Here are some reasons why giving pets as gifts isn’t a good idea:
- You don’t know IF someone really wants a pet and, if he or she does, exactly what kind of pet is desired
- A pet needs time to adjust to a new home environment
- You may not be aware of any allergies certain family members might have
- Their lifestyle may not be compatible with the breed of cat or dog you may be giving them
- Introducing a new pet to the family during this stressful time of year can really stress out a dog or cat
So, in the spirit of maintaining the excitement of pet lovers everywhere who wish to spread the joy of pet ownership to others, here are some alternatives that can still make this holiday season a joyous one:
- Instead of buying someone a cat or a dog for the holidays, give him or her a gift certificate for one, from you, so that he or she can go out at a convenient time (preferably AFTER the busy holiday season!) and make a selection. Encourage that person to go to a local shelter or rescue to find that perfect companion. It’s also a good idea to do research before looking for a pet to be sure it will fit with the person’s lifestyle and living space.
- If someone you know loves animals but is not in a position to own a pet, why not make a donation to a local pet shelter or rescue in that person’s name? Shelters can always use monetary donations, cleaning supplies, pet food, etc.
- Many shelters are full during the holiday season and welcome people willing to foster a homeless pet for the holidays. This gives the dog or cat a home, at least temporarily, and can help a prospective owner decide if adding a pet to their family is the right move. If you’re interested in learning more about this option, contact your local shelter for more information.
Pets as gifts is meant with the best of intentions, but doesn’t always work out. It’s better to take a little time to be sure a pet will be welcome rather than give one as a gift only to have to taken to a shelter soon after the holidays.