Pets Are One of the Most Exciting Gifts a Person Can Receive

There is nothing better than seeing someone’s face light up when you give them a pet to love. While dogs and cats are the most common gifts for birthdays or Christmas, they are not the only option available.

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However, before you go out and get a new family member, you want to make sure everyone is ready for the responsibilities. Unfortunately, animal shelters are flooded with returned “gifts” only a few months later. This kind of situation should be avoided as it can do real emotional damage to the pet.  With proper preparation, a pet can be one of the most exciting gifts a person can receive.

Considerations to Make Before Gifting a Pet

The best way to prevent an animal from being taken to the shelter is to make sure your family member is ready for a pet. Here are three considerations you will want to keep in mind when you are looking at a living gift.

  1. Age of the Recipient – The best way to determine what type of pet is perfect for your family member is to keep their age in mind. A young child is likely not ready for the responsibility that comes with a dog or a cat, while a young teen is. Know what your child can handle and be ready to fill the voids.
  2. Cost – Animals come with costs far beyond the initial adoption or purchase fees. You will have vet bills, food, training, housing, and more. With teenagers, they can help with the costs because they have jobs. However, younger children will need pets that they can care for and your family is not put at risk.
  3. Full Commitment – Do not gift a pet that exceeds the commitment level your child has for that animal. Dogs and cats can live up to 15 to 20 years. However, small hand pets live for only five to seven years. Make sure when you are selecting a gift, that you know what time your child has and their interest level. Finally, some pets require a lot more time and energy to keep healthy.
  4. Education – The last consideration you need to keep in mind when selecting a pet is how much education you and your child have regarding that animal. You will want to know the behaviors and needs of specific breeds or animal types. For example, long-haired dogs and cats will have high grooming needs while reptiles are high maintenance with temperature and skin needs.

Ideal Pets to Gift

After considering everything, you are ready to select the ideal pet to gift. The best way to decide the perfect gift is to start looking at the age of the recipient.

  • Children under 3 – Children under the age of three should not receive a pet as their own. This is a great gift for a family and they can benefit. However, they are not old enough to understand the needs of the animal.
  • Pre-school Children – Children up to the age of five or six are ready for hand pets. Rats, guinea pigs, or any aquarium pet are ideal animals for gifting at this age. They can help feed and clean the cage. Outside of reptiles, these animals require a minimum amount of care and do not need much time outside the cage.
  • Grade School Age – As your child learns more responsibilities, they can start looking at larger hand pets (rabbits, chinchillas) and reptiles. They require a little more care and understanding of behavior when handling. This is also when low maintenance pets are ideal. Cats that have already been litter box trained, or adopting older dogs give your child the ability to enjoy the animal without having to stress with the training.
  • Middle School Age – This is the optimal age to consider getting your child a dog or a cat. This is the age when children can be held responsible for walking or playing with the animal, as well as handling all the daily needs. Having your child present during training classes will teach them about appropriate behavior around how to prevent injuries. It is important to have plans, as your child’s pet may live longer than they remain in your home.
  • High School Age – While you would think any pet would be great for this age, many high schoolers are severely limited on the time available for caring for an animal. Ideal pets will be ones that can live with them wherever they live and are low maintenance. Many apartment complexes have weight restrictions and additional fees for pets, so make sure your teenager is involved in any conversation about a live gift.

Pets bring great joy and a lot of comfort during stressful times. However, you want to make sure you plan everything out so that your animal has the highest quality of life possible. Whether it is a cat, dog, aquarium pet, or bird, every animal is different and can bring peace and love to a child for years.

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