A pet for Christmas? Here’s what you should know

The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area recommends getting a gift certificate so the recipient can choose his or her own pet when they’re ready

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – During this season of giving, you may want to think twice before gifting a pet.

While they’re often cute and cuddly, pets are also a big responsibility.

“When you are going to adopt a pet any time of year, but especially around the holidays, you want to be considerate of your lifestyle and the pet’s needs,” said Amy Kaunas, executive director of the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be active and stressful.

“What we really try to discourage is the idea of people giving pets as gifts around the holiday season. It’s not necessarily a horrible gift idea, but you want to make sure the person you are giving the gift to is ready and prepared,” Kaunas said.

Tim Karchnack, co-owner of Muddy River K-9 Academy in New Bloomfield, Pa., says a new pet is something that needs to be thought out between you and your family.

“There is a lot of responsibility,” Karchnack said. “There’s a lot of financial responsibility.”

The cost of pet food, veterinarian care, training, grooming and kenneling adds up.

“The family has to figure out who is going to be walking the dog on a cold winter morning,” Karchnack said. “It’s very easy not to want to walk the dog, but the dog needs to be walked.”

If you decide to pick a pet from a shelter, make sure you talk to the staff.

“Why is this dog in the shelter? It may be a behavior problem that won’t fit into your family,” Karchnack said. “It may be somebody just didn’t want the dog, but make sure you do your research.”

The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area recommends getting a gift certificate so the recipient can choose his or her own pet when they’re ready.

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