It’s that time of year again. Time to find the perfect gift for family and friends. Chances are, there’s at least one person you think might love a pet this year, but before you go out and get one, here are a few things you should consider.
Do They Want a Pet?
If the person you are considering getting a pet for hasn’t specifically said that they want one, you need to make sure that they actually do. Sometimes, even animal lovers have reasons not to want a pet right now. Perhaps they’re busy with work or school, or maybe their significant other or a family member is allergic. Make some sneaky enquiries before you make the decision.
Are They Ready for a Pet?
Even if someone wants a pet, they may not always be ready to have one in their lives. Maybe their lease is ending soon, or the place they live in is too small to accommodate a pet. Maybe their financial situation is precarious (and having a furbaby can cost quite a bit!), or maybe they’re planning a round-the-world backpacking trip next year. Consider all of these facts before you decide to give them a gift that comes with a lifetime responsibility.
What Kind of Animal Do They Like?
Most people have some sort of preference about the kinds of pets they like. Some like dogs, some like cats, some are partial to rabbits or ferrets, while some prefer specific breeds. You may need to put on your sleuth cap again, and ask some careful questions. You may find talking to friends and close family members useful too.
Can You Adopt?
If you’ve asked all the questions about whether the person you’re thinking of giving a pet to wants one and can take care of, the next question you should be asking is whether you can adopt an animal that needs a home from a shelter. There are puppies and kittens as well as older dogs in shelters throughout the country waiting for a forever home with a loving family, and if you can help one of them this year, you’ll be giving two great gifts instead of one. If you opt for this route, you may need to give the recipient of the gift a voucher for one adoption fee, because they will probably have to apply in person.
What Sort of Starter Kit Will You Need?
If you’re giving a pet for Christmas this year, then you will probably want to give the recipient a starter kit too, with the basics they will need to get started. A bag of food, basic grooming tools, a leash or carrier, a cozy winter jacket and other basics should all be a part of the package you put together.
If you’re worried about the statistics that say that animals given as gifts are abandoned more regularly, don’t be. Recent research by the Humane Society in the US discovered that ‘unwanted gift’ was one of the least common reasons for surrendering a pet, well below changes in lifestyle and finances. As long as you are sure that the person receiving the pet will love and appreciate them, and can handle the responsibility, pets as gifts can be a great idea, both for the recipient and the pet!