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Thinking About Gifting a Pet? This Is What Shelters Want You to Consider

Pausing to think about a few important factors can help ensure that gifting your loved one a pet is a good choice for humans and animals alike.

animal shelter pet gifting
Written by
Samantha Bailon
in a box, a
adorned in a big red bow—as a holiday gift, a pet is among the most memorable. And while adopting an animal from a shelter is ultimately a wonderful thing to do, bringing a pet home during the holidays—a time that's often more chaotic than calm—requires a bit of extra thought.

Things to Consider Before Gifting a Pet

giving pets as gifts
According to humane society workers, 2022's increase in
pet surrenders
—the national numbers climbed from 34,579 in January to 43,249 in May—is all down to economic uncertainty, a factor that has become even more prevalent in recent months.
And while the financial costs of owning a pet, from monthly costs to veterinarian fees, certainly play into the decision, lifestyle should be considered, too. After all, a pet will be with its future owner for the next 10 to 15 years—if not longer.
Ocala SPCA President Lilly Baron encourages everyone to pause and consider the position of the giftee. “Are they financially able to own a pet?" she asks. "Can they commit to the full lifetime of the pet, and do they have the means to make the proper arrangements for the pet?”

Pet Adoption and the Holiday Season

The time of year also plays into the choice. Animals need time and space to acclimate to a new environment. As such, ensuring that the giftee will be able to prioritize their new pet, even with the many commitments that come with the holidays, is key.
Should all of these factors be taken into account, the ending will likely be a happy one: according to
one study
, 86% of people opt to keep their gifted pets. 
If a friend or family member has expressed interest in pet adoption, here are a few gifts—that aren't actual animals—that will help them on their journey.

Pet Shampoo Bar

This sustainable pet shampoo bar will leave your pup smelling fresh and clean—and, of course, ready for snuggling!
Shop All Pets

Alternative Gift Ideas for Future Pet Owners

1. Start With an Adoption Kit

giving pets as gifts
Skip the selection and start the pet process slowly with an adoption kit. The
American Humane Society
recommends gifting a basket of items like toys, a bed, food, and blankets to show your support without actually choosing the animal.

2. Donate to a Local Shelter

Making a donation in your giftee's name is a rewarding route to helping shelter workers and animals alike. This present will bring the animal lover in your life closer to their community—and may help inspire them to make an adoption of their own.

3. Join a Foster Group

Fostering an animal
is a great way to get a sense of the responsibility, time, and energy that goes into pet ownership. Foster coordinators are always looking for more helpers to care for animals before they make it to their forever home.
If you or your potential giftee are unsure about pet commitment but are eager to help the cause, fostering may be the best route for you.