Should You Gift a Pet for the Holidays?

EricHealth, Philosophy, Raising a Puppy, Tips, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

Holiday season is fast approaching (okay, it’s already here) and it’s time to start thinking about gifts.  And with the adorable faces of a precious puppy or cute kitten, or the pleading eyes of a desperate rescue dog, it can be tempting to gift your family a pet for the holidays.  But is gifting a pet ever a good idea?  We at Paws Dogs Daycare would like to share some things to think about before making that decision.


Who is it for?

Are you considering a pet for your own family, or someone else?  A pet may be an okay decision if it’s for you (see other points below), but should never be made on behalf of someone else.  Even if they really want a pet, there are so many other factors that go into choosing the best companion for their family.  Temperament, age, species, breed, allergy considerations, etc. are all vital components to pet adoption.  Not to mention that most reputable places won’t allow you to purchase a pet on behalf of someone else.

How long have you been considering getting a pet?

Is this a well thought out decision that you’ve been thinking about and researching for a long time? Or is this a spur-of-the-moment choice because your kids decided they want a pet or because it’s hard to ignore that furbaby’s adorable face?  Pets are a lot of responsibility that require a lot of intentional thought.  You need to time to research the best breed, spend time at the rescue organization or breeder meeting both them and your potential new best friend, and gathering supplies.  A sad majority of gifted pets end up surrendered because the impact of their care was improperly evaluated.

Can you afford it?

Beyond the initial adoption fees, pets require ongoing financial commitment.  Can you afford their food, shelter, and toys?  How about their ongoing vet care?  Monthly pet insurance premiums or emergency care costs?  It is unfair to adopt an animal that you don’t have the means to support.

Does your lifestyle fit with an animal?

If you’re barely home, how will you ensure that high-energy dog gets enough activity?  Who will watch Rover when you go on vacation?  How often can you clean your new kitty’s litter box, or scoop your new dog’s poop?  Each animal comes with their own set of needs, and in addition to really evaluating whether your lifestyle supports any animal, it’s also critical to choose the right one for your situation.

In summary, if a pet was already determined to be the right choice for you, and you’ve already spent the time determining your needs, meeting the adopter, researching the animal, evaluating fit, and ensuring both financial and lifestyle compatibility, then it might be okay to consider that adoption as one of your holiday gifts.  Make sure the whole family is on board and everyone’s needs are considered.  If, by contrast, you are considering a pet as a gift for someone else, or were not previously serious about pet ownership before the holidays, this isn’t the right time to make that leap.  Allow others to make their own pet decisions (maybe with your help, if they want it), and spend the necessary time really making sure this is a decision you’re in for the long haul.  Pets are not disposable, and you don’t want to be in the position of having to rehome because you made a choice on a whim.  

Happy Holidays!

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