Sleepy kitten in a gift bag.

If you are making your list and checking it twice for your holiday gift giving, you probably have a person or two that are harder to buy for. It might have even crossed your mind that giving that person a new furry family member might be an option. But is it a good idea to give a pet as a gift? Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital has the answers you need to make a good gift giving move.

Considerations When Giving a Pet as a Gift

When you give a pet as a gift, it is not something that can be regifted easily, given to Goodwill, or stuffed in a closet. A pet is a lifelong commitment, and being a good pet owner is not without effort. 

When considering giving a pet as a gift, ask yourself:

  • Does the recipient really want a pet?
  • Will they have the time to dedicate to training and caring for a new family member?
  • Is the recipient in a financial position to provide good preventive care for a pet?
  • Does their lifestyle lend to pet ownership? (i.e. do they work long hours, travel a lot)
  • Will the gift recipient be able to put the effort into providing physical exercise and mental stimulation for a pet?
  • Is their home set up for pet ownership (If they are in an apartment, are pets allowed? Do they have a yard?)
  • Is the holiday season the best time to bring in a new pet or do chaotic schedules and travel making it more difficult?
  • Are there other pets or small children to consider?

While the impulse of grabbling that fuzzy kitten or butterball puppy and tying a bow on it might seem like a lot of fun, pet ownership is not to be taken lightly. If you are seriously thinking of giving a pet as a gift, it is often best to have an in-depth conversation with the recipient first to be sure that everyone is set up for success. 

Cost of Owning a Dog or Cat

One of the inadvertent responsibilities that you give someone when you give a pet as a gift is a financial obligation. The cost of owning a dog or a cat can really add up, and being sure that it is in the budget is important. 

In fact, estimates indicate that on average, the cost to own a dog is about $35,600 throughout its lifetime. The cost to own a cat is around $17,800. If you are considering a puppy or kitten, a heavier portion of those costs will fall in the first year of life. 

Costs to consider include:

  • Adoption or breeder fees
  • Local pet licensing fees
  • Pet deposits
  • Wellness vet visits (check out our pet wellness plans to help with this)
  • Vaccinations
  • Spay/neuter
  • Parasite prevention
  • Pet supplies
  • Pet food and treats
  • Training
  • Boarding/dog walker
  • Grooming
  • Dental care
  • Unexpected medical expenses
  • Pet insurance

Having a pet is well worth the extra effort and cost, but it is important that the person taking the burden of those things is prepared to do so. Giving a pet as a gift is not always the best idea depending on the situation, so be sure to evaluate carefully. That way, everyone wins!