What to Know Before Giving a Dog as a Gift

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Should you give a puppy or dog as a holiday gift? This is a question that comes up every holiday and is fraught with tension and a lot of family discussion. Giving a dog as a holiday gift is not a decision to be taken lightly; there are many pros and cons to be weighed.

We do caution to not give a puppy or a dog as a surprise gift. When you bring a dog or puppy into your home it’s a lifetime commitment; you need to be sure the recipient is ready, willing and able to commit to this.

Unfortunately, many individuals give puppies, kittens or other pets as gifts during the holidays only to surrender them later because they didn’t realize how much it takes to raise a pet. Children will surely be excited if they see a pet under the tree, but remember all the hard work that goes into raising a pet typically falls on the shoulders of the parents. Before you gift a puppy to a child make sure the parents are completely on board.

We want to provide balanced information on why you should, and why maybe you shouldn’t, give a puppy or dog as a gift.  Let's get started.

Do They Truly Want a Dog?

The main reason you may not want to gift a dog is if you’re not sure the recipient truly wants one. 

Sharing your life with a dog is a commitment, but it is one of the biggest joys most people will ever feel. Playing with the dog, walking a dog,and snuggling with the dog when you’ve had a bad day are all reasons we love sharing our lives with dogs.

What Kind of Dog do they Want?

You may love giant breed long-haired dogs. The person you’re considering giving a puppy or dog to for the holidays may love tiny short-haired dogs.

When gifting a dog, you need to choose the dog the recipient wants not the kind of dog you want; remember you’re not the one sharing your life with this dog.  

Keep the recipient’s lifestyle in mind when choosing a dog or puppy. If the person you’re giving the dog to is very active choose a dog who can keep up with this lifestyle; For example, a Pug is not an ideal choice for someone who is a long-distance runner and wants a running companion. If the recipient is a couch potato, choose a breed who loves to lounge around and relax..  

Has this Person Ever Owned a Dog Before?

If the recipient is brand new to dog ownership, he or she may not understand the financial and time commitment that goes into a dog. Unless you’re sure this person can afford to raise a dog, you may be doing the dog and the person a disservice by gifting them one.

Remember, the recipient may absolutely love your dog, but that doesn’t mean they would have the time, patience and money to care for their own. 

Protecting the Dog with Insurance 

If gifting a dog, consider also investing the pup in a pet health insurance policy.  Having a dog health insurance policy could be beneficial for the new pet parent down the line. 

Some Reasons to Gift a Dog

Now that we’ve given you some reasons that may give you pause on giving a puppy or dog as a gift, we have a few reasons why a shelter dog might just be the best gift ever.

Teach Children Responsibility

If your children have been asking for a dog, it could be a perfect opportunity to show them how to take responsibility for another living being.

Sharing the responsibility of this new dog or puppy is an ideal way for you and your child to grow even closer.

Shelter Dogs Crave Love and Companionship

Ask anyone who has adopted a shelter puppy or a shelter dog and they will tell you. Chances are, even if you are looking for a specific breed you can find one in a shelter or a rescue organization.

Introducing a puppy or a dog to your family is a gift that will be enjoyed and loved long after the decorations have been put away and the toys have been broken.

If you want to give the gift of a puppy or a dog but don’t want to introduce a puppy or a dog to the craziness of the holidays, consider adopting your dog after the holidays have passed.  

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.