Gifting A Pet For The Holidays? Think It Through

I know, they are so cute, so adorable, and you really want to make someone smile.

Just please rethink it.

Unless you are a parent and have given much thought to the idea, do not give a pet as a gift for the holidays.

Pet ownership comes with great responsibility.

Everyone needs time to think of specific things before having a pet come into their lives.

Let’s Discuss Gifting A Pet For The Holidays:

Gifting A Pet For The Holidays

So you want to make their eyes light up with joy.

You know they love animals,

They may have even talked about getting a pet a time or two.

Sometimes we want things we are simply not ready for.

It’s perfectly okay to wish for something but when it comes to pets, timing is everything.

Things To Consider When Gifting A Pet For The Holidays:

Pets Cost Money 

From vet visits to healthy pet food, grooming, boarding if you need to go out of town are literally only a few pet-related expenses.

Pets Need Time and Attention

Not all of us have the time that pets deserve. College students, shift workers, people who work a lot of overtime just may not have the time a new pet needs. Granted everyone is in different places in their lives but please consider the person you are gifting to. A younger person may be too on the go to handle the responsibilities of pet ownership. They would need the right breed of pet that likes to be on the go too.

This brings me to my next point…

The Right Pet For The Right Person

Getting a new pet is a big deal! Personally, I would prefer to select my own pet. Animals have distinct personalities. Different breeds behave differently and may or may not be perfect for your human. When selecting a pet you want to really consider the type of lifestyle you lead. It is much easier to select the right pet for yourself versus someone else.

The Trill And Feel Of The Holidays

Of course, receiving a pet on the holidays can be romantic, or joyful but will that feeling last? A pet is a long-term commitment. A pet should never be considered disposable. This includes gifting bunnies or chicks around Easter. Once the novelty wears off where does that leave the pet? Never gift a pet for your own self-gratification or to score brownie points. It’s unfair to the animal.

When Gifting A Pet For The Holidays Is A Good Idea:

When You Are Taking Accountability

If you are a parent, or significant other, and will be sharing responsibility for the pet then go for it! As long as you are willing to pick up any caregiving slack as needed then you are sharing in the responsibility. That’s great! It’s one thing to want to make someone happy but will they really be happy when you cut and run? They may dearly love animals and deeply desire a pet but there may be a reason they have not got one for themselves yet.

When You Truly Know The Receiver

If you have known and discussed pets with the receiver for a good while. You know what they want and need in a pet. When you are close enough to the person to understand their lifestyle, habits, and schedule, then it may be okay to gift a pet. If you are keeping their wants and needs in mind and truly have an understanding of their situation.

When The Receiver Is Financially Stable

I can not say enough that pets can dig deep into your pockets. While I would rather a pet has a loving home with little money to spare, it’s a sad fact that vet bills can spring out of nowhere. I hate seeing pets in the shelter but I also know that if you can barely make rent, getting a pet is not a great idea. Just wait until you are in a better financial place in life and go for it. There is nothing worse than having a pet with a broken leg and an owner with no money. It’s a simple but expensive fix yet having them put down is unfortunately far less expensive. I hate to see anyone face this sad dilemma. It would be even worse to put another person in this predicament.

When Gifting A Pet For The Holidays Keep In Mind:

There are many things that go into selecting a pet for oneself. Selecting a pet for someone else should never be done selfishly.

It also should never be done with all good intentions without being prepared for shock rather than surprise.

The holidays are busy, sometimes erratic times for us humans.

Often we have to travel during the holidays.

Sometimes we are leaving our homes to visit family at their homes.

Where will this new disoriented pet be while they are away?

In my opinion, the holidays are never a good time to get a new pet, let alone be gifted one.

I know this sounds a bit preachy but I truly love animals.

I want both animals and new owners to have a true connection.

They deserve time to get used to each other and bond.

If you are considering gifting a pet for the holidays, please think it through.

If you agree please share this article. 

Gifting A Pet For The Holidays


One last note I would like to add: Please Adopt, Don’t Shop.


I would love to hear from you.

Please leave me a comment.

What are your thoughts or feelings about gifting a pet for holidays?

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50 Comments

  1. November 13, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    When i was in high school, I had a boy friend who gifted me with a puppy – like he spent a ton of money on it. My parents wouldn’t let me keep it. I was devastated, but as an adult, if anyone ever gifted my kiddos with a pet (a dog) I wouldn’t let them keep it either. We have a rabbit – and he is A LOT of work!!

