The holiday season has everyone in gift-mode, and with that, many tend to consider surprising their loved ones with a pet. The idea might be brilliant in theory, but it’s important to take several factors into consideration to prepare the recipient for the gift that keeps on giving.
Erin Askeland, CPDT-KA and Training and Behavioral Expert at Camp Bow Wow, North America’s largest and most trusted pet care franchise, offers these tips for gifting a new pet this holiday season.
Q: What are some tips for people giving a pet as a gift?
A: Picking the right pet is a personal experience, so if you’re not so sure about how your recipient will react, consider the following: Give a gift card for your local shelter/rescue so the recipient can choose his/her pet at will. Wrap a present containing a stuffed animal version of the pet you’d like to gift, and then take the recipient to pick his/her own pet afterwards. Make sure the recipient truly wants a pet and is prepared for one!
Great gifts centered around pets include items to prepare them for care: Training classes, bowls, beds, toys, leashes, vet gift certificates, collars/tags, etc.
Q: What are some things to consider before giving a pet as a gift?
A: Ensure the person receiving the pet understands the commitment, time, and cost involved in pet ownership. Great starter pets are rodents! They are smart, lower maintenance than dogs and cats, have lower upkeep costs, and have shorter lifespans. Consider what you will do if the recipient decides they don’t want the pet or can’t keep it.
Is the time of year appropriate for a new pet? For example, puppies require potty-training, and winter weather may impede the process or make it difficult/unenticing for the owner to work through this.
Q: Are there any requirements that should be met before gifting a pet?
A: The recipient’s home should be made safe for the pet, and other family members/housemates should be aware of the gift and be in favor of the pet.