The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has issued a warning to people planning to buy a pet as a Christmas present — it is a gift for life.
In a statement, the Department said a pet was a major responsibility that lasted long after Christmas Day.
“You need to be absolutely sure that the person or family receiving a pet as a gift will commit to its lifelong care,” it said.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner reinforced the message, saying if there were any doubts “you need to find another present”.
“Think about the costs of caring for a pet, how much free time you and your family have to spend with it, and will it suit your family in the years ahead,” Mr Furner said.
“Cute puppies, for example, can grow into large adult dogs that need lots of exercise, training and veterinary care,” he said.
“You can’t just send them back if it’s too much work and responsibility.”
The Minister said before deciding on a pet as a gift this holiday season, people must consider the costs of food, worming, annual health checks, vaccination, de-sexing, access to veterinary care, veterinarian bills, training, boarding, toys and bedding.
“There is also the time needed for walking, feeding and playing with the animal each day, as well as any restrictions on pets in rented premises,” Mr Furner said.