    • November 13, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you Teresa! I am SO sorry you had to give up your pet. I know your boyfriend at the time was being sweet and wanting to give you the best gift but this is exactly why I advise against it. Give that rabbit of yours some snuggles for me! They are a lot of work I agree!

  2. November 13, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote this article!!! I write a pet column for The Examiner of Independence and Blue Springs Mo and every holiday season I have to write an article like this. So many people just don’t get it. I’ve worked rescue and seen the young dogs in the shelter in April and May because it was a gift and they couldn’t take care of it! Breaks my heart!!!!!

    • November 13, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      Gisele I don’t know if I had realized we are neighbors! I am in Kansas not terribly far from you! Thank you for all that you do to help pets and pet owners! I am glad knowing you write a widely syndicated article like this! There is no reason we should have this going on! People need to realize that while it seems a wonderful thoughtful loving gift to give a pet, it’s truly not fair to animals or the people a lot of the time.

      • November 14, 2017 / 3:17 pm

        Thanks, Joely. Yes I knew we are in neighboring states. I drove across Kansas going to Colorado twice and the vastness of Kansas is overwhelming. lol The articles I do are mainly for Animals Best Friends so many are “adopt-me articles”. I do tend to get on my soapbox and write articles about everything from tethering and leaving pets outside in the heat and cold, to spay or neutering pets and telling people to adopt animals instead of supporting the puppy mills. I’ll likely write another one about not giving a pet as a Christmas gift around the first of December. 🙂

        • November 15, 2017 / 3:12 am

          LOL yes Kansas is a lot larger than it appears at least it seems that way after hours of land!! Adopt me articles and topics that spread awareness are the best Gisele and thank you for what you do to get the good word out to others! Tethering is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves! Especially out in heat and cold. If I had the nerve I would go save them all!

  3. November 13, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    It’s hard not to agree – all true what you said. Pets are – as some people would say – just persons in a different body form;) It’s all about responsibility for them. That said – I gave my husband a puppy – 13 years ago – still with us – but she’s a grandma now:)

    • November 13, 2017 / 4:51 pm

      Indeed Karolina! Thank you! Well I think gifting your hubby a pet is a lovely idea because after all you know / knew he was ready to take care of a pup. I am so glad she has had such a loving home and people in her life.

  4. Monica Y
    November 13, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    So true. Shelters are full of dogs a few months after the holidays because people get puppies and they realize later on they cannot handle the pet. However, I have to admit, that one of my best presents ever for the holidays, was a rescued dog that my husband got me. You need to know if you are ready for a pet. If you are, then a dog is a great present.

    • November 14, 2017 / 12:05 am

      Aweee your hubby is awesome! You are the second person to mention their husband gifting them a dog and I think that is wonderful because you each were married and the husbands know what their wives want and can take on. Plus they have to help too LOL

  5. November 13, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    Giving a pet at the holidays is such a bad idea. I agree with you. I’ve seen so many of these things going badly for people. It’s so sad.

    • November 14, 2017 / 12:04 am

      It is especially sad when a pup or kitten could have a long existing positive experience in a home but ends up in the pound instead 🙁

  6. November 13, 2017 / 11:29 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. It is a sweet and kind gesture but you wouldn’t just surprise someone a baby girl or boy for Christmas unless they were financially stable and have been in the talks of adopting one in the first place. Of course we all would love a pet companion but sadly its around this time of year/just after Christmas, where animal shelters will have tons of pets being surrendered. The best advice I could give someone who is seriously interested and invested in caring for a pet, is to visit a shelter and adopt from there and don’t go straight to a breeder. People need to get past the cute image of having a pet and talk to pet owners, and if it is possible, pet-sit their neighbour’s or friends pet to get the experience and knowledge before making the long-term commitment.

    • November 14, 2017 / 12:03 am

      Such great advice here Nadalie thank you so much for that! I agree 100% with everything you added to my post! I really appreciate it and hope others read this as well! I think the idea of pet sitting first is brilliant! And not just for an hour or two but an entire weekend overnights and all. I am not out to discourage anyone from adopting pets as they do need homes but I just don’t want to see pets go back into a pound either.

  7. November 14, 2017 / 7:56 am

    I have very strong feeling about this topic. I was gifted a pet years ago, and it did not go well. A pet is such a personal choice. I think adoption is the best way to go, but as gift – nope.

