Stop Giving Pets As Presents

It’s the holiday season: the time of giving and receiving presents from family and friends. Animals are often given as presents, but really shouldn’t ever be considered a surprise gift. Today I’m going to explain why and offer some alternatives to giving an animal as a present!

Why You Shouldn’t Give a Pet as a Gift

Imagine giving someone a baby as a gift, and expecting the people you’re giving it to to take care of it for the next 18 years of its life. There’s a lot of research, time, money, and energy that go into raising and caring for a living being, and some people may not be ready for that. 

A lot of the time the person giving the pet as a gift does not really know how to properly care for the animal, and they just buy the obvious essentials to get the receiver started, even if they aren’t necessarily appropriate.

If it is the parent/guardian giving the animal to a minor (person under 18-years-old) they give their child these inappropriate supplies and expect the child to manage. If the child does learn the proper care for that animal, and informs their parent/guardian of the upgrades and changes that need to be done, and the parent/guardian refuses to pay for it, the animal and child are both miserable. This happens often and it’s very sad.

An adult may be too busy with work to give an animal all the care and attention they need, so getting an animal for an adult you know is not really any better.

If you gift someone with an animal, even if they really wanted it, a common occurrence is the person didn’t actually do much research into that animal’s care, so they aren’t really prepared to care for that animal.

Buying A Surprise Pet For Yourself

Since you shouldn’t get a surprise animal for someone else, getting one for yourself may not seem like such a bad idea. Whatever the reason may be for not letting your household know you’re getting a pet, there are plenty of reasons not to surprise them with a new pet, even if you are taking care of it.

If you live with other people, those people have a say in what lives with them. They may be completely against having a certain species of pet or any pet at all. If they tell you they will not permit that animal in their home, especially if they’re your parent/guardian, you will have to return it. This is very stressful for the animal.

And since you can’t surprise people by bringing an animal home if you are researching and setting up the supplies for it, when you bring the animal home, it has to wait in the carrier or your vehicle while you set up their space (enclosure, feeding area, litter box, or whatever that animal requires). This causes more stress for the animal.

Another Option

Instead of getting a pet for one person, you could have a discussion with whoever you live with/the household of the person you were planning to get a pet for, and look into getting a family pet.

If you decide to get a family pet, assign each agreeing person a part of the work that the animal requires and get a calendar or chart dedicated to the family pet. Write out the daily, weekly, and monthly chores with an assigned person’s name, and after they’ve done their part that’s scheduled they cross it off. This way, the animal isn’t getting overfed, over-cleaned, over medicated, et cetera.

When You Can Buy Someone an Animal

If a friend/family member has decided they would really like a specific animal, their household has agreed on it, they’ve done all the research, and have everything set up in their home, you can definitely pay for their pet if you’d like to buy it for them!

Make sure they come with you to pick out their own animal, and that they know exactly what species of animal they would like. If they don’t really know what they want, they may end up with a totally different species of animal!

A Pet You Can Give as a Gift

There is one pet you can give to someone as a gift, and that is a plant! Plants make wonderful pets, especially for new pet owners. If someone you know is interested in owning animals, I’d definitely recommend starting with a plant.

Plants should be checked daily, and watered regularly (how often depends on the type of plant and your climate). Different plants require different care, which is a good way to practice researching.

Although you definitely shouldn’t go out of your way to let a plant die, it’s not an animal that feels pain, so it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t live long. 

However, if the person neglects the plant after a while, they shouldn’t have a living animal. Some people just don’t stay interested in things for a long time. That’s just how some people are, and it’s not really their fault. If they’re neglecting an animal someone does need to intervene, though.

Buy Them Supplies Instead

As a pet owner, something I love to receive as gifts are pet toys and supplies. Pet owners appreciate not having to spend more money on supplies.

If you ask for a list of pet supplies the person would find useful, I’m sure they’ll write one up. That will make shopping a lot easier for you, and you know the person is getting something they want.


  • Pets are not presents. Do not get an animal as a gift for someone without their knowledge.
  • There are other options, such as getting them a pet plant, or agreeing on a family pet with their/your family that everyone cares for.
  • Getting yourself a surprise pet isn’t a very good idea either, since you cannot set up the animal’s supplies secretly and whoever you live with may make you return the animal.

If you’re interested in more animal-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *