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Should You Give a Pet as a Holiday Gift?

Updated on April 16, 2017
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Randi lives with her family and 4 rescue cats. She grew up in a home that has always welcomed strays and has continued the tradition.

As the holiday season approaches, so does the search for the perfect gift. Whether it be a need to fulfill a loved one's desire or the quest for that elusive gift, pets are often at the top of the list for people-pleasing gifts. But are they truly the "right" gift?

Does it get much sweeter than this?
Does it get much sweeter than this? | Source

Before you Buy a Pet as a Gift.

Pets are a big commitment whether it is a goldfish or a horse. Before you bring any animal home with you, it would be a good idea to see just how much of a commitment it is. Puppies and kittens are very easy to love but will you continue to enjoy their antics as they get older and bigger?

Surprise! It's not a coffeemaker!
Surprise! It's not a coffeemaker! | Source

What do you think?

Have you ever given or received a pet as a gift?

See results

Be Prepared

If you are giving a pet as a gift, make sure that the recipient has everything they need for the pet at least until they can go out and get the things they will need or include supplies as part of the gift. A goldfish can only last in a plastic bag for so long! We adopted a rescue kitten impulsively, several years ago. We were halfway home when we remembered we had nothing at home to care for her. We were able to stop to get her supplies and food. We were lucky that there are stores opened all night long but that may not be the case on Christmas.

My Personal Experience

When I was about ten years old, I received a gerbil as a gift. He came to me in one of those little cardboard, take-out boxes and that was exactly what my mother made me do, take him out! I waited outside for my dad to come home. We went back to the store, which wouldn't take it back, bought a small cage and the following day, I donated him to my classroom. Ours had a happy ending. My classroom had a great pet and I got to feel proud that it was because of me. Unfortunately, not all unwanted pets find another home, especially the small ones. They are left to die or released into surroundings that they don't know how to survive in. My gift giver had good intentions but should have spoken to my parents before bringing it.

Determining which pet to give

If you are set on purchasing a pet for a gift, it is important to determine all the factors involved. They include

  • cost
  • care
  • space
  • personality
  • time
  • willingness

If your niece, neighbor or the child you babysit for voices a desire for a pet, even a small one, do be sure to clear it with her parents first. They may be thrilled that you are planning this or they may have other ideas to help you make this happen.

Does Your Pet Suit your Lifestyle?

Will you be ok with your pet sharing baby's things?!
Will you be ok with your pet sharing baby's things?! | Source

Important things to consider when choosing a pet

Will a pet fit into the current lifestyle?
Able to take on the financial commitment
Does the recipient want this pet?
Is anyone in the household allergic, afraid or anti pets
Willing to take on the emotional commitment?
Would the recipient prefer to choose their own pet?
Was the recipient planning on getting a pet?
Can you provide the physical tasks?
Is the recipient ready for this pet now?
Click thumbnail to view full-size
What child doesn't want to snuggle a new puppy?All ready for Christmas!
What child doesn't want to snuggle a new puppy?
What child doesn't want to snuggle a new puppy? | Source
All ready for Christmas!
All ready for Christmas! | Source

Consider Adopting a Pet.

If you are getting a dog or a cat, please consider adopting your pet. There are so many homeless pets that would make the best "forever" friends. If you are looking for a specific breed, there are many rescue organizations that can help you find you that particular breed. Please remember that any animal you bring into your home should be considered a forever pet. These are lives and don't deserve to be shuffled around.

Pets are for Life

First and foremost to remember is that adopting or buying a pet requires a commitment to care for that pet as long as it lives. Very often, pets given as Christmas gifts are returned right after the holiday. Many people find that they are unable or unwilling to care for them. If you want to give a pet as a gift, it is a great idea to involve the recipient in the decision making and choosing process.

Timing is Everything.

What is your house like on Christmas morning? The typical family with children is usually a little wild and exciting. Kids are unwrapping gifts, eating treats and having a general fun time. can you imagine a brand new pet, who is probably already nervous and maybe a bit terrified being introduced into that environment? I can't imagine how terrifying that would be. If you are giving a pet for Christmas, it is recommended that you do it either before or after, so that you can better acclimate your new pet.

A Sobering Thought

Life With Four Felines

If you would like to read more about my personal experiences, please check out these hubs:

Gifting a Pet Responsibly

There are many organizations that will gladly help you to pick the right animal and provide you with resources to care for your new pet. Please peruse some of these sites before you bring a new pet home.




© 2013 Randi Benlulu


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