Should I Give a Pet as a Gift?

Giving a pet as a gift has the best of intentions behind it. You imagine that the friend or family member that you give it to is going to be beyond elated to see their new furry friend running towards them on Christmas morning. However, before you go to your local shelter and give a living, breathing animal as a gift, it is important to think twice first.

Make Sure Your Recipient Really Wants a Pet

Be very careful about this one. Some people enjoy the company of cats instead of dogs. For others, it makes sense to care for a small pet instead of a large canine that they can barely walk on a leash. For reasons like this, it is best to ask your recipient specific questions about what type of pet they would ideally like to have.

Just springing a random surprise on them without even knowing if they want a pet or not is a recipe for an uncomfortable situation. Not everyone has the time, energy, money, or interest in having a pet. If you know ahead of time what they truly desire, you can confidently give it to them, knowing that they will love your gift.

Before You Make the Decision to Give

Keep in mind that you aren’t giving a gift that will wear out in a few years. A pet is a 15-to-18-year commitment to an animal. Here are some other considerations that you must make:

  • Is your recipient away from home a lot? Will they have time to play and exercise the animal?
  • Is there enough space in the home for the pet? Does their housing unit have restrictions on pets?
  • Does the recipient have pet allergies?
  • Are there other pets in the household?
  • Does the recipient have enough money to care for the pet for a lifetime?

Giving Pets to Children

Nothing is going to put a bigger smile on your child’s face than gifting him or her a puppy or kitten this Christmas. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adding a precious animal to your family in such a memorable way. However, there is one thing you should keep in mind.

If your child or children are under 12 years old, you need to realize that you are the one that is going to have to be responsible for caring for the animal. Children can begin to learn responsibility in their younger years, but it is unlikely that they are ready to care for a new life by themselves just yet.

Giving Pets as Gifts: Being Prepared

Should you decide to give a pet as a gift, it is a wise choice to go a step further and have all of the necessary supplies ready to go as well. For example, you don’t want to gift someone a puppy without giving them anything to take care of them. Puppies need food, a collar, bedding, toys, and more. Cats must have a litterbox immediately. Having all of these things readily available allows for the animal to feel more settled into its new abode.


If you have considered all of these things and have all of your ducks in a row, move forward with your plans and hopefully, your best intentions will turn out beautifully.

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