Monday, November 16, 2015

Not a holiday hero...

If you watch TV at all, you've probably seen Petco's latest Christmas advertising campaign.  Here is the text that accompanies the ad:
Do you want to be a holiday hero? Get someone a small animal for Christmas this year! Petco makes giving a small pet as a gift easy this holiday season with pet kits on sale from just $39.99! What small friend do you want to get?
At Pigs n Buns, we can tell you that you most decidedly will NOT be a holiday hero in our eyes if you follow Petco's gift suggestion.  These are the reasons why:

Pets are for life, not a gift to be forgotten and abandoned.
How many toys from last Christmas does your child still pay attention to?  Does your child even remember what he or she received for Christmas last year?  The sad truth is that most animals given as gifts end up dead or abandoned.  A pet should be a member of the family.  The entire family should research proper care for a potential pet, and the pet should be for the entire family.  To expect a child to care for a small pet for its entire lifespan is unrealistic and unreasonable.  Guinea pigs can live 5-7 years (or more!), rabbits can live 8-12 years (or more!), and even small animals such as hamsters can live for 3 years.  Are you ready to be a forever family for a pet for this long?

"Starter kits" are not appropriate homes.
Since pet stores sell "starter kits" with seemingly everything you need for a small pet, many people think this is all you need.  This could not be more wrong.  These tiny cages are nothing more than small prisons for pets who quickly become bored and inactive.  Small pets need space to run and an enriched environment to prevent boredom.

A rabbit should never be housed in something the size of a litter box!
"Starter kits" usually come complete with inappropriate food and treats.
Starter kits typically come with "fiesta mix" type food and treats consisting of seeds and honey.  This certainly misleads new pet owners, especially because they are usually labeled as "nutritious".  Please research a proper diet for your new pet.  Avoid fiesta mixes.  Guinea pigs and rabbits should be fed plain, high-quality, timothy-based pellets, as well as greens and unlimited grass hay.  High-quality brands such as Zupreem and Oxbow do not contain seeds and colored junk food.  This junk food will eventually kill your pet, whether by choking on a seed or health problems stemming from obesity.

Buying a pet from a pet store contributes to the problem of pet overpopulation.
There are so many small pets available for adoption.  Please don't be part of the problem.  Be part of the solution.  Do your research, and choose to adopt rather than purchase a pet.  You may have the mindset that you are saving an animal by purchasing from a pet store, but all you are doing is putting money in the pet store and animal mills' pockets and encouraging them to breed more and more animals.  When you adopt from a rescue organization such as Pigs n Buns, you are opening up a spot for another abandoned animal to have a safe place to land.  Many animals are waiting in kill shelters, and adopting will save one of those animals.  A rescue organization can also educate you on proper care of your new family member and help match you with the right pet!

If you do want to give a pet a home for the holidays, please contact your local shelter or rescue organization.

 Pets are not toys.  Please respectfully tell Petco that this advertising campaign is inappropriate and detrimental to the lives of our furry friends.