“The ASPCA recommends the giving of pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly.” – ASPCA Official Website
We all love our pets, so it is no surprise that many people enjoy seeing the look of excitement on a family member or friend’s face when they are gifted one of their own! Although gifting pets is not preferred, if you are thinking of gifting one this holiday season, please keep these tips in mind to make sure the pet is being gifted responsibly.
Only gift pets to people who have expressed absolute interest in owning a new pet
If there is any question on if the person is ready and or wants a new pet, do not give one as a gift. Many pets end up in shelters because they are gifted to unsuspecting people who had not planned on gaining this responsibility, which is why it is extremely important to gift pets to those who are 100% sure they want one.
Be sure the recipient has experience with pets
Even if you have a loved one interested in owning a pet, do not gift one unless they have a proven track record of being able to provide for it emotionally and financially. For brand new pet owners, this excitement may quickly fade once they realize the work and responsibility that comes with caring for an animal.
Do not gift to a child unless there has been a conversation with their parents first
Children will love having a new pet, but will their parents? Be sure to discuss this gift with a child’s parents first to make sure they are also excited about gaining a new furry family member. Children will love playing with their pet, but in most cases, the parent will be the one taking care of them!
If you gift a pet, also gift pet accessories
With a new pet comes a lot of preparation, including purchasing the many items one will need to keep their pet happy and healthy. If you are gifting a pet, it is a great idea to also gift the recipient a leash, collar, food bowls, food, toys, etc. If possible, it is also a great idea to help the owner set up and pay for their pet insurance for a period of time. Doing this will help set both the pet and owner up for success!
Do not put them in a box
We know, the videos of pets popping out of gift boxes is cute, however, this is not an ideal way to gift a pet. These pets are in a transition period, and keeping them enclosed in a dark box around excited people is never a good idea. Set the pet up for success by gifting them in a way that keeps the pet comfortable. While handing over a pet doesn’t seem like the most “fun”, there are definitely still ways you can make the gift giving a memorable moment, like gifting a leash and collar first! Read this Hill’s article for more fun ways to gift a pet!
Always have a back up plan
Even if you think you are sure the person wants a new pet, you never know what can happen. Always have a plan in place for if the pet cannot stay with the recipient. Are you willing to take on the responsibility of owning this pet? If not, please rethink gifting a pet.
If you are thinking of gifting a pet this holiday season or any time throughout the year, please make sure to do it responsibly!
For more information on gifting pets, check out the ASPCA’s Position Statement on Pets as Gifts.