This holiday season, a new dog or cat will be at the top of a lot of people’s wish lists, and for good reason. Dogs and cats are amazing! They’re cuddly and adorable, and they love unconditionally. For some people, a new pet can be the perfect addition to the family.
However, pets shouldn’t be given as leisurely as other gifts are. A lot of thought and planning should go into your gift before you bring a furry friend home. If you’re trying to determine the best way to give a new pet to someone, here are some tips to get you started.
Dog or cat?
The inevitable first question for anyone thinking about giving a pet as a gift is, “Should I get them a dog or a cat?” This question may not be as easy to answer as you would expect.
Both dogs and cats are endlessly enjoyable for the right people. That said, there are obvious differences between the two species. Generally, dogs require more activity and attention than cats do. They also require an extra level of in-home training. On the other hand, cats tend to be more independent, but they also require more stuff—litter boxes, perches, etc.
There are certainly more distinctions to be made between the two animals. That’s why it’s critical to have a solid understanding of the person to whom you’re gifting the dog or cat.
Who is the animal for?
You no doubt have the best intentions in mind when you set about getting a new dog or cat for someone you love. Before you bring a new animal into your home (or someone else’s), it’s crucial to understand everything you can about the recipient of the gift.
To determine which pet is best, ask yourself:
- What is that person’s activity level? Think about the daily physical requirements of owning a dog or a cat. Dogs need to be walked. Cats need playtime. Consider what you know about your loved one’s physical abilities and available time.
- Where do they live? Someone who lives in a small apartment might appreciate the benefits of a cat, which doesn’t require much space. Someone with a big backyard might enjoy running and playing with a dog.
- What is their budget? Like it or not, dogs and cats both require money. They need vet appointments, food, toys and treats. If the person you want to buy a pet for has a tight budget, a pet might not be the best choice for them, after all.
Consider a gift certificate
The temptation to get your friend or family member a pet for them to love on the holiday itself can be pretty intense. After all, who doesn’t want the joy of seeing a loved one’s face light up when something cute and cuddly pops out of a box?
However, it might be best to resist that urge. Many shelters allow buyers to purchase gift certificates that cover the entire cost of adopting a dog or cat. You can even get a gift certificate for either animal, so your loved one can choose between a dog or a cat themselves.
When the recipient goes to cash in the gift certificate, you can accompany them and help them choose the perfect pet. This takes the stress off you to get it right the first time and increases the odds that the person getting the animal will form a stronger bond with their chosen pet.
If you’re getting a new pet for someone who doesn’t live with you, a gift certificate is the best way to go. But, if you’re getting a new dog or cat for someone in your own home, like a child, then you have more freedom to select and bring the new pet home as a surprise.
If you know what kind of animal you want to get and you’re set on bringing your new pet home over the holiday season, make sure to take a few minor precautions first.
If the pet will live in your home, set up your new pet’s safe space. For a cat, this means setting up what is known as a safe room—a small area like the bathroom where they can establish their own territory and slowly get used to their surroundings. Dogs need similar accommodations, although you can often reserve the corner of a room or a crate for them. You should also buy all the pet supplies you need to take care of your pet from day one.
If the pet will live in someone else’s home, make sure they don’t plan to be away right after the holidays, so they can take care of their new furry friend. You might also want to buy them a few supplies to make the transition easier on them.
Adopting a pet and giving them as a gift to a loved one is a gesture almost any animal lover is sure to appreciate. Just be sure to plan your gift carefully to avoid putting undue stress on the furry friend or your loved one this holiday season.