A Christmas pet is for life

IF you plan to buy a pet as a gift this Christmas remember that owning a pet is a lifetime commitment and a major responsibility that lasts long after Christmas Day.

When considering buying a pet as a gift you need to be absolutely sure that the person or family receiving the pet will commit to its lifelong care.

Think about the costs of caring for a pet, how much free time the person receiving the pet and their family have to spend with it, and if will it suit that family in the years ahead.

Cute puppies can grow into large adult dogs that need lots of exercise, training and veterinary care.

You can’t just send them back if it’s too much work and responsibility. We all have a legal obligation to look after animals in our care.

Before deciding on a pet as a gift this holiday season, you need to consider:

• the cost of food, worming, annual health checks, vaccination, desexing, access to veterinary care, veterinarian bills, training, boarding, toys and bedding;

• time available for walking, feeding and playing with the animal each day;

• any restrictions on pets in rented premises; and

• checking the Queensland Dog Breeder Register to ensure that you buy from a breeder with a valid supply number.

Head to the RSPCA Queensland website www.rspcaqld.org.au for detailed information on what you need to know before you get a new pet – for you or as a gift.