Pets can make great gifts, if you know what you are getting into. Here are some important things to think about if you are considering giving a pet as a gift.
Avoid impulse buys. It is easy to fall in love with a cute face. If you did not intend to get a pet when you left your house, go home and think about it before you make the choice to add a pet to your family.
Think about more than just looks. How a dog or cat looks is just one thing to consider when picking out a new pet. Energy level and exercise needs, personality, and grooming needs are all important things to think about. A dog or cat that is not a good fit for your lifestyle will drive you crazy, no matter how great he looks.
Remember that puppies and kittens are cute and cuddly, but they will grow up fast into full-sized cats and dogs. When choosing a puppy or kitten, consider the size and energy level of your new pet when he grows up.
Have realistic expectations when getting a pet for a child. No matter how long your child has been bugging you for a pet, and no matter how many times they promise to take care of their pet, children cannot be expected to take full responsibility for a pet. Depending on the age of your child, there are things he or she can help with, but an adult ultimately needs to be responsible for the new pet.
Make sure the whole family receiving the pet agrees with the decision, especially the adult who will be around the new pet the most. It doesn’t matter that Susie, Bobby, and mom want a dog if dad is the one who will be home all day with her.
Keep in mind what the recipient of your gift wants, and that it may be different than what you yourself would want. This is especially important if you do not live with the person receiving your gift. Your friends or loved ones are who will be living with the new pet, so it is important that they get a pet that is compatible with their lifestyle and fits into their household.
Consider giving the supplies needed for a new pet and then let the person pick out their own new pet. Buy a crate or carrier and fill it with toys, treats, and a certificate stating that you will pay the adoption fee for a new pet. This is an especially good option if you are unsure exactly what your friend wants in a new pet. You can even do some searching online and then go with your friend to pick out his new companion.
For help choosing the right dog for your family, check out these great books at Dogwise.com!