It’s a new month, and that means we’re one step closer to Christmas. Don’t worry, I’m not about to start caroling and hauling out the decorations just yet. However, since many of you have probably already been shopping in preparation, I did want to use this opportunity to discuss something that I feel is important to keep in mind in the months leading up to THE gift giving holiday of the year, and that is the idea of pets as gifts.
Should you give someone a pet as a gift?
In almost all cases, it’s probably a bad idea to give someone a new pet as a gift. It may seem like a great idea, but there are many things that should be taken into consideration anytime you bring a new animal into your home, let alone someone else’s home. You are essentially gifting someone a ton of responsibility and maintenance without their consent or knowledge.
What happens if they do not want the pet? Are you prepared to care for the animal if the intended recipient does not want to? Is the person that you are giving this animal to equipped to handle the responsibility of raising and caring for an animal? Do not plan to take the animal to a shelter if your surprise gift is not well received, it’s your responsibility now.
Even if the individual that you intend to give the animal to has repeatedly expressed their wishes for a new pet, it is still a good idea to let them decide when it is the right time to adopt a new pet. They may need time to prepare. Many apartments and rental situations do not allow tenants to have pets, or may require advance notice and approval from the property manager. They may also require a hefty pet deposit fee as well.
Speaking of fees, that brings me to another important point. Money. Pets cost money. If you are a pet owner, then you know the charges don’t stop once you pay the adoption fee. You have to pay for the vet, the groomer, the trainer, the food, the toys, and other assorted supplies, and if your animal requires special medications or special food, you’ll end up spending a ton of money on those as well. If the intended recipient of your gift can’t afford all of these things, then you should not increase their financial strain with the burden of caring for another life.
If you add all of these things up, you start to understand why giving someone a pet isn’t as good of an idea as it seems. Pets come with a lot of variables, and the timing of adopting a new pet needs to be just right. If it’s not, it can cause a lot of stress and headache for everyone involved, especially the animal. Animals are not an object like a new iPad, to be given to someone as their property. Animals are living things and at the end of the day it is unfair to the animal, who has no control over their situation, to be put in an unhealthy or potentially unstable living situation.
I hope that I’ve given you good enough reasons to persuade you not to give someone a pet as a gift. Everyone loves kittens and puppies, so I can understand the impulse to make someone happy by delivering a furry bundle of joy to them on Christmas or their birthday. However, next time that impulse strikes, just take a deep breath and remember some basic things about pet ownership.
Pets cost money, time, and attention. They are a huge responsibility. Many people may not be equipped to raise a new pet, and may not have the space to do so. If your plan fails, and they can not accept your gifted animal, that animal is now yours. Are you equipped with the time, attention, money, and space to add another responsibility to your life? If the answer to that final question is “no” then the answer to the first question: “Should I give a pet as a gift?” should also be “no.”