Do pets make good presents? For the holidays, it can be tempting to give an adorable little ball of fur as a present. There’s no doubt that pets are a wonderful addition to life, but not everyone has the time, energy, money or interest in owning a pet. Caring for animals is an enormous responsibility, and they should never be carelessly given as gifts to anyone.
According to PETA, pets that are given as gifts are more likely to end up in a shelter. Many people who receive animals as gifts find that they’re unable to make the lifelong commitment to caring for their new animal companion. There are some of the many reasons why you should never give animals as gifts:
- The gift might not be age-appropriate
It often happens that parents give pets as gifts to young kids. When pets are seen as mere gifts, many kids may find that they get tired of the responsibility part and also avoid the pet altogether. Owning a pet is a big commitment, and the children may be too young to take it seriously. According to PETA, dogs need outdoor exercise every single day, and a huge time investment is required to train a puppy – children are not mature enough to handle this responsibility. If a kid has lost interest and no one else step in and take the responsibility to continue looking after the animal throughout its lifetime, the pet is most likely to end up in a shelter.
- Giving a pet as a Christmas gift can be a bad surprise
If you are considering giving an animal to someone outside your immediate family, you need to be very sure it’s what they want. Pets aren’t gifts, they are a lifelong commitment. They can cost a great deal of money over their lifetime. As well as paying for vaccinations, the recipient will have to pay for micro-chipping services and other expenses such as pet food, toys, grooming, bedding and boarding costs. In addition, the time commitment required to feed, train and exercise a pet can be huge too. Therefore, it’s extremely important to make sure the recipient is well-prepared for the responsibilities of pet ownership.
What's the Right Way to Gift Someone a Dog, Cat or Other Animal?
It's okay to give animals as gifts as long as the recipient has an interest in owning one. ASPCA recommends the giving of animals as presents only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly.
Consider these other factors before giving a pet as a gift:
- Interest: Did the recipient already express interest in owning a pet? Which kind of pet he or she wants?
- Cost: Is he or she financially capable and willing to pay for pet food, supplies, veterinary care, and other services over the animal's lifetime?
- Time: Does he or she have time for daily exercise, interaction and play? Who is ultimately going to be caring for this pet?
- Space: What kind of environment will the pet live in? Does the recipient have a pet-friendly home?
- Compatibility: What kind of pet would fit this recipient's lifestyle best? How active is the recipient?
- Health: Does he or she have allergies or other conditions that would conflict with caring for this animal companion?
- Other Pets: Will this new animal companion get along with other animals in the household?
Only give a pet to someone who has expressed an interest in one and is responsible enough to care for it. If you know someone who really wants an animal companion and is ready for the responsibility, you can get a pet from an animal shelters. Generally, animals in shelters have already been spayed or neutered, and received all of their vaccinations, which will remove the burden of those responsibilities from your intended recipients. Best yet, your intended recipients will not only receive the gift of a new lovely, loyal companion – but they will also know they have helped a pet to find a forever home.