Don’t Gift That Dog!

Dogs Make Great Pets, But Poor Gifts, Read On To Find Out Why…
Any pet lover will vouch for the joy and love a pet can bring to one’s life. But a dog is not the ideal pet for any home. And many a gifted dog has ended up at the local shelter or has been abandoned when it outlived its novelty or became a burden. Before you gift a dog to anyone, ask yourself the questions listed below.

Does Everyone In The Family Really Want A Dog?

It is a bad idea to gift a dog to a single person in a family without considering the emotions and opinions of the other family members. If anyone in the family dislikes dogs or is phobic or even allergic to animal dander, the dog is not going to be welcome. Often in joint families, an unwanted pet ends up being restricted to a part of the house and in many cases has created a rift in the family. Also it’s unfair to the dog to feel unwanted and restricted.

Are You Replacing An Old Pet With A New One Too Soon?

Many people feel the best way to get over the loss of one pet is to acquire another. But it is a good idea to wait until the family has achieved closure over the death of their last pet before landing up at their doorstep with a pup in your arms. Even though you may mean well, the family may not be ready as yet to care for another. They may react with anger and guilt, rejecting the new pet and feeling disloyal to the one who died. The new dog is also very likely to be compared unfavourably with the old one and will suffer for it.

Is The Child Old Enough To Undertake Responsibility For The Animal’s Welfare?

Even though your nephew may love dogs and spends all his time playing with your dog, it does not mean he’s ready or even wants to take care of a dog himself. Most kids love dogs but few are mature enough to undertake responsibility for the animal’s welfare. The tasks a child can carry out for the dog depends on his or her maturity level and the dog’s age and temperament. Children under 12 don’t have the physical or mental ability to care for a dog on their own and should be viewed only as helpers. Do remember that in most cases, the child enthusiastically helps with the dog’s welfare in the beginning, but loses interest after a few months. The entire burden of caring for the pet then falls on the parents.

Can They Afford A Dog?

Though the question may be a sensitive one, it is necessary to find out if the family you are gifting the dog to is financially capable of handling the costs that accompany a pet. All dogs, whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian need to be fed a balanced diet, add to that the cost of nutritional supplements, toys, training, grooming equipment, visits to the grooming salon, pet sitting expenses and you soon have a four-five figure amount being spent on the dog every month. A sick dog can run up a whopping bill at the vet’s. Can the family afford the amount at a minute’s notice? Should the dog suffer from a lifelong ailment, like hip dysplasia, epilepsy, or diabetes, would the family be able to afford the treatment? Many a dog has been abandoned or rehomed because the family budget could not accommodate the expenses involved.

Is The Home Suitable For A Dog?

Is the home you are gifting the dog to have sufficient space to keep a dog? Remember, a big dog needs adequate space to live and exercise. Before gifting the canine, find out if the landlord or housing society allows pets, or else the animal will have to leave before setting a paw in the house.

Will The Dog Fit Into The Family’s Lifestyle?

Before gifting a pet, research the character and personality of the dog and its needs. Is it easy to train? Good with children? Need plenty of exercise? Shed a lot of fur? Some breeds are naturally more vociferous, destructive and energetic than others. If you gift a dog, make sure the breed you choose suits the lifestyle of the new family.

If your friend is at work all day or has a busy schedule think twice before gifting him a dog. Dogs are social animals and all dogs, especially young ones, need plenty of interaction in the form of training, play, exercise, love and attention. A dog that is deprived of time with the owner or left alone all day, could get bored, frustrated and redirect its energies on destroying the home.

Does The Person Understand The Commitment Involved?

A dog is not a car you can trade in when you are bored, too busy or just want a newer model. Make sure the family you are gifting to, is aware of the effort and care involved in owning a pet. A young pup will chew furniture, toilet on the carpet and vomit anywhere it chooses. Will the family be able to clean up the messes with a smile? There will be dog hair everywhere, can the family live with it on their sofa, beds and even kitchen appliances?

Will the family have the love and patience to see the dog through its old age, even if it needs special care and medicine? If the family wants a dog to satisfy a whim, it is very likely the canine will be looking out for a new home in a matter of months.

Are There Other Pets In The Home?

Respect the emotions and needs of any other pet that already resides in the home before you add a dog to the family. Many dogs do not get along well with cats, rodents or birds and can cause problems or even harm the other pets, resulting in any one of the pets being rehomed, in the process causing heartache for the family.

If you are unsure or have got a negative answer for any of the questions think ten times before gifting a pet to the family. A dog can change a family’s way of life permanently. But, if you have got a positive answer to each and every question, go ahead and gift a dog to that lucky home.

Shirin Dhabhar

About Shirin Dhabhar

Shirin Dhabhar looks forward to answering all relevant queries from our readers. Please write in to: or

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