even have to give them up.

To prevent this happening, PDSA recommends that any potential owners take time to do thorough research before taking on a new pet. Look at reputable websites, like our own at or take a trip to your local library for books on pets. Chatting to other pet owners can be useful and think about your long-term responsibilities, such as who would look after the pet when you take a holiday as well as the veterinary care your pet will need.

Introducing a new pet into the home during the excitement of Christmas can be distressing for them. The excessive noise and activity of the festive season may scare new pets, who need lots of peace and quiet to help them settle in. In addition, new owners may not have enough free time to devote to their new pet to help them settle in to their home. If you know someone who wants a pet but hasn’t any experience a more suitable Christmas present might be a book about their preferred animal,” continues Elaine. “Then, they can read up on everything that pet will need to be healthy and happy and make an informed decision themselves

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