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Highlands MSP warns about giving a pet as a Christmas present

26th November 2014

Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP Rhoda Grant backs Scottish SPCA warning that pets should not be seen as cute gifts to give just at Christmas, but they are for all year round and for the life of the pet.

Rhoda Grant said " As a pet owner myself, I plead with people to think through the decision of taking on a pet or giving a pet as a Christmas gift, as such a decision can have a big impact on families and individuals. Be sure the person who is being given the gift is ready, prepared and understands all the implications of looking after such a pet before you take or make any decision".

"That said, If you have thought through the decision and can satisfy yourselves that you can afford pets a good home, then there is nothing more rewarding than coming home to your pet and spending time with it".

" People should remember that it is a criminal offence to abandon an animal, or permit it to be abandoned, in circumstances likely to cause the animal any unnecessary suffering".

SSPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said, It's an upsetting reality that in the weeks and months after Christmas our centres are often asked to take in puppies, kittens and other pets given as presents once the novelty has worn off.

"Or, even worse, some of these pets are abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

"Clearly, in these instances the owners hadn't realised that the young pet which was great fun at Christmas would need to be house-trained and properly socialised and that this would require effort on their part.

"Our message is pets are a long-term commitment and responsibility, not presents which can be given on Christmas Day and forgotten about soon afterwards."

There are long term cost involved with most pets and many people do not count all the cost that will arise in the future if vet bills begin to mount. And one of those long-term impacts is the financial implications having a pet, especially a cat or a dog, entails - they do not come cheap. The average lifetime cost of owning a dog today stands at around £16,900 and for a cat £17,200, according to research by Sainsbury's pet insurance.

Things to consider might be costs of-
Vaccinations and other vet bills
Spaying and neutering
Medications - fleas and worm treatments
Litter - cost but also it can smell badly.
Grooming materials - combs brushes etc
Food - cost will vary depending on the size of animal from £4 to £20 per week
Sleeping baskets and carriers
Scratching posts - cats will scratch on anything even with the best of training making damage to household furnishings
Catteries and Kennels if you go away - cost can vary enormously unless you have good friend. £4 - £10 per day
Micro-chipping
Cat flap on a door to let the cat in and out
Pet Passports
Insurance costs
Dog Training classes
Heating once the pet becomes older
Burial costs - individual or communal disposals still cost money

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