It’s always super fun to give someone the gift of a fuzzy little friend that you know they will love! It’s also imperative to make sure you think through the decision clearly because gifting a pet on a whim could easily result in that pet being rehomed or improperly cared for.
If you are considering gifting someone a pet, you are ready for some prep work to ensure that the pet is going to the perfect home and will be well taken care of.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Gifting Someone a Pet:
Make sure the person wants a pet.
Make sure the person is prepared for a pet and genuinely wants the pet.
It’s one thing to want a pet, but it’s also another thing to make sure that their household is prepared to care for the animal properly, which may require you to have a serious conversion in advance to make sure that you can gauge the person’s interest in having a furry friend in their life.
Pro Tip: Do this a few months in advance or as a 20 questions game to make sure you don’t tip them off to the surprise.
Is their household ready for a pet?
Animals require a lot of love, time, and attention. There are a few questions to ask yourself and even the recipient before you proceed.
Will their schedule allow them to care for an animal properly?
Things like training, feeding, exercising, cleaning up after, and playing with their new pet are a big responsibility. They will likely take up a lot of time, especially if they are not already a pet owner or are new to owning a pet.
It may seem like everyone wants a little pet but it’s important to consider the other members in the household before spontaneously gifting an animal. Consider the pet’s lifespan, and ensure that the recipient is prepared to commit to their new companion animal.
Are there other animals in the household that may become stressed out with a new addition?
Make sure the recipient is prepared for an introductory phase, which isn’t always a short and straightforward process. Do the other pets in the home need a trial run with the new animal to ensure the right fit? If so, a surprise gift probably isn’t right for you.
Are there small children in the household?
This question may also depend on the exact pet that you are gifting. It is always best to ensure that the animal will not be stressed out too much by young children or that the young children will not be in danger with the new furry addition.
Are there any allergies in the household?
Once again, this question depends heavily on the exact animal you will be gifting. Still, if the idea is to give someone a lifelong companion animal, you want to ensure that the animal and the recipient are compatible.
Do they have a fenced yard or the space to care for an animal?
Pets need a proper habitat or space to live in. Make sure the recipient has all of the necessary elements to give their new furry friend the best life possible.
If you aren’t sure about any of the questions mentioned above, be sure to ask ahead of time, or consider another gift.
Can the person afford the pet?
Other than the commitment of time, love, and attention… There is also a financial responsibility associated with owning an animal that goes beyond the initial purchase or adoption price.
Is the recipient prepared for a new pet financially?
Within the first year of their life, most pets need to see a vet at least two times, and potentially more, to ensure their vaccines and records are entirely up to date.
Beyond upcoming trips to the vet, there are other things to consider financially:
- Veterinarian Costs
- Spay / Neuter
- Registering with City/State/County
- Initial Pet Supplies
- Food Bowls
- Food and Treats
- Behavior Training
Adopting a Pet as a Gift
After verifying that the person and their household are prepared to take on all the responsibilities of adding a new pet to their family, it’s time to select the perfect pet!
We always recommend that you call or take a few visits to your local humane societies or animal shelters to see if they have the perfect pet. If you are looking for a specific breed or even a puppy, animal shelters often get a wide variety in, and you may be able to help find the perfect forever home.
If you have called around and are still looking for a specific breed or type of animal to gift, we have a few tips to help ensure that you are making a responsible choice and not supporting puppy mills or pet scammers.
And please, NEVER purchase a puppy or kitten from a pet store.
Choosing to purchase from a breeder.
We have a whole blog on our website about the red lights, green lights, and questions to ask a breeder before choosing to go that route. You can read more about it here.
Choosing to purchase a pet from online sellers.
Unfortunately, pet scammers are real, and BBB reports from 2020 in the U.S and Canada state that incidents have increased from 1,870 to 3,969 in just one year. Usually, we see more scams occur in peak gifting times, like major holidays and Christmas.
If you end up finding a deal that seems too good to be true, make sure you ask plenty of questions and that you complete the payment and adoption in person. Relying on in-person adoptions will help avoid most online scammers from taking deposits or full payments and vanishing.
How should you give the pet?
Will you make it a surprise? We’ve seen all types of adorable videos online of people receiving animals as gifts on Christmas or after a beloved pet passes over the rainbow bridge.
No matter your reason, be creative with the delivery and have fun while keeping the pet’s safety in mind.
Did we leave something out? Something else you think we should include? Let us know! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org