Giving pets as Christmas gifts sounds like a good idea on the surface, but is it really?  

Sure, the idea of a child seeing a puppy or kitten coming out of a gift box sounds heartwarming, but once that emotion is gone, the responsibilities remain. One can say that it’s arguably romanticized and people are either unaware or apprehensive of this fact. 

It’s always nice to welcome a new furry friend into the family, but taking care of them is always something that needs to be considered. You’ll never know if the person you’ll be giving pets to as a surprise may be allergic to them in the first place.  

Just like every member of the family, your pets need care and attention. If you’re planning on gifting a dog or cat to your loved ones, then here are things you need to think about. 

1. Ask if the child wants a pet first

If you’re giving a pet to a child, always ask their parents if he or she is indeed looking for one. In this day and age, kids will always have different preferences and interests. Sometimes, having a pet to look after might just be a burden to them. 

It might be a good idea to sit with the child’s parents and see if they are interested. After all, taking care of a growing pet is a huge responsibility and a commitment. They need to be ready to understand and handle these in the first place. 

2. Consider the place the pets will stay

The house that pets will live in is also another factor to consider. If the house that the pet will stay in isn’t suitable in the first place, it might not be a good idea to give one to begin with. 

As an example, active pets that have the zoomies will run the risk of damaging things like vases or potted plants. Some people may even have rare toys on display around the house, if they’re not in a cabinet. The last thing they want is a pet knocking them down either by accident or by curiosity.  

There are even breeds that shed fur frequently, which will result in their owners vacuuming or sweeping out the place.  

3. Check the family’s lifestyle

Having a pet at home requires a family member to be there to care for them. Walks, baths, and feeding are just some of the basic responsibilities. 

With the ongoing pandemic, it’s convenient for pet parents because they can watch over their furbabies. But once they’re asked to go back to the office, they’ll need someone to take care of their beloved pets.  

It’s fine if someone will return to the house at the end of the day. But if the pets will frequently stay unattended for days, it might not be advisable for the person to receive them as gifts to begin with. After all, leaving them at a relative’s place or a pet hotel can only help for so long.  

4. Pets are not toys, they’re family members

The most important thing to consider is that pets can’t be returned to the store and get exchanged like toys can. Even if you return them to the shelter, there’s paperwork that needs to be done and it just adds to the burden of the people in the rescue home.  

Instead, it might be a good idea to bring an interested person over to the shelter and have them volunteer if they want. That way, the get a feel of how it’s like to care for pets. This will also give enough time to consider if they really want to have one around the house.  

One last thing 

Just remember that while the Holidays are all about spreading love and good cheer, surprise presents are always a risk. Every person has different tastes and lifestyles, which is why giving pets to someone must only be done if the recipient is willing to commit and care for them as they would a child or a younger sibling beforehand. If they are, then helping them adopt a new dog or cat may just be the best gift they could ever receive for Christmas.