James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
December 8, 2017
Is a new pet something that you or your loved one wants under the tree this year? The idea of giving someone the surprise of a pet sounds like a wonderful holiday gift idea, but giving a pet to someone comes with a serious level of commitment. If you're thinking about giving someone a pet this holiday season (or any other time of year!) there are several things to consider.
Ask them if they truly want a pet. Make sure that the person you're planning to give the pet to really wants one so you can ensure that your gift is received with joy.
Don't select the pet for them, instead, consider taking them out to pick out their own pet with you. Pet ownership is a very personal thing, offer to pay the adoption fee and help them pick out their particular pet.
Don't be impulsive. There are numerous responsibilities that come with owning a pet. Food and veterinary care cost money, there are also time commitments to caring for the new pet and if the recipient travels, they'll need to find someone to care for their pet while they're away. Make sure they're ready to take on these challenges.
Consider the timing. The holidays are a very busy time for many people, it may not be the best time to introduce a new pet to the home. Also, with colder weather and snow, outdoor activities like walks, or housebreaking a new puppy become more difficult.
Lastly, pets are not toys. If you're giving the pet to a child, it's important that they understand their particular responsibilities in having a new pet. Make sure they're willing to help walk the dog or sweep the litter box - and as parents make sure that you're ready to remind them over and over of these responsibilities.
Giving a pet as a gift can be a wonderful surprise, just make sure that it's going to be a great experience for the recipient and the pet.