Giving a pet as a gift may seem like the perfect way to spread holiday cheer with your loved ones, but pets are more than a cute gift. Although pets can make wonderful additions to our homes, they include a lifetime of care, attention and financial responsibility. A lot of thought and consideration needs to be put into the decision to adopt an animal. The following are some things to consider before giving pets as gifts.
- Avoid the element of surprise. Make sure to ask the recipient if they are ready for the commitment of pet ownership. Then find out specifics like size, breed(s), energy level and age.
- Consider the cost. Pets are a financial commitment. In addition to the cost of food, there’s annual wellness exams, vaccines, parasite preventives, and other unexpected expenses.
Evaluate if a pet will suit the recipient’s lifestyle and home situation. Depending on where the recipient lives, there can be pet and breed restrictions. Also, if there are other pets already in the home, consider if their current pet would be compatible with a new pet.
An option to consider instead of gifting a pet is to provide a gift certificate for the cost of adopting a pet. That way, the recipient can personally pick out the animal and be completely involved in the whole process. Or, you could make a donation to your local animal shelter in the recipient’s name.