Pets for presents not a good idea

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, December 6, 2011

By DR. FRED SELF / Veterinarian

This time of year, we all start to focus on gift giving. For some, it is a time when we get to give our friends and family something that will make them happy or they will be able to use in the coming year.

Other gifts we give to acquaintances because we were invited to their parties, because they are married to our friends or because it is just the socially accepted thing to do.

Regardless of the reason we give a gift, we have to put thought into why that person gets a particular gift.

The worst thing you can do is give an inappropriate gift, one that the person on the receiving end immediately feels awkward having and wants to get rid of fast.

Often, pets that are given as presents turn out to be that inappropriate gift.

If you have pets of your own and have become attached to them and accept them as part of the family, it can be hard to understand someone living without a pet. Also, if you know someone who has had a pet pass away and has not yet found a new pet, the idea may be there to try and find one for them.

These are not good reasons to give pets as gifts.

Giving pets to neighbors, girlfriends or boyfriends, nieces and nephews, coworkers, children attending college away from home, single friends, single family members or anyone not aware of the gift before it is purchased may be a bad idea.

Pets are good gifts when they are given by parents to young children or when the future owner goes along to pick out the pet.

The idea is that pets should only be given as gifts if the giver will help take care of the pet or the future owner has previous knowledge of the gift and can plan for its care accordingly.

If you give someone a television as a gift and they would rather have a good book, they can easily re-gift the television. If you give someone a red sweater and it does not fit they can take it back and exchange it. However, inappropriately gifted pets either end up poorly cared for or in an animal shelter.

When considering what gifts to give this year, avoid giving pets.

Dr. Fred Self is a veterinarian at Shelbiana Animal Clinic in Columbiana, along with Dr. Charles Thornburg. You can reach them at 669-7717.