Giving a Pet as a Gift: Don’t Let Good Intentions Go Bad

Christmas wreath on neck dachshund puppyIt’s understandable why pet lovers would want to share the joy of a new pet with another loved one. However, giving a pet as a gift takes serious planning, commitment, and understanding.

Unlike a new toy or gadget, pets are living beings who require care and attention. Some pets can live years (20 years or more!), and their health needs can be considerable. Because of these and other reasons, many pets end up in shelters. To avoid such a tragic scenario, let’s review some of the risks associated with giving a pet as a gift.

Puppy and Kitten Care

In most cases, the adorable gift in question is a youngster. Puppies and kittens are particularly endearing when wrapped in a red bow, awaiting their new owners under the tree. However, puppies and kittens are a lot of work that many do not expect.

Young pets require several veterinary exams within the first year of life, including vaccines and boosters, deworming, spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, and so on.

Puppies also require even more work considering they depend on us for training and socialization. In fact, it’s prudent to assume a puppy will require a huge time investment for the first few months for crate-training, housebreaking, and basic obedience training.

A Willing Recipient

While the element of surprise may be important for most gift-giving scenarios, it’s risky when it comes to giving a pet as a gift. If the recipient is a friend or adult family member, it’s absolutely essential to have his or her agreement regarding the pet in question.

You’ll also want to know some of the following preferences:

  • Breed and type of pet
  • Age
  • Size
  • Special care considerations (exotic pets need specialized care and knowledge)
  • Lifespan
  • Temperament

If the recipient is a child, the parent(s) need to be in the know, as they’re ultimately responsible for veterinary costs and daily care needs (if it’s a young child). Also keep in mind that some pets are not child-friendly, while others may not fit well into a multi-pet home. Therefore, be sure to do your research and choose a pet that’s the best match for the recipient and his or her family.

Giving a Pet as a Gift

Given the tremendous amount of time, love, and attention they require, pets are not just cute presents, they’re forever friends. Like any family member, their day-to-day care, health, and well-being are integral to responsible pet ownership.

Before giving a pet as a gift, please be sure all aspects of care have been considered. As always, the team at Berkeley Veterinary Center is happy to answer any questions.

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