Bah Humbug: Why You Should Never Give a Pet as a Gift

A lab puppy wearing a bow.

People that have gone through the experience of raising a puppy or kitten know all too well that it’s not for everyone. The process takes a considerable amount of time, energy, money, and foresight to truly do it right. And while it’s 100% worth it, it’s really not something you can thrust on someone else. This holiday season, we’d like to promote alternatives to the concept of giving a pet as a gift.

Logic and Sound Reasoning

On one hand, who wouldn’t want to receive an adorable pet for the holidays? It’s a huge thrill with enormous impact, but there are some serious considerations for why one should never give a pet as a gift, such as:

  • The recipient is too young to provide for the animal
  • They might not have the time or money
  • Their living situation or lifestyle cannot accommodate the needs of a pet
  • They simply might not be able to connect with the gift-giver’s choice of pet

It is worth noting that giving a pet as a gift to a child can send the wrong message about animals to the recipient. Without the planning or preparation required for successful adoption, receiving a pet as a gift can imply that the animal is an object, like other gifts bought, sold, and exchanged during the holidays. We always promote the concept of “Adopt, Don’t Shop” and this definitely applies during the holidays. 

Once the novelty wears off and the reality of responsibility sets in, a pet can be perceived as disposable or sidelined. This type of adoption can end in surrendering or re-homing the pet in a choice that could have been prevented. The animal hasn’t asked for this terrible outcome and is not deserving of potential homelessness.

A Pet Is Forever

Not all pet adoptions work out, but they have a better chance of success when everyone is on the same page. If you’re considering giving a pet as a gift to your own child, please know that it will always come down to you to make all the right choices for the animal. Ongoing medical attention, great nutrition, disease prevention and so much more round out the rather long list of pet care needs.

What Else You Can Do

Instead of giving a pet as a gift, there are other wonderful ways you can share a loved one’s interest in animals.

  • Donate to a shelter or rescue in your loved one’s name
  • Give them a gift certificate to a shelter or rescue when it’s time for them to consider adoption. Your contribution can help offset any adoption fees. 
  • Purchase a gift card to a local pet store for them to buy food, litter, toys, etc. when they are able to adopt the pet of choice. You can also get vouchers to groomers or trainers if applicable.
  • Sponsor a farm animal in the name of your loved one
  • Volunteer with your loved one at a shelter or rescue

A Pet as a Gift

Sharing life with a pet is always a worthwhile endeavor, but it isn’t always easy or affordable. Thank you for having a positive impact on animal welfare by not giving a pet as a gift this holiday season, or throughout the year. 

If you have questions about adoption or pet ownership, please give us a call at (248) 646–5655. From all of us at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season.