With Christmas fast approaching and many animal shelters across the province full of animals, an easy decision may be to give someone a pet for Christmas.

But raising a pet can require time, patience, and plenty of money, so people should fully know what they're getting into.

They can also cause a problem when regarding allergies, children, or any other pets in the house.

Saskatchewan SPCA Community Relations Coordinator Josh Hourie says that the best practice is to make sure any recipient is willing and able to have a pet.

"It's important to note for sure that the person you are giving the pet to actually wants the pet. We have heard of situations where people have given an animal as a gift, only to find out that the person they're giving it to is actually not interested in having a pet."

This can, in turn, cause shelters to need to retake those animals if they end up being surrendered - something that may not even be possible due to an intake freeze in many jurisdictions.

That can be especially true as the true cost of a pet might dawn on a new owner, once those start piling up.

"It's not just a one-time expense situation. When you own a pet, you are looking at a lifetime of expenses," said Hourie, "Whether that be the purchasing of food and other treats, but there's also the vet expense if you go down the route of pet insurance that's something as well, and then there's the training aspect as well."

Hourie says there are plenty of ways for prospective pet owners to learn about some of the responsibilities required.

"There are a number of great resources online. If you were to just search for long-term responsibilities on google, you would come up with a number of resources that are available to you, certainly available to you through the Canadian Veterinanirin medical association, and other organizations like that as well."

If you do end up receiving a pet for Christmas, it's stressed that the process of familiarization with the pet may not happen right away.

"When it comes to integrating the pet, it's just familiarization. Recognize that there will potentially be some speed bumps on the way," said Hourie, "You will likely have to go through the process of house training an animal if you are given a kitten or puppy for example. So ensure you have the patience for all that stuff."