    • November 15, 2017 / 3:06 am

      I agree Jen adoption is the best way to go and only when doing it yourself. I am so sorry you experience did not go well when you were gifted a pet.

  8. R U S S
    November 14, 2017 / 8:14 am

    Having a pet here in my country could be really costly so I’m with you about thinking twice before gift-ing a pet. If I were to give one, I’d make sure that the ‘owner’ will be more than responsible and more importantly, has the means to be able to sustain the needs of the pet.

    • November 15, 2017 / 3:07 am

      Absolutely! I am so glad you agree. I had no idea pets were extra expensive in some countries!

  9. November 14, 2017 / 9:57 am

    Yes! I couldnt agree more!! Any animal as a gift seems a little crazy to me. Although we did do a fish tank for our son years ago. lol I think people get so wrapped up in the cute cuddly animal instead of thinking of the responsibility.

    • November 15, 2017 / 3:08 am

      I think so too Censie. I think it is perfectly fine to gift your own child pets keeping in mind if the child does not take care of them it falls back on us parents.

  10. November 14, 2017 / 2:41 pm

    These are such important tips. A friend once gave me two kittens for my birthday. It was a sweet gesture and I wanted a couple of kittens….some day. I wasn’t ready either financially or with my lifestyle (I was working 3 jobs) to have them. I kept them and made it work but I would have much preferred to wait until a better time and to pick them out for myself.

    • November 15, 2017 / 3:13 am

      I am glad you managed to keep them even though it was hard on you. I wish you had not had to have the extra expenses but you are awesome for working it out. Sounds like really bad timing even if the intention was good.

  11. Cathi
    November 15, 2017 / 6:39 am

    Oh yes! I think pets as gifts in general, is a bad idea. Thank you for this timely reminder. This idea that pets make great gifts is a contributing factor to the over population problem. I’m thankful that through reminders like your post people are realizing that buying/adopting a pet should be a well thought out and planned exercise.

    • November 16, 2017 / 11:41 am

      Thank you so much Cathi. I am so happy to see others sharing the same advice as well. The more knowledge we can spread the better. There is already a huge over population of wonderful pets waiting to be adopted and sadly pets as gifts over the holidays does add to this issue as you said!

  12. November 15, 2017 / 11:41 am

    I hope that someone sees this message who is thinking about giving a dog or cat for Christmas with little to no thought. I love my dogs and my cat, but they are a lifetime commitment and should be added to your family only after lots of careful consideration and planning! Great post

    • November 16, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      I hope the right people see it too Debbie! Thank you for the compliment on the article. Yes I too adore my pets – they are family and that is exactly why we need to get the message out. Pets are not something to take lightly. Thank you for commenting and spreading the word!

  13. November 15, 2017 / 12:40 pm

    A subject we can never talk or write about too much, so thanks for doing your part. I don’t believe animals should ever be given as gifts, no matter how much you know someone wants one. Too many are dumped because they were an impulse buy, a present they weren’t prepared for or they had no idea how much work was involved. I agree with your final word – when you are ready for a pet, please adopt.

    • November 16, 2017 / 12:07 pm

      Thank you Hindy! I know others have written about it and I hope everyone does. It’s information that needs to be widespread especially this time of the year. I really appreciate that you commented.

  14. November 15, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    Thanks for such an insightful post! I totally agree with your points. It’s not on the same level but I don’t like to haphazardly gift pets nor receive one as a gift because it feels like gifting a child to someone you’re not so sure is ready for it or not. It’s really a commitment!

    • November 16, 2017 / 12:22 pm

      Aileen I love the way you put that and I totally agree! Pets are not only as needy as children, if not more so but should be considered members of the family, not some cute trinket. Thank you!

  15. November 15, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    I agree completely that pets are NOT the gift of choice for the holidays. When your household is at its most hectic, with more people coming and going and lots of other activities to attend to, a new puppy or kitten can get lost in the shuffle and unintentionally neglected. Imagine how scary moving to a new home would be in the best of circumstances. Now multiply that by a power of ten and you have the makings of a disaster. If you really want to “gift” someone a pet, simply print up a Gift Certificate that you personalize on your computer. It can say that you’ll take the recipient out to your local shelters, rescues, etc. to pick out the perfect pet after the holidays are over. The anticipation will make it worth the wait and the new pet will get the attention it deserves.

    • November 16, 2017 / 12:23 pm

      Lori yes yes yes! Thank you! All of this is so true and I love your idea about the best way to offer a pet as a gift without solidifying the deal during the most hectic time of the year. Brilliant!

