Things to Consider Before Giving a Pet as a Gift

The gift-giving season can present challenges for many of us trying to find the perfect gift for friends and family.

As we consider those who love animals, could a pet actually be the best gift of all? Perhaps, but you’ll want to make sure of some things first:

He is Totally Ready for a Pet

This means he has time and emotional availability for a pet (in other words, he isn’t a workaholic or doesn’t have other time-consuming responsibilities). He has a home where he is able to have a pet and there are no allergy or other restrictions on having a pet. Most importantly, he really wants a pet and is ready to devote himself to one.

This is Not a Surprise

A pet isn’t a new dining set or an iPad—it shouldn’t be returned. While many rescue groups and even breeders will take back dogs and cats, it’s not advisable because this back and forth will cause undue stress on the pet. For this reason, make sure the person receiving the new pet knows in advance and is able to pick out the pet herself. She will be the one bonding with the dog or cat, so the adoption process should fully involve her.

He is Willing to Learn

Especially if she is a first-time pet owner, part of your gift to her should involve education on pet ownership. Topics will include feeding a high-quality diet, knowing the ins and outs of grooming, training methods, breed-specific information if the pet is a particular breed, finding the right vet, home remedies, etc. And the learning never really ends.

He is Ready to Shop

There’s no doubt about it—treating your pet well can get pricey. The higher the quality of pet food, the more expensive it is. The same goes for toys and grooming supplies. And don’t think that an adult dog will no longer need toys. Dogs need constant mental and physical stimulation, including quality brain-boosting toys.

She is Ready for a Puppy or Kitten

Puppies and kittens are absolutely adorable. There’s really no question about that. But—they can also require a lot of work. And while they’re plenty worth it, it’s important that the person who will be caring for this new addition knows what it all requires. If she isn’t ready for a puppy or kitten, many older pets are very much in need of good homes.

All Pets Will Get Along

If he already has pets in his home, part of the process must involve an introduction of the existing and the potentially new member of the family. If they don’t get along, then it’s not the right fit.

Be Patient

The process of finding the right pet may take longer than anticipated. So it’s important to realize that the gift may be received past the holiday season. Don’t rush the process. Remember that this is a living, breathing creature that deserves a good home. It’s better to be a little late than to not find the right match.

While the idea of getting a friend or family member a pet for the holidays sounds like a fun one in theory, it’s not that simple. It’s not impossible, but it will require some legwork and communication with your “gift” recipient. Think it through before taking this route. Remember that it will be a process and not a quick few minutes of shopping and buying.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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