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Considering giving a pet as a gift? Make sure they want the animal you give

December 9, 2019

Rabbit sitting by the Christmas Tree BC SPCA

Giving a pet as a present may seem like a great idea this holiday season, but it’s important to make sure the person receiving the gift is ready for, and wants, the pet you plan to give.

“It’s really important to make sure the person has the time for them, and to make sure the pet is the right age, breed, and activity level for them and their lifestyle,” says BC SPCA manager of animal welfare Kim Monteith. “It is a big commitment – one that could be 15-20 years – so we want to make sure people are ready for a pet and want the pet they’re given.”

While the BC SPCA used to recommend people not give pets as presents, fearing unwanted animals would end up back in a shelter environment, research now shows that even if given as gifts, animals tend to stay in the home, especially if a pet was anticipated/wanted.

“Of course we want people to adopt animals! Our main concern, as it is with every adoption, is to ensure we find the right match, for both the animal and their human companion(s),” Monteith says. “Every animal has a unique personality, just like humans do, and it’s so crucial to find one who matches your lifestyle, needs and expectations.”

Thinking about giving a pet as a gift? Follow these steps:

  1. Visit a local rescue shelter with the intended gift recipient to look at adoptable animals and watch their reactions to find out what kind of pet they want.
  2. Determine which type of pet would be best for the gift recipient’s lifestyle. A senior pet will already be house trained and need less attention than a kitten or puppy.
  3. If they would rather pick out the pet they want to adopt consider giving them a gift certificate from the local BC SPCA branch or rescue shelter instead. A gift certificate can help with the costs of adopting the animals as well as all the necessary supplies, including bedding, a crate or carrier, food, collar, leash, and more.

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