What to Consider Before Giving a Dog as a Gift

what to consider before giving a dog as a gift

One of the most popular holiday gifts, whether for a romantic partner or child, is a puppy. Purina expert Dr. Marty Becker endorses the practice, as the “holiday break is the single best time to adopt a pet from the shelter because the family members are all home. There’s a lot of vacation days so there’s time to spend training and socializing.”

Before giving a dog as a gift, there are several things to consider, which we’ll outline below. Then, if you decide it’s still a good idea to gift someone a dog over the holidays, we have advice on the best way to do so. Remember, the ultimate goal is to match the recipient with the right dog, and ensure they have the means to care for him.

3 Things to Consider Before Giving a Dog as a Gift

1. What the Recipient Wants

It’s best to ask the recipient outright whether they want a dog, but that ruins the element of surprise. So, be diligent and do your homework.

Even if they love dogs, consider why they don’t currently have one. They may have a good reason, like working long hours. Some can’t afford the unexpected costs that often come with pet ownership, like veterinarian bills, medications and more.

2. Their Lifestyle

Lifestyle is another important consideration to ensure the recipient and dog are a good match. If the person is active, they may want an energetic dog to go for runs or long walks.

On the other hand, if the dog will be a companion for your elderly grandmother, a calm and relaxed pup is a better choice. Other lifestyle factors to consider include whether the recipient does a lot of traveling or if there are children or other pets involved.

3. Home Environment

Even small dogs need room to play, and all dogs need an outdoor space to go to the bathroom. Consider the size and location of the recipient’s home, whether they have a yard and if it’s fenced.

If they live in an apartment with little to no outdoor space, a small dog may be better than a large breed. Environment, lifestyle and the recipient’s own desires will dictate the type of dog that’s best.

How to Give a Dog as a Gift

If you’ve considered all the above and still think giving a dog as a gift is a good idea, you need to choose the best way to give him to the recipient. Placing a puppy in a box with holes poked in it and wrapped up under the tree isn’t a good option. It’s dangerous and traumatic for the dog. You can maintain an element of surprise without doing this.

Rather than putting the dog under the tree, buy a dog toy, stuffed dog, or supplies like a leash and collar or food bowls and wrap those instead. When the recipient opens the gift(s), tell them your intentions to get them a dog and explain you’ll pay the adoption fee.

This allows them to pick the dog out themselves at a more convenient time, such as after the holidays. They can start their search on Petfinder.com to find the perfect dog at a shelter or rescue near them.

If you plan to give a dog as a gift this holiday season, set the recipient up for success as a new dog owner. In addition to paying the adoption fee, offer to pay for the pup’s first checkup or stock them up on dog or puppy food. Dr. Becker advises, “If you give the gift of a pet, also give some money to immediately take the pet to a veterinarian for a wellness examination and vaccinations.”

Explore more tips and advice from our experts here. Share what you learn with the recipient so they can have the best relationship possible with their new dog.

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