Companion animals always return the love they receive from their humans, but getting them for the wrong reasons will end up hurting their welfare in the long run.

The kids’ pester power is at its highest: Come summer vacation, many parents give in to the demands of children who want pets. If this decision is taken impulsively and if the parents are not truly on board, the pet faces the risk of neglect or abandonment once the school year starts and everyone’s schedules get busier.

For security alone: While dogs help us by serving as alert and loyal guards, it is unfair to adopt a dog purely for this reason and deny him the joys of human companionship. It’s common to find dogs tied outdoors or in kennels throughout the day (and night) and given little or no attention by their humans. Pets need more than just a food and water bowl — they need to be played with, allowed freedom indoors and to be treated as friends.

As a surprise gift for a friend: People often mistakenly believe that their friends who like animals would like to receive a pet as a ‘gift’ — however, giving someone a companion animal as a ‘surprise’ is a terrible mistake. Your friend might not be in a position to care for a cat or dog for 15 years or more. Getting your friend a pet because his previous pet passed away is also unadvisable. Your friend will require time to grieve for his first pet and reassess his ability to commit to a new family member. Making this decision on behalf of someone else could create problems for the pet and for your friendship too.

The exotic appeal: Lastly, avoid getting a pet simply because it’s an unusual species — for example, species such as turtles and wild birds are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Stick to the approved list of species and when in doubt, check with an animal welfare organisation for information on what animals are suitable to be kept as pets.