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Pets as Gifts

Pets should never be an impulse purchase. Individuals and families thinking of getting a pet as a gift should research, prepare and then when the time is right and fits the person's lifestyle, purchase the pet. The person you're buying the pet for should really have input on the pet they would like, Many people don't have the time, energy or money to care for a pet over a long term. A new owner may enjoy the animal for a few weeks, but then resent the gift once the novelty wears off. The cute puppy starts growing into an active, needy larger dog.

Also discourage parents from giving puppies or kittens to their children as gifts. While children can help with some age appropriate responsibilities, pets require adult caretakers. Remember even youngsters typically don't have the strength, attention span, self-discipline and physical strength to care for a pet. While older children typically wind up redirecting their attention to friends, school, sports, social activities and eventually dating and planning for college. In most cases one of the parents becomes the primary caretaker, doing the feedings, walks, litter, scooping, and all the other chores.

Pets are living beings that require substantial time and daily care plus expenses for food, obedience training, vet bills and occasional pet sitters or kennels. Children get bored with gifts, and it's heartbreaking when families grow tired of the frowning dog. Studies show that too often the gift pets are given up within the first year, starving for training, socialization, and affection.

Reminder the parents are responsible for the pets and their caretakers until their child turns 18 years of age.