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A pet is not just for Christmas

Christmas is nearly here and as thoughts turn to presents, the idea of a puppy or kitten sitting under the tree might sound cute and appealing.

But as that old saying goes "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas" and that piece of advice is even more important during this ongoing recession.

Yes, you might think it is a lovely idea to give your child or your partner a puppy or kitten. Yes, you think you will be able to look after it, feed it and pay for vets' bills.

But perhaps your wish is surrounded by the festive glow and you are not thinking clearly about the year ahead. What happens when you both go back to work? Or if one of you loses your job? Do you really have enough time to care for your pet when your busy schedule resumes after the Christmas and New Year break?

What you must remember is that choosing an animal as a present is a serious decision which will have long term implications for the recipient and the animal.

Gift buyers must consider the commitment and responsibility pet ownership requires and not give that responsibility to someone who has not been given any choice.

Pet ownership is a personal or family choice and careful consideration needs to be taken to select the right breed for the household and circumstances.

Before you buy a pet as a present this Christmas, consider the following questions:
Does the recipient really want a pet?

Will the recipient be able to take care of the pet? Different animals require different levels of care. For example, a pony or a dog will require far more time, money and effort than a goldfish.

Does the pet you are choosing suit the lifestyle of the recipient? Some breeds of dogs are more suitable for townhouses and small backyards than others and, of course, here in Tenerife, many properties only have balconies.

So the message is to think seriously about the commitment before you get a pet.

With the right care and attention, pets are wonderful companions and a rewarding gift for loved ones. Make an informed decision and have a safe and merry Christmas.

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