Queenslanders are being encouraged to think carefully before buying a pet as a gift this Christmas.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said owning a pet is a responsibility that lasts a lifetime.

“Cute, cuddly puppies grow into adult dogs that need regular exercise, training and veterinary care and they can’t be returned or exchanged if they don’t fit,” Mr Furner said.

“We don’t recommend giving animals as gifts as pet owners must have the resources, time and inclination to care for a pet its whole life.

“If you’re thinking of welcoming a pet to the family, make sure you can commit to its lifelong care and take the time to find your ‘pawfect’ match.

“A pet’s temperament, the costs of caring for a pet and how much free time you and your family have to spend with it are just some of the things to think about.”

Mr Furner said the thrill of receiving a pet as a Christmas gift can quickly wear off when the new owner faces the reality of caring for an animal full-time.

“It can be an expensive exercise to care for an animal as costs include food, worming, annual health checks, veterinarian bills, training, boarding, toys and bedding,” Mr Furner said.

“People also need to consider the upfront costs such as vaccinations and desexing.”

Before you choose to spread festive cheer with a new furry friend, consider:

  • Do you have enough time to walk, feed and play with the animal each day?
  • Can you afford to care for the animal for the next 15 years?
  • Have you checked that you’re allowed to keep a pet in your home?
  • Do you have all the equipment a pet needs like bedding, a lead, collar, food and water bowls?\
  • Is there a veterinary clinic in your area?
  • Do you know about desexing, registration and preventative health care?
  • Are you buying the puppy from a breeder with a valid breeder supply number? You can check this number on the Queensland Dog Breeder Register and contact the breeder if you have questions about the puppy.

For detailed information on what you need to know before you get a new pet, read more from RSPCA Queensland.

To find out more about your duty of care for animals, go to business.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

Also see this warning from Queensland Police on Puppy Scams and other Christmas Scams

The 12 scams of Christmas: Puppy scams

Related story:

When puppy farms and backyard breeders are a reality, how do we find the pawfect pup?

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