Puppy with a cute Christmas hat

Should You Give A Pet As A Christmas Gift?

Giving someone the gift of a pet can be a fun and exciting moment for the recipient. However, when giving a pet, most people do not think beyond that moment. They tend to forget that it is a commitment that lasts 15-20 years and will cost the recipient a lot of time and money. While it might seem bad to gift a pet, as long as you do it right, everyone can be satisfied. Continue reading to learn more about giving pets as Christmas gifts.

Giving Pets As Christmas Gifts

Should You Gift A Pet?

If you are wondering if you should gift a pet, there are a few things to consider. The main thing that you need to consider is who you are going to gift the pet too. If the person is not capable of taking care of it, then you should not gift them a pet, as many pets are returned to a shelter after the holidays. If these shelters get overcrowded, they might resort to euthanizing some of the pets.

Who To Give a Pet To

Before you decide that you are going to gift a pet to someone, make sure that they really want one and can take care of one. If they have expressed that they have not wanted a pet in the past, don't get them a pet as a gift. If you are unsure if they want one, but you want to get one for them, simply ask them. Don't go around to their family and ask them if the person wants one, but go straight to the source. If they have expressed they want a pet, another thing to know is to only gift to your immediate family or a close friend, as they will more likely decline the gift if the pet is unwanted or they cannot care for it. As a safe rule of thumb, you should be certain that someone wants a pet before you gift one.

How To Gift a Pet

If you are going to gift a pet to your children, or your significant other, make sure that the pet is a family decision. The reason being that everyone is going to have to help take care of it. They may also want to pick out a certain breed, sex, etc. If you want to still make it a surprise, in the months before Christmas, ask your family how they would feel about adding a pet to the family. If everyone is on board, you can get ready to get them one for Christmas. To do it, wrap up a stuffed dog toy or a bone under the tree. When they open it, reveal the news and later on, take them to adopt the pet. If done correctly, you can ensure that the pet is wanted, and still keep the pet as a surprise present.

Alternatives To Gifting A Live Pet

If you want to wait for the family or friends to decide on what pet they want there are some options that you can choose instead of just showing up with a pet in a crate. This may be better as a live pet might feel scared if they are left out in a garage or bedroom by themselves.

If you have a close friend or family member that has expressed that they would like a pet, and they have the ability to care for one, don't just go out and buy one for them. Instead, offer to pay for their pets adoption fee's in advance. If they decide to not get a pet, the money will go toward a donation to the shelter in their name.

If you plan to give your family a pet for Christmas, you can get a gift certificate for the adoption fee for your local shelter. Peta gives a great idea as to how to give this by saying, "Wrap up a food dish and some toys to give along with the gift certificate and put them under the tree."

If you have young children, it may not be wise to get a pet for Christmas. Instead, just get them a stuffed animal of a dog. When they are older, you can opt into getting them one. That way you can better ensure that the dog will be taken care of.

One thing to always avoid when giving pets as Christmas gifts is wrapping them up in a box. Regardless of whether there are holes in the box so they can breathe, the pet may be frightened and may come out of the box aggressive.

What To Do If You Are Gifted An Unwanted Pet

If you are gifted a pet that you do not want, there are some things that you can do to politely decline. Even if you do not want it, remember to thank the person who gave it to you. After that, decline the pet politely and quickly. Many pets have a return policy within a timeframe.

Another option is to thank them for the gift, decline it, and help find the pet a new, and safe home. That way you do not hurt the givers feeling too much and the pet has a loving family who can take care of them. Never keep an unwanted pet in an effort to spare the feelings of the giver.


When it comes to giving pets as Christmas presents, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first being to make sure that the recipient can care for it, and wants it. Next, don't just surprise them with a pet. Instead, offer to pay the adoption fees. If done right, giving pets as Christmas gifts can be exciting and fun for everyone. Be sure to also check out this article to learn about Making Your Christmas Tree Pet-Friendly.