The Gift of Pet Ownership: 10 Tips for Gifting a Dog

The Gift of Pet Ownership: 10 Tips for Gifting a Dog

A pet is an ideal addition to a growing family, and a puppy makes the perfect gift for someone looking for a new companion. While pet gifts can be lasting and meaningful, they are also not a gift to be taken lightly. You are gifting a dog that will be part of your loved one’s life for many years to come. Make sure this is a gift that will be well-received and given a good home.

Tip #1: Remember, it’s a gift, not a surprise.

While the vision of a puppy jumping out of a big red box on Christmas morning to the entire family’s surprise is enticing, a new dog is a significant change for someone’s lifestyle. If the recipient is completely blindsided, you’ve no longer given a gift but rather a burden. Consider speaking with the recipient first to make sure that a dog would be a welcome gift. If you want to ensure you are gifting a puppy with a good temperament, try finding a reliable breed, like English Labradors, and adopt from a verified breeder like

Tip #2: Consider a puppy starter kit as an alternative

While it may be tempting to bestow your loved one with the gift of pet ownership, exercise restraint and put the plan on pause. After giving this holiday present a second thought, you may realize that a puppy starter kit is a more affordable (and responsible alternative) to a red-ribboned, photo-opt-worthy Labrador Retriever.

Should you decide to venture down this path, stock up on dog food, chew toys, water bowls, and puppy-friendly shampoos. That way, your loved one will have access to a fully-stocked supply closet when it comes time for a furry family member.

Tip #3: Ensure the recipient is ready for the journey ahead

Not every dog lover possesses the innate ability to care for a canine companion. While wagging tails and furry faces may put a sparkle in their eye, their hectic work schedule may not be conducive to the highs and lows of puppy parenthood. With this in mind, if the intended recipient juggles 70-hour weeks and jam-packed weekend itineraries, it may be time to reconsider your decision.

Are you worried the gift receiver isn’t ready for puppy parenthood? If so, keep a watchful eye out for the following warning signs:

  • Their landlord upholds a strict zero-tolerance policy against dogs.
  • Their financial picture can’t handle the upkeep involved (i.e., medical bills, monthly food costs, vaccinations, etc.)
  • They have young children in the home who may be wary of their new canine companion.

Tip #4: Have an open and honest conversation with the future dog owner

Once you’ve performed your initial evaluation of the recipients’ pet preparedness, it’s time to initiate an open and honest discussion. Here, you should inquire about the recipient’s fears or anxieties surrounding pet ownership. Additionally, try to drop subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints that you plan to

Be sure to broach the situation with a calm demeanour and a compassionate attitude. Avoid pressuring your loved one into dog ownership or shaming this family member or friend for their initial hesitations. Ultimately, they’ll be the one forking over cold-hard cash for vaccinations, vet appointments, and grooming appointments, so their opinion takes precedence.

Tip #5: Avoid the pet stores like the plague

They say love is blind. In the face of all-consuming puppy love, this sentiment couldn’t ring more true. While the intoxicating new puppy smell can be hypnotic, avoid falling under the pet store’s spell.

Sadly, many of these pet store pups are sourced from puppy mills—known for their filthy and horrifically inhumane conditions. As a result, many of these puppies purchased from local pet stores are susceptible to health and behavioural conditions that can spell disaster for a first-time dog owner. Not to mention, their exploitive payment plans are designed to target love-struck buyers, disoriented by the exciting prospect of a new pet.

The Gift of Pet Ownership: 10 Tips for Gifting a Dog

Tip #6: Find a pet from a verified breeder.

A vital part of adopting a new dog is the “testing period,” where puppies meet different families to find their perfect fit. When gifting a dog to another person, this “testing period” is not an option. That is why it is vital to find a breeder that can promise a puppy with good health and a calm and friendly temperament. Ensure that your breeder is certified by the American Kennel Club, an organization that ensures that your new puppy comes from an ethical and sustainable breeder.

Tip #7: Consider the recipient’s lifestyle.

Different dogs have different needs, and every family has a different lifestyle. Once you’ve made sure the recipient is ready for a dog, and you’ve done your research into breeders, now is time to find a breed that will be the perfect new family member for your loved ones.

If you are gifting a puppy to an active family with kids, a Labrador or Golden Retriever is an excellent fit. If you are giving a puppy to a family with a more sedentary lifestyle, a smaller dog with a lower energy supply is the right choice. Also, consider the impacts of their work or school schedule. Will they be around to let the dog out or take it for a walk? Some breeds are more high-maintenance than others, so do your research to find the best fit.

Tip #8: Take care of upfront costs.

Puppies come with a lot of expenses right off the bat. Some of these expenses include initial vet visits and vaccinations, spaying or neutering, microchipping, and everything a dog needs to feel at home, like toys and a collar. These upfront costs can be taxing on an unexpecting family, so covering these upfront costs is a necessary addition to your gift.

Tip #9: Invest in microchipping

To avoid a heartbreaking separation between the owner and their new furry friend, splurge on microchipping services. While you may initially incur a modest fee, it’s a small price to pray for an added sense of security and much-needed peace of mind—both priceless additions to your puppy plan of action.

Between the stress of tending to canine catastrophes (i.e., household accidents, couch carnage, or stuffed toys strewn around the living room), obedience training, and daily trips to the dog park, your loved one won’t want to add “Lost Dog” posters to their list of concerns. That said, make the afternoon trip to the nearest vet clinic and front the $45-50 fee. In no time, the gift receiver will be able to track down their pet in the case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or an instance of theft. Additionally, with the help of a microchip, the newfound puppy parent in your life will be well-equipped to locate Fido the Fugitive.

Tip #10 Pack the new family member a welcome basket.

If you are truly going for a surprise, chances are the recipient will not have any puppy products to use for their new furry friend. Help the new owner make the puppy feel right at home by packing a welcome basket—a crate and bed, toys, food, treats, doggie bags: all the essentials. Oh, and don’t forget the training pads.

Final thoughts

The gift of a new furry family member is lasting and meaningful. Make sure that a new dog is an appropriate gift for the receiving family. Ask yourself whether this is a good home for a new dog, and if so, what kind of dog would fit into their lifestyle. Once you’ve checked in with verified breeders and covered those initial costs, you’ll be well on your way to bestowing the gift of pet ownership.

Author: Gus Barge

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