Giving a Pet as a Gift This Holiday Season? Read This First

Posted by Paige Cerulli
Andrey via Flickr

Giving a pet as a gift might seem like the perfect surprise, but you'll want to read this article before picking out a gift pet.

We've all seen the videos and commercials where an unsuspecting person receives a pet as a gift on Christmas morning. It seems like a wonderful surprise, but is giving a pet as a gift always a wise idea?

Before you go pick up a new pet this holiday season for a friend or family member, think about the following points.

Is the Recipient Ready for a Pet?

Jackie via Flickr

Just because a person says they want a pet doesn't mean that they're ready for one. Factors like the person's lifestyle, career, and even housing situation affect whether they're really ready for a pet.

Giving a new puppy to someone who works long hours and who lives in an apartment might not result in a positive situation. It's important to really understand whether the recipient is truly looking to add a pet to their life.

Can the Recipient Afford the Pet?

thepeachpeddler via Flickr

The cost of a pet doesn't end with the pet's purchase price. Keeping a pet can be costly and is a serious financial responsibility. In addition to food and supplies, don't forget that if a pet gets sick, emergency vet bills and veterinary care can quickly add up. If the pet needs training, hiring a professional trainer can be costly.

The new pet owner needs to have enough money set aside to be able to afford the pet's everyday care in addition to these other potential expenses.

Do You Really Know What Pet the Recipient Wants?

Mike McCune via Flickr

If you give a pet as a gift, you're essentially deciding on the recipient's next pet for them. Do you really know what they're looking for in a pet, in terms of age, breed, temperament, and more?

Making a poor choice in any one of these others might result in a pet that really isn't a right match, and this can create an awkward situation for you both if the pet needs to find a new home.

Matching an Individual Pet Is Important

christmas dog
Nancy Hebert via Flickr

Many people believe in the importance of meeting many pets and connecting with the pet that's right for them. If you give a pet as a gift, you take away this chance at a special connection.

Alternative Gift Ideas

Suzanne via Flickr

Gifting a pet isn't always a great idea, but there are many other ways you can still choose a special gift. Consider giving pet supplies and a gift certificate to a local vet to help someone get started on their path to pet ownership. You can also make a donation to your local animal shelter or rescue group in the giftee's name.

And if you're set on helping the giftee get a new pet, consider offering to cover the adoption fee at a local shelter so they can pick out their own pet when they're ready. This situation may work out better for everyone involved since the recipient still gets to choose the pet that's right for them - when they're good and ready.

Have you ever given or gotten a pet as a gift under the Christmas tree? Tell us your experience in the comments. 

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Giving a Pet as a Gift This Holiday Season? Read This First