7 questions to answer before gifting a pet this holiday

7 questions to answer before gifting a pet this holiday

Dec 14, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

You may think that puppy is cute and cuddly, and therefore, the best present you could ever give someone. But if you’re thinking of giving a pet as a gift, whether to your child, a friend, or someone else in your family, be sure to remember that you’re giving them a gift that will endure much longer than those fuzzy socks or that itchy sweater.

From USA Today and animal behaviorist Jonathan Klein, here are seven questions to help you think through that decision:

1. Does this person really want a pet?

If the person doesn’t already have a pet, ask yourself why that is. Or, if the person already has a pet or two, ask yourself if adding another one is in the best interest of the person and the pets.

2. Is this the right time?

If the person really does want a pet, look at the timing. Most people are far too busy to introduce a new pet into their home while trying to keep up with all the demands of the season. Why not consider a different, more laidback time of year?

3. Is this an impulse decision?

That kitten in your clinic has been looking for a home. And ‘tis the season to be charitable, right? Wrong. Instead of gifting that kitten to someone you love to give it an immediate home, why not go the extra mile to find the kitten a family that really wants it? Post some flyers at the grocery store, hand out flyers at your clinic, and spread the word.

4. Is fostering a better option?

Animal rescues are always looking for responsible people to provide foster homes on a short- or long-term basis until they can find them a forever home. Find a responsible breeder, shelter or a rescue group.

5. Is this pet the best fit?

Consider pets other than dogs and cats, especially if the pet is for a child. Fish, turtles, mice, and guinea pigs are all excellent, easy, and economical choices that kids can enjoy and love without creating much of an impact to a daily routine.

6. Is the recipient’s home prepared?

The potential new pet owner needs to lock away all household chemicals, keep any potentially poisonous houseplants or breakables out of reach, tie back any electrical cords, and keep doors closed. Holiday decorations like tinsel, mistletoe, wrapping paper, and table decorations can be problematic. And certain foods, including chocolate and raisins, can be lethal.

7. Does the recipient have supplies and resources?

Stock up at the pet store and help him or her choose a veterinarian and locate the nearest emergency veterinary hospital that’s open 24/7.