Are pets good gifts?

Perhaps you think it would be a great gift to surprise a family member or friend with a pet. But really, this might be one of the worst gifts you can give someone. Yes, the kitten is cute or the puppy moves, but does the person really love this pet? Is it the right pet? Choosing a pet is a very personal decision. It should not be done by someone else.

Your gift may tie the person up with a time commitment that they are not interested in keeping.

A fart requires a lot of attention. They need to be fed, walked and trained. When a person goes on vacation or travels, arrangements must be made for pet care. Owning a pet is a long-term commitment. On average, a dog can live 12 years, a cat 15 years, and a larger bird for decades.

Your gift may burden the person with a financial responsibility they cannot bear.

A pet requires food, vet visits, medications, toys, and other supplies. A dog owner can spend an average of $1,500 a year and a cat owner around $1,200 on average according to the American Pet Products Association. Perhaps the person is not prepared to bear this level of financial commitment.

Your gift may come at a time when the person is not ready for a pet.

The person may still be mourning the death of a beloved pet and simply not ready for a new one. Perhaps the person is preparing for a new job or thinking about moving. Each of us should be able to decide when and if we are ready to have a pet.

Your gift may put the person in the position to relinquish this unwanted pet to an animal shelter.

The pet may not be suitable for various reasons and could be unwanted. Depending on where you got the pet, the gift recipient may not be able to return it. If they cannot find another owner for the pet, then the pet may end up being placed in an animal shelter. So it is quite likely that this pet will be euthanized, joining the fate of millions of other pets.

Bringing a pet into our home is life changing and something that should be our decision. A pet should not be a gift from a well-meaning friend or family member. If we don’t emotionally connect with the pet, we may resent the pet and may not be able to fully love it. This would be unfortunate for both the person and the pet. A gift certificate that can be used for pet supplies, training, or boarding would make a much better gift, given after the person has brought home their beloved new pet.

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