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It’s that time of the year again. Christmas is fast approaching and you are scrambling to think of the perfect gift for your child, partner or friend.

First published:
29 November 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

A new pet can seem like a good choice, but it’s no coincidence that January is the time of year when we see the highest amount of pets being taken to animal shelters.

A pet is a long-term commitment, so it’s important you do your research and consider your circumstances carefully. Here are a few things you should think about before welcoming a pet into your home this Christmas.

  1. Can you give the animal a good home?
    All animals deserve to live a happy and pain-free life. Make sure you can provide your chosen pet with a suitable environment, the space to behave in a natural way (for example running or flying), an appropriate diet, companionship and healthcare. 
  2. Can you afford a pet?
    It takes space, time and money to look after an animal properly. Some animals require more care, attention and upkeep than others. Make sure you’re happy to commit to this for the lifetime of your chosen pet.
  3. Where have they come from?
    Without knowing an animal’s history, you have no assurance that it has been taken care of or that it has been properly socialised. This could lead to future behavioural problems and expensive veterinary costs. Make sure you check their history before deciding to bring it home.
  4. Have you done your research?
    Never buy on impulse. Make sure that you’re buying your animal from a reputable seller, particularly if the animal has been advertised on the internet or through social media. Be mindful that pets are sometimes advertised in a misleading way, for example lying about an animal’s history, breed or pedigree. Some breeds are prone to problems which require regular veterinary treatment.
  5. Have you met your pet?
    Take the time to visit the animal and seller before you buy. This is a good opportunity to check all documentation is in order. If the animal was born outside of the UK it must have either a pet passport or a veterinary certificate. If you’re buying a puppy, make sure it has been microchipped. 

If in doubt, speak to a vet before agreeing to buy. If you have concerns about the welfare of an animal you have seen, report it to the council where it lives.

Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of getting a pet? Let us know by using the #PawsPreventProtect hashtag on Twitter, or comment on Facebook.

Twitter: @WelshGovernment / @LlywodraethCym
Facebook: Welsh Government / Llywodraeth Cymru


There are some wonderful resources out there for anyone who is looking to welcome a pet into their life. Take a look at the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, PDSA and RSPCA websites for more information.