So you want to help someone get a pet for a present.

The holiday season is fast approaching and many people around the world are thinking about someone who wants a pet for a Christmas present.  A lot of them are a parent who is considering a pet for the family and the point of this article is not directed towards them (but it could have some pointers).  This is for someone who is thinking of getting a pet for a parent or a child who does not live with them, another family member, or even a friend.  Please, read this article.

A pet is a very long term commitment.  By very long term I mean at least 5 years and possibly as many as 20 years.  Pets do not make good presents to other people.  Plain and simple.  It is a decision that should only be made by the person who is going to be the primary caregiver for the pet and those who live with them.  Do not, DO NOT get them a pet for Christmas.  Many pets bought, adopted, etc. this way end up in shelters within a year (puppy behavior is not good, dogs get big, cats misbehave, etc.).  Getting someone a pet as a present is a bad idea.

So, what do you do for the person who has their mind set on getting a pet this holiday season?  You can be there for them and if you are educated on an aspect of the animal that they want (teach them about different dog breeds, etc.).

Side note: If they are planning on getting a dog or a cat (well, many pets have these resources available), please do not go to a “pet store” and get one.  You should first consider adopting from a shelter or a breed’s rescue organization.  If none of those are available then you should look into reputable breeders (national level breed clubs may (or may not) have recommendations).  Many reputable breeders have animals that wouldn’t do well in the show ring but will still make excellent pets.  I won’t get into a long post about what to look for, though, that would get this post side tracked too much.

So, what can you do for someone who has their heart set on adopting a new pet?  There are many things you can do that will still leave the “which pet” decision to them but lets you help them out.

Offer to pay the adoption fee (or help with it).  Adopting a pet can be expensive.  Some shelters and rescue organizations charge upwards to $150 to $200 to adopt (which is still cheaper than paying a breeder or even a puppy store (I’ve seen puppy stores charge over $2,000 for a mixed breed!).  Adoption fees help shelters and rescue organizations stay in business (in addition to donations).

Pay for the first vet visit (usually a health check).  Many vet offices will let you either pre-pay a visit or get a gift card.  This will show the person you care about the pet’s well being and want to make sure the pet is healthy and if any issues are preset that they can be taken care of quickly.

Supplies!!  Getting a new pet (and mores o for a first pet) is EXPENSIVE!!  Food, toys, bedding, leashes, collars, etc. can easily add several hundred dollars to the initial cost (when I moved back to NH I had very few supplies for my dog and I easily spent over $500 the first few months on supplies for her).  These supplies can range from a custom gift basket to nice collars and leashes (personally I would recommend Lupine Pets), or even a gift card to a pet supply store.  Think outside the box, too.  While most people have a PetSmart or PetCo not far from them places like Tractor Supply also sells pet supplies (and while they may be a little more expensive, they are better quality.  There are usually feed stores in the area which will also sell higher end supplies.  I would not recommend getting them food since where they adopt the dog from may have recommendations on the animal’s diet (but here I where a gift card can come in!).

Training!  Dog training can be expensive and puppy kindergarten or S.T.A.R. puppy training is HIGHLY recommended (both will offer the puppy basic obedience and socialization).  Offer to pay for the first (or more if you can afford it) lesson.  If you have a friend who is a good trainer maybe even work out a barter if it is too expensive.

Again, with the exception of a parent getting a pet for the family (the parent should expect to be the primary caregiver for the pet) is a very bad idea but you can still help your friends and family out with their pet purchase.

Please note / disclaimer:  The link to Lupine Pets above is NOT an affiliate link.  I posted the link in this article because I believe in their products and they are locally made (in the USA) products of great quality.  I do not get any compensation for clicking on the link and/or purchasing anything from it.

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