By JENNA STREGOWSKI, RVT, The Spruce
Think First before Giving a Dog as a Present
You think you have found the perfect gift: a new puppy in a big red bow for someone you love. Surprise! Think again. While this may sound like a dream come true, it can actually be a pretty bad idea. Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but there are several reasons to avoid giving a new puppy or dog as a present. Bottom line, it’s usually neither an ideal situation for the dog nor the new owner. If you are looking for a great gift, here are some great gifts for dog lovers.
Dogs as Gifts for Adults
First of all, are really sure that this person even wants a new dog? If so, is the receiver actually ready for a dog? If you know this person is a dog lover but does not already have a dog, there’s probably a good reason why. If he or she already owns a dog, perhaps it’s not the appropriate time to add another dog to the family. Maybe the person would rather choose the right dog for their home rather than having it chosen for them. Instead of giving a dog as a gift, talk to this person about dog ownership. Maybe you can go as moral support when the time comes to go find a dog. Either way, it’s safest to stick with gifts of the non-living and breathing variety.
Dogs as Gifts for Children
The gift of a new dog or puppy is something many kids dream about. Unfortunately, most of these little ones do not realize that with dog ownership comes responsibility. Soon enough, the care of the dog can fall into the hands of mom or dad.
If you are not the child’s parent, then you really have no place giving that child a new dog unless the parent(s) are on board. If you are a parent of the child or children, then getting a dog is a family decision. Have a discussion with your children about the responsibilities involved. Examine your household situation so you can choose the right dog for your kids.
Timing is Everything
Giving a dog as a holiday gift can be pretty poor timing. The holidays are hectic and a new dog can get forgotten in the hustle and bustle. Even if it’s just a birthday gift, the sudden responsibility of a new dog can feel like a burden instead of a gift. Or, especially with kids, the novelty of the new dog wears off and no one pays attention to the poor dog after a while. Sadly, they may be soon forgotten like new toys and games.
What to Give Instead of a Dog
If the receiver of the gift is actually in a position to welcome a new dog into the home, there are still some things you can do. If you really want to surprise someone and you know they want a dog, give them a book about dog ownership, a dog toy or some other dog supplies. Then, offer to go with them to help find the right dog. This way, you are helping instead of adding a burden. Discuss plans to go and pick out that new dog or puppy. If the future owner of the dog is part of the decision process, it will be in everyone’s favor. It’s the best way to start dog and owner off on the right foot.