  16. November 15, 2017 / 6:11 pm

    Pets shouldn’t be gifts at any time of the year. They are not objects to be given away and bought on a whim. That being said, if my husband wants to buy me a horse for Christmas I’m all for it. But this is something I’ve been preparing for years and I have just been waiting for the right time (and lottery ticket). The sad truth is there are a lot of adoptions this time of year, but just as many, if not more surrenders to shelters.

    • November 16, 2017 / 12:28 pm

      Exactly Heather!!! Pets are family members and should not be treated as cute trinkets! AND … I am totally with you about the horse lol. Honestly thought, we also do not have the funds right now to properly care for a horse as much as I would love one. Or the land, or the energy! I miss having horses as I know you do as well. There is nothing like the snuggle of a warm horse muzzle!

  17. November 15, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    Great post. You bring up some very valid and poignant points people should consider before adopting/giving a pet as a gift at holiday time.

  18. November 15, 2017 / 10:04 pm

    Often people talk about wanting a pet and dream of owning a certain breed of dog. I saw how this turned tragic when an elderly gentleman was gifted with a Labrador Retriever puppy. He ended up falling down the stairs while holding the puppy. The man shattered his elbow and took a long time to heal. The puppy had way too much energy for an elderly family. They ended up buying a house and fenced in the yard and hired a dog walker/trainer so that the puppy could have a better life understanding what was expected of her. When the elderly man became grumpy, the son stepped in and removed the dog from the home…enjoying her company himself. Gifts are commitments!

    • November 16, 2017 / 12:43 pm

      OMG! Amelia that is so horribly tragic! So very sad. I mean it’s horrible the man was hurt but image how he would have felt had he hurt the puppy! I know people have good intentions but this whole gifting pets must stop. Thank you for validating the reasons why!

  19. November 15, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    This is such a great important post! Thinking about pets as gifts gives me anxiety! I do agree that the only time when it is okay is if it is parents giving it to their kids where all the logistics have been worked out beforehand and are the ones going to be ultimately responsible for the pet!

    • November 16, 2017 / 12:29 pm

      Exactly Karlee and thank you so much for reading and commenting! Yes there are rare circumstances where it makes sense but honestly, the pets deserve ALL the focus and we all know the holidays are crazy times.

  20. November 15, 2017 / 11:10 pm

    Having a pet is a huge responsibility! It’s important a person receives a pet when they are emotionally and financially ready to accept the responsibility of taking care of a fur child.

  21. November 16, 2017 / 11:29 am

    This is so important to talk about this time of year. Many people surprise someone they love with a pet and it ends in disaster. There are so many things to consider and the receiver needs to be totally on board and prepared to take the pet into their home and care for them for the rest of that pet’s life.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • November 16, 2017 / 12:54 pm

      Absolutely!!! I know people have pure and kind intentions but it just isn’t right. Pets are not cute little trinkets we can put away on a self. They are living beings that need devotion!

  22. November 16, 2017 / 5:03 pm

    I honestly never knew that this was a thing. I grew up in another country but adding a “burden” to someone as a gift was not something we did. Pets are part of the family and you never know someone’s capability (financial and otherwise) to care for these pets.

    • November 17, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      Exactly Louisa and yes sadly it is a thing. It should not be a thing though. So glad you have the right outlook on this topic!

  23. November 16, 2017 / 5:35 pm

    I am tweeting this right now because it is mega important. I am so glad you brought this very important topic to the forefront. Many wags!

    • November 17, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      Thank you SO much for sharing this post Carol. It is a topic close to my heart. I know others have written about it as well and the more we can get it “out there” the better!

  24. November 16, 2017 / 5:51 pm

    Thank you for this post. I wish this wasn’t a thing. I love all dogs but when rescuing mine, there was something that called to me specifically. I made sure any new additions got along with existing pets and I made sure I was financially stable. I hope your post can help people understand that adding a dog to a home is a personal decision. If you want to gift someone a pet, maybe write up a card that allows them to choose if they would like to redeem it for one pet or for a gift card to the store of the receivers choice.

    • November 17, 2017 / 8:04 pm

      I wish it was not necessary to post this too Kara. Sadly as you know, it is. See, all the points you made are SO important when getting a new pet! I love your idea! A homemade “Hey I will help you pay for your new pet when you are ready” type of thing is perfect! Thanks for stopping by. I just checked out your blog and love it!

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