Why You Should Never Give a Pet as a Gift

Many kids and adults alike ask for pets for Christmas, birthdays, or other holidays. Puppies and kittens are frequently at the top of people’s Christmas lists. While the idea of an adorable animal under the tree can be appealing, there are many reasons why pets shouldn’t be given as gifts.

One major reason to not give a pet as a gift is the cost associated with them. Often times, the adoption or purchase fee for a pet is one of the cheaper things to worry about. So while the gift giver may be able to afford that fee, the new owner is then stuck with the vet bills, food bills, cost of buying supplies like leashes, toys, bed, and other things, daycare/boarding fees, insurance fees, etc. Pets are very expensive, and many people don’t realize that. If you give a pet as a gift, the new owner will then have some immediate major expenses when they have to buy that new pet everything else that they need. The new owner may not be prepared for these expenses, especially around the holiday season. The vast majority of people have financial concerns around the holidays already.

Another great reason is the lifespan. Dogs and cats can live for upwards of 15-20 years. Reptiles and birds can live even longer. Pets are a major commitment for a number of years. Before getting a pet, we as owners need to think long and hard about if we can commit to that pet for its whole life. If the pet is given as a gift, we no longer have that choice or the time to really think it through.

Holidays are stressful for most pets. There is so much hustle and bustle going on, pets often get overlooked. Many pets need time, and peace and quiet, to settle into a new home. Being brought into a home around the holidays can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety for the pet, especially if you have a busy household with holiday parties or gatherings. There are also always lots of decorations, food, and other tempting things for pets to get into. If we are busy enjoying our holidays, our pets may be tempted to get into these things, leading to potential toxicities or GI obstructions, or GI upset. New pets also often require training and socialization, which many people don’t have time for over the holidays.

Another reason is the preparation. Before you bring a new pet into your home, you should be as prepared as possible. You should already have everything they will need, and have really thought it through. Also, you should think about what species of animal you want, and if you want a particular breed. Different breeds tend to have different characteristics that mesh well with some people, but maybe not with others. It is important to bring a pet into your home that you think will get along well with all family members, existing pets, and lifestyle.

If you really wanted to give a pet as a gift, consider purchasing them some supplies for that animal instead, for when the time is right. You could even offer to take them to an animal shelter or reputable breeder when the time comes. You could also consider donating to an animal shelter, or sponsoring an animal at a rehab facility, in the gift recipient’s name. Another great option would be offering to pay for pet insurance for the future pet, or getting a gift certificate for a vet, pet store, daycare facility, or groomer. If the person you are shopping for already has pets, you could also buy some supplies for the pets already in the household.