We all know the holiday trope where a child opens a present and a kitten or puppy pops their head out. It’s a cute idea but gifting a pet for the holidays is a huge decision.
“It’s a big lifestyle change to add a pet to your household,” Maria Verbrugge, a clinical instructor of primary care at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, said on a recent episode of Wisconsin Public Radio’s The Larry Meiller Show. “It’s the kind of gift you should decide together rather than a surprise.”
If you are thinking of gifting a pet this holiday season, make sure the recipient is ready to add a new member to their family and make that commitment.
Verbrugge says there are many factors to consider. These include the time and financial commitments needed for a new pet, whether the new pet will get along with any other pets in the household and fit the recipient’s lifestyle, and what type of care they will need.
“It’s a constant conversation,” Verbrugge says.
To help explore some of these topics, the American Veterinary Medical Association provides resources on responsible pet care.