Before Giving a Pet As a Gift, Consider These Important Questions

Giving a Pet as a Gift

Whatever holidays you and your family celebrate—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.—it can be a time to give gifts. One of the most meaningful gifts to give and receive is a pet. Though giving a pet as a gift is touching, it deserves careful consideration and preparation.

Consider the season

Sometimes giving pets as gifts during the holidays is immediately discouraged. But as long as you weigh the responsibility that giving pets as gifts entails, Purina expert Dr. Marty Becker endorses it. In fact, he “could argue that this 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.”  

Prepare for the future

Because a pet is a gift once and a companion forever, Dr. Becker advises people anticipate needs before they arise. “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.” This helps set the new pet owner up with a trusted resource and a healthy pet from their first days together.

Once you’ve considered the season and are able to help plan for the future, it’s time to select the best pet to give as a gift. Keep these lifestyle considerations in mind as you decide:

Household Dynamics-

The energy level of the person’s environment and lifestyle need to match the needs of the pet so both are happy. 

Questions to consider:

Is the person active?

Are there children in the home?

Do other pets already live in the house?

Living Space-

The indoor and outdoor space a home has is an important factor when determining the right pet to give.

Questions to consider:

How large is the home?

Is it an urban, suburban or rural setting?

Does the person have access to green space—a yard, park, etc.?

Work/School Schedule-

The constraints of school and work can limit time spent with pets. 

Questions to consider:

Is the person away from home for long periods of time?

Does the person travel often?


The amount of training a pet needs depends on many factors.

Is the pet already trained?

Has the person trained a pet before?

Does the person have the means to take training classes?


Cats and dogs both make excellent pets and personal preference is a factor.

Is a dog a good fit?

Does a cat make sense?

Pets make excellent companions for life and many pets are looking for homes. To learn more about how to adopt a pet for yourself or to give a pet to someone else, visit:

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