Pets as Presents: Are you Prepared?

Puppy Wearing Bow

With the holidays right around the corner, once again the question emerges, “Should I give a pet as a gift?”. The truth of the matter is that pets are a wonderful addition to life, yet not everyone has the time, energy, finances, or interest in having a pet. Here are some things to consider:

What happens when the warm fuzzies wear off?”

The reality is that after the Christmas trees are tucked away, the lights come down, and the holiday giddiness subsides, there is a lifelong commitment to pet ownership! Pets undoubtedly enrich our lives and bring joy, but there is also a level of responsibility that comes along with being a pet’s forever home. These new pets will need supplies, training, and veterinary care in the coming years that can add up to a considerable financial contribution on the part of the new pet owner. Are they prepared to provide the care that their pet needs? If the pet is a puppy or kitten, is the recipient prepared for the long nights, messy floors, and chewed up shoes that inevitably occur? Not fully examining the commitment it takes for pet ownership is sadly a major contributing factor to the flood of pets taken to shelters in the months following the Christmas holiday.

Which pet is best?”

Successful gifting of a pet includes matching its lifestyle with the owner’s. Things to consider are living space, exercise requirements, grooming requirements, breed and gender preferences, and accommodating ages of children in the household. While the idea of a magical Christmas surprise is appealing, the decision for pet ownership requires research and careful planning to match the perfect pet to the perfect family.

“Where can I get a pet?”

One way to provide the gift of a pet would be to pre-pay the adoption fee for the recipient at a local animal shelter or rescue. This allows the best opportunity to find a successful match that will last a lifetime. There are many breed specific rescue organizations and shelters that are full of pets, of all ages, breeds, and genders, looking for their forever homes. An online resource for finding adoptable pets is through www.petfinder.com . There are so many homeless pets that need homes – Don’t shop… ADOPT!

“I’ve done my research and gifted a pet, now what?”

The best recommendation after a new pet has been adopted is to establish a relationship with a veterinarian as soon as possible. The new pet needs to be examined for overall health, tested for any parasites that may pose a health risk (to the pet and to humans!), ensure that the pet is protected against disease, and to discuss ongoing care. A visit to a veterinarian is also a valuable resource to the new pet owner on topics such as behavior, training, nutrition, grooming, and general pet care. Bottom line is, gifting a pet should never be an impulse decision, but if the proper planning and discussion is done, it can result in a joyful experience for owner and pet!