Thinking about giving a four-legged bundle of fur as a gift this year? We want to make sure you have thought this through before you actually do it, because these gifts don’t want to be returned!
First and foremost, the entire family should be involved in the adoption process. Surprise pets are usually not a good idea. If it were you getting a new pet, wouldn’t you want to have a say in picking it out? This is a good way to make sure the pet is a good fit for everyone in the family, and helps create that initial bond. You want to make sure everyone is on board with the new pet, and knows what will be expected of them in caring for that pet.
Consider the cost and responsibility that go along with a pet. Puppies and kittens typically require multiple veterinary visits when they are very young, which can be a significant financial commitment. The pet will need food, bedding, possibly a carrier or crate, litter and litter box for cats. The new owner should also be prepared for unexpected veterinary visits in case the pet gets sick or injured.
Do you really want to be potty training a puppy over the holidays? Puppies require a lot of attention initially, and a new owner may not be able to provide that during such a busy time of year. You certainly don’t want to have to undo bad habits that could have been prevented if the puppy was given adequate training from the start.
With visitors in the house there are lots of opportunities for pets to get table scraps that might make them sick (more messes!). If that pet decides to chew on your poinsettias or Christmas tree, that could mean an extra trip to the veterinarian.
Adoption can be stressful for a pet at any time. They are being put in a strange home with strange new people, pets, sounds and smells. Add to that additional family members coming and going for holiday gatherings, changes in family members’ schedules, and the general chaos that accompanies the holidays, and you wind up making a difficult transition even harder. If you really want to give a pet as a gift, make sure the potential new owner really wants one, and consider giving them a voucher (provided by some humane societies) or gift card so they can get the pet after the craziness of the holidays is over.