Are Pets a Good Gift? You Might be Surprised

pets as gifts may not always be a good idea get your pet

Too much hubbub is no good, right?

If your household is like mine, the activity level is turned up to 11 out of 10 around the holidays. You’d think that this would be a bad time to introduce a new pet into the mix. But you know what they say: if you need someone to do something, look for someone who’s busy. And from the pet’s point of view, a busy house sure beats Christmas in a cage or kennel. But do pets make good gifts?

Experts say it can work…

The generally accepted argument is that pets don’t work out as gifts. But, believe it or not, a well-respected study says that’s just not so. Not long ago, Dr. Emily Weiss, Vice President of Research and Development for the ASPCA, and a number of other animal welfare experts conducted a survey study on the subject. They found that

“…receiving a dog or cat as a gift was not associated with impact on self-perceived love/attachment, or whether the dog or cat was still in the home. These results suggest there is no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as a gift.”

In English: a person who receives a pet as a gift is just as likely to love it and keep it as someone who goes out and gets a pet on their own. Maybe even more! You can read the full article here.

Common sense still counts, though…

Now I’m certainly not recommending that you give everyone on your holiday list a kitten wrapped up with a big red bow. The secret of giving a good gift, no matter what it is, is finding something you know the recipient, not you, would really cherish. So use your good judgment: have you heard this person repeatedly express interest in having a pet? Are they sincere? Can they handle it?

If Santa’s going to give a pet this year — and that can be a wonderful idea — better check this list twice:

  • Know what the recipient is looking for in a pet.
  • Consider all members of the family – both the two-legged and four-legged! If adopting for someone you don’t live with, make sure you have the agreement of everyone else in the home, and include them in the surprise. After all, the pet will live with everyone.
  • Can the household handle the financial upkeep? Keeping a pet costs money – food, toys, grooming, and veterinary care.

Pets are a good gift, but…

Be sure you’re not giving a gift that the recipient can’t afford to keep or feels is too much of a commitment.

  • Most pet stores are closed on Christmas Day, so be sure to get all the necessary food, toys, collars, leashes, etc. in advance! In fact, giving a pet as a gift along with a starter basket of food and toys takes the gift to a whole new level of thoughtfulness.

Oh, and did I mention?  If you’re thinking of getting someone a pet as a gift, is the place to “shop.” You’ll really be giving three gifts in one:  to the Guardian who needs to re-home their pet, to the pet who needs a second chance, and to that special someone on your list.

Now that’s what I call spreading the spirit of the season!

Are pets a good gift? Absolutely.