While pet guardianship is rewarding, getting a pet as a gift for someone else, whether at Christmas or any other time of year, may not be a good idea.
Why pets do not make good gifts
We all know the holiday season is a hectic time of year. With numerous visits from family and friends, the house is filled with excitement. For a puppy, kitten or even an adult animal, being placed in this situation can be bewildering and frightening. Likely the animal is already experiencing some stress from being removed from littermates or having come from an animal shelter. What the animal needs is a quiet, calm environment where patterns can be established to get everyone off to a good start.
A gift animal can easily be neglected amidst all the excitement of the holidays. Animals - especially puppies and kittens - need special care and attention when moved to a new environment and, unfortunately and unintentionally, during the holiday season pets can be quickly forgotten among the new toys and games.
First-time guardians can also be unprepared for the dramatic changes an animal can make within the household. Impulse-buying at Christmas often overlooks the long-term commitment involved in caring for a pet. The commitment of care must extend throughout the animal's lifetime, which will be years - even decades for some. Since an addition to the household will effect the entire family, everyone should be consulted. Another point to consider is that most adults prefer to choose their own pet to match their lifestyle and personality.
Instead of giving a pet at the holidays...
Consider creating your own gift certificate offering to cover the cost of the adoption of a new family pet of their choice from the SPCA. You could wrap the accessories - a collar, leash, toys, or a pet care book - with the certificate. That way, after the holidays when everything has calmed down, the new pet can be selected carefully and given the attention he or she needs and deserves.
Or, buy a BC SPCA Pawsitive Gift! Our Pawsitive Gifts program lets you do all of your holiday shopping online while helping animals in need and getting a tax receipt, too! It is the perfect option for those people on your list who say they don't need anything. Give the gift of helping animals that are in need.
Unique pet guardian gifts
What gift could you give for the pet guardian that has everything? If you know someone on your wish list who has an animal that isn't spayed or neutered, how about getting them a gift certificate toward the procedure? You could also visit your local BC SPCA shelter and sponsor an animal that is in need of veterinary care.