Must-Have Guide to Gifting a Dog

Before you pick out a gift with a wagging tail -- read these 6 essential tips.

French BulldogI’m a dog-person. I train dogs, I participate in hands-on dog rescue and transport, I work with dogs on TV, I write about dogs, and I run a charity to help feed rescue dogs. I’d be quite peeved with anyone who surprised me with a puppy (or dog) as a gift – and I love dogs, having three of my own. Acquiring a pet is a very personal choice. It is also a long-term commitment  involving the recipients time, money and emotion.

Before you pick out a gift with a wagging tail, consider these 6 important things:

  1. Never give a pet as a surprise unless you are a parent or half of a couple that will take 100 percent responsibility for the animal for the rest of its life.
  2. Adopt a pet, save a life.
  3. Include your gift recipient in making the choice of a pet.
  4. If you want the gift to be a surprise, purchase a gift certificate to the rescue or shelter, or if they don’t offer one, purchase a stuffed kitty or puppy and attach an IOU to its collar.
  5. Along with the gift, include a “new puppy” or “new kitten” package, which includes a collar, a leash (for a puppy), two bowls, pet food, a book on caring for that particular pet, a litter box and litter (or a kitten), puppy pads (for a puppy), a gift certificate for the first visit to a local veterinarian, and anything else the recipient might need in the short-term to care for the pet.
  6. If the gift recipient runs into trouble caring for the pet, be prepared to take it back and find it a good home – make sure that it is not dumped at a pound.

Read more about giving pets as gifts>>

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