The Glenville Veterinary Clinic

Pets as gifts: why Santa should reconsider

gift pets

You may have visions of a fluffy puppy with a big red bow, or a box of adorable kittens sitting under the Christmas tree, but pets don’t always make good gifts.

Can great-grandma really take care of that tiny German Shepherd puppy who will soon be the size of a small pony?  Does your sister with 3 children really have time for a rambunctious kitten?

Pets can’t be returned or exchanged like a sweater.  Pet ownership is a huge commitment, possibly 20 years or more.  So it’s crucial that the person who will be caring for the pet choose the pet for themselves.  Consider factors such as pet size, grooming needs, energy level, training, and even housing – someone who rents their home may have landlord restrictions as to what type of pets are allowed.  And there’s always the obvious question: does this person even want a pet?

Instead of gift-wrapping a live pet for the holidays, here are some alternatives:

  • Gift certificate to a pet supply store
  • Gift certificate to an animal shelter – either one that the shelter offers, or one that you make yourself – so adoption fees are covered and the recipient can choose his or her own pet
  • Supplies such as pet beds, toys, collar, or leash
  • Pictures of the type of pet you think the recipient may like
  • Books on pet care

When it comes time to choose that special furry family member, make adoption your first option.  There are hundreds of pets looking for homes in shelters – even kittens, puppies, and pure breed dogs.  Pet stores are great places to find supplies, but adoption is a gift to both the pet owner AND the pet!  For shelters in your area, visit

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