You?ve seen it before (most likely on the big screen): a
beautifully wrapped present is placed on the floor, someone goes to
pick it up, and it moves! Ah, and then the delight of opening the
box to find a furry angel inside! The pet-as-gift is a charming
idea for movies and TV shows, but does it make sense to give a pet
as a gift in real life?
Why You Might Consider Giving a Pet as a Gift
Do you have a friend who is always talking about how much they
want a dog? Or perhaps you have a family member who lives alone,
and you just know that a cat would make a perfect companion. Giving
a pet as a gift is a well-intentioned act, and indeed very generous
-- after all, pets bring such joy and love to their owners.
However, while you might be sure that your friend or family member
would be delighted to receive a fluffy new friend, they might have
a different idea, and it?s important to do your homework before you
STORY: What Are Puppy
Considerations Before You Give a Pet as a Gift
Here are some things to consider before you give a pet as a gift:
- Lifespan and health of the pet and pet
parent:?The recipient you have in mind should be prepared
to care for the pet you give them for the next 10 to 20 years,
depending on the animal?s age and expected life expectancy. That?s
a big time commitment, and all pets need daily care.
- The annual cost to raise a pet: Pets cost
money. While you might be covering the cost of buying the pet,
the recipient will have to pay for their veterinary care, food,
, and other
. Can the recipient afford that, or would they want to?
- Real estate restrictions: Are there any
restrictions that would not allow the recipient to have a pet in
their home or apartment? Many landlords, for example, will allow
small pets but not large pets, and many require a hefty deposit
regardless of the size of the animal.
- Allergies: Is the recipient allergic to any animals? When in doubt,
- Pet compatibility: Does the recipient own
other animals? Do those animals get along with other animals?
- Dedication, time and patience: When you see
pets given as gifts in movies and TV shows, they are usually pudgy
puppies or fuzzy kittens. But puppies and kittens are a lot of
work. They require training, time, and plenty of patience.
Presenting someone with an adorable baby animal may seem like a
sweet idea, but consider what the recipient is in for once the gift
giving is over and you?ve gone home.
- Desire and commitment: Be sure that the
recipient wants a pet. Saying ?I love dogs!? is not the same thing
as saying ?I want to own a dog, care for it for the next decade,
and pay for whatever needs come up!
If you do decide to give a pet, don?t
?put it in a closed
box, even if the box has breathing holes. The pet could get hurt or
become scared, and you don?t want the animal's?first experience
with their new owner to be a frightening one.RELATED STORY: Choosing The Right Dog For My Family
Alternatives to Giving a Pet as a
If you still like the idea of giving
a pet as a gift but aren?t sure the best way to go about it,
consider these alternatives:
- Give a gift certificate to a
local animal shelter or breeder.
Adoption is a very personal
experience, and most people like picking out their own
- If you decide to give a gift
certificate or money for a new pet but want to find a way to spice
up the presentation, consider a care package. Put together supplies that the recipient will
need to care for their new pet: food, a leash, toys, a bed, a gift
certificate for a first vet visit, etc. That way, they won?t have
to worry so much about the details and can start enjoying their new
friend right away.
- Another great item to add to a
pet care package? A membership to PetPlus.
PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides
member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus
discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn
more at PetPlus.com. Would you ever give
a pet as a gift? Have you ever received one? Leave a comment and
let us know.