For Christmas, it can be tempting to give a cute, cuddly pet as a gift. Yet even the cutest of things can come with unexpected consequences, here are some vital things you need to know to ensure pet gifting is actually a good idea and will be welcomed by the receiver.

Giving pets as gifts

Don’t gift a pet as a surprise

Pets can bring great joy to our lives, yet not everyone has the time, energy, money, or interest in having a pet. A surprise may feel more festive, but in the long run everyone, including the potential pet, will be happier if you ask up front.

Make sure the recipient wants a pet and is financially prepared

Be cautious when gifting a pet as an unexpected gift to a family member or a friend. Pets require a considerable investment of both time and money and aren’t right for everyone, so make sure you do your research on this one.

If you’re adopting, be prepared to pay the pet’s adoption fees

Once you know your recipient wants a pet, tell them you’ll pay the shelter’s adoption fees for them in advance. If ultimately they decide against adopting a pet, you’ll have made a much-needed donation to a shelter in their name. And remember that shelters are a great resource, even if your recipient is keen on a pedigreed pet.

Don’t buy a pet on an impulse

While it’s an exciting experience, acting on impulse also doesn’t give you or the recipient the chance to select a pet by size, activity level, and temperament, all-important factors when choosing a pet. If you’re serious about buying a pet, do your research and find a responsible breeder, shelter or a rescue group.

If you still aren’t sure, here are some questions to ask yourself before gifting a pet:

  • Does the person have a sustained and serious interest in owning and caring for an animal companion?
  • Do they have the knowledge and resources to care for the animal properly?
  • Are you certain that the animal will not be felt as a personal or financial burden?
  • Is the choice of species and breed appropriate for the recipient?

Most importantly, if you’re in any doubt about giving a pet as a gift, it’s probably best for all in involved that you re-think.