Is It Okay To Give A Pet As a Gift?

Avian, By Species, By Topic, Cats, Dogs, Exotic, Uncategorized

Everyone wants to give the perfect gift. And while dogs, cats, or other pets might seem like a great gift idea—After all, who wouldn’t want a new best friend?—there are many reasons to contain that urge.

First, think of how the pet will experience the big day. Brought to a new home. Trapped in a box. Suddenly introduced to a room full of boisterous strangers. Even extroverted animals might feel overwhelmed! Plus all the easy access to junk foods and the likelihood of the home being messier than usual will set a chaotic first impression. The first few days in a new environment are very important for young animals—especially puppies. A proper transition is vital to forming a close bond and building trust with its new family members. Plus, your busy holiday schedules often make it difficult to start a feeding and house training routine. Routine is necessary for your new puppy’s proper adjustment into your home.

Even if you did warn the recipient in advance, Children who promised to take care of a new pet may no longer think it’s fun to take Fido out for a walk in the freezing cold, rain, or snow. Cleaning Fluffy’s litter box can become an unwanted chore that doesn’t get done as often as it should. Feces in a bird cage or reptile tank can pile up, become smelly, and repel this new owner from the realities of their new responsibility. And children might tire of spending time socializing with their new pet as well. New pets who are ignored develop behavioral problems that necessitate re-homing or surrender of the pet to a shelter. Young children should never be responsible for taking care of an animal by themselves. Older children can be given some responsibilities but should always have a responsible adult overseeing the care and training of pets.

There is also a considerable financial responsibility that goes along with new pets, especially puppies and kittens. They will require wellness exams, vaccine series, intestinal parasite screenings and possibly spay or neuter procedures. All of that is provided they do not get sick or injured.  Even exotic pets need a wellness evaluation from a qualified veterinarian. Many exotic species can be carriers of parasites and diseases that are transmissible to humans, especially children.

We’re not just saying all this to be naysayers. It’s a sad fact that many pets given as gifts end up surrendered to shelters before they are a year old. Often, owners who received pets as gifts just aren’t prepared for the pet, or never recover from the holiday chaos to properly train them. Eventually, your loved one could tire of trying to tame the surprise responsibility to added to their life. Or, they don’t like the responsibilities, or costs, of keeping the pet alive and healthy. So, they give the pet up for adoption. And, the animal’s behavioral problems make it harder for them to find a new home.

A pet should never be an impulse buy. If you are considering adding a new pet to your family, the whole family should be involved in the process. Finding a pet that fits into your family dynamic is more important than “surprising” your family with a new pet. A great alternative to giving pets as a gift is giving books or videos on pet care and how to select the best pet for your family. Adding a pet to your family can be an exciting and rewarding event. Ensuring that it is done correctly can mean the difference between a lifelong companion, and a guilty drop off at the animal shelter a few months after the wrapping paper hits the floor.

If you have done your homework, are planning on responsibly gifting a pet, call CEDARCREST at 540-943-7577 and enroll in one of our first-year vaccination and checkup programs.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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