Research options before getting pet

With the gift-giving season upon us we urge potential pet owners to have patience and think things through before bringing home a cute and cuddly companion.

This time of the year adorable pets are a common sight at area shopping malls and pet supply stores.

The canines and felines making appearances at the shopping centers are in need of good homes, and local humane societies and animal shelters are hoping the mere sight of a cute puppy or cuddly kitten will win over many hearts just in time for the holidays.

But despite the pleas, and maybe even temper tantrums, of children, we ask parents to refrain from purchasing pets as gifts this time of year, or any time for that matter, before carefully considering all options.

There are many responsibilities associated with animal adoption, and potential pet owners should have all the facts before bringing a new pet home.

Potential pet adopters should brush up on the various types of dogs and cats available in order to find the best breed for them. For example, find out which animals require special exercise needs, are prone to certain ailments and may not be good with children.

Make no mistake, choosing a family pet means a lot of time, commitment and money.

A pet should never be ignored because an owner is too tired or busy. And owners, including children, should know how and when to provide food, water, care, companionship and exercise for animals.

Cost is another factor. Licenses, food, grooming and veterinary care costs need to be considered besides paying for spaying or neutering, which is extremely important.

Other things to ponder include suitable living arrangements for a pet, caring for a pet while on vacation and training classes.

Stop and think about why many older animals live at shelters. They are there because someone didn’t take responsibility.

The playful whimpers may draw many to four-legged friends this time of year, but we’re asking area residents with pleading children to research the best possible pet options. Study up on the basics of animal care.

In the end, you and your family will be rewarded for your efforts in providing a caring home for a pet for many years to come.