They’re cute, cuddly and known for their ability to make us happy with their mere presence. So how could any animal be considered a bad surprise gift, especially during the holidays?
Following are some key reasons why Fido shouldn’t be on your gift list.
1. A return may put a life in danger
You might think that doggie in the window is cute, but will your gift recipient feel the same way? If he or she doesn’t, that animal might end up in a shelter, where it could be euthanized if a new owner doesn’t claim it.
2. It’s not a gift — it’s a responsibility
Animals are a gift that keeps on giving, but they also keep on taking. Like children, they require food, doctor’s visits, medicine, toys and plenty of attention. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $69.51 billion on pets in 2017.
Many pet owners also opt for insurance, which can cost hundreds of dollars yearly, as well as behavioral training. Consider the fact that your gift recipient might not have a budget that allows for this level of commitment, in both time and money.
3. It’s long-term
Aside from the financial commitment of pet ownership, there’s a long-term time commitment involved. For dogs, life expectancy varies by breed, but smaller breeds generally have longer life spans. Birds are the opposite: The larger the species, the longer it is likely to live.
4. It’s unfair to the pet and recipient
Animals — especially those who have been abused or neglected in the past — can be sensitive to new surroundings. Even those who haven’t been abused might have problems with children or other animals in the house.
Bringing a pet into a home is a life-changing decision you shouldn’t make for others without their input. Will that large dog be happy in a cramped apartment without a yard? Will a new kitten get along with the dog that already rules the recipient’s home?
5. It can spark allergies
No matter what type of animal you buy for someone, you run the risk of the recipient being allergic to it.
6. It creates holiday stress
For most families, the holidays are a crazy time full of shopping, baking, parties, planning and even traveling. In the middle of that, how can anyone find time to train an animal, particularly a new puppy? Ask anyone who has ever raised a pup — it’s challenging even under the most controlled conditions.
7. You don’t know what you’re giving
Your good intention could turn into a bad problem. What if the animal injures the gift recipient, a child or another animal?
Conversely, the animal could be shy or even fearful of the recipient, based on previous experiences or general personality traits.
Have you ever given — or gotten — a pet as a gift? Share your experience in comments below or on our Facebook page.