How to Give a Puppy as a Present

Not Everyone Is Ready to Own a Puppy

Sleeping puppy with ribbons and present
Julie Toy / Getty Images

Everyone who adores puppies wants to share the furry love, but not everyone is ready to receive puppies as gifts. Maybe the recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness. But do not gamble with a puppy’s life.

Sure, Grandma is lonely and needs a wagging lap-warmer to keep her company. But she may have other plans, such as traveling to visit all the grandkids. A puppy that chews up Aunt Ethel’s hat collection will cost you favorite nephew status. A busy new parent may want a pup for their kids but have other demands that take priority.

When you do it right, gifting with a puppy can be magic. You are not only giving the pet to a person, but you are also giving a special human to a waiting puppy.

Giving Puppies as Gifts

A dog is a big responsibility, claiming time and energy that may not be available. What is more, dogs live for well over a decade; in some cases, 10 years can encompass huge life changes. Be sure that the recipient truly wants and is ready for a puppy. Before you put a bow around a puppy's neck, ask yourself these questions.

  1. Is the recipient already overwhelmed with other responsibilities that require their complete attention? A person who is coping with financial stress, sick family members, or a demanding job may not be able to maintain a puppy.
  2. Does this person spend a great deal of time away from home? If so, is there someone at home who can dedicate themselves to puppy care?
  3. Does the recipient have the space to house another member of the family?
  4. Can this person afford a puppy? Even a well dog is a financial responsibility; pet food and well pet care are not cheap. If the puppy turns out to have medical issues, the costs could run into the thousands.
  5. How stable is this individual? A new puppy may seem like a good way to help someone become more responsible, but the reality is that puppies are not training wheels; they need responsible, caring homes from the moment they arrive.
  6. Is this person going through (or about to go through) major life changes? A couple expecting a baby, a recent high school or college graduate, or a senior whose health is declining are all examples of people who probably do not need a puppy in their lives.
  1. Will the new puppy owner survive to care for the dog over the next 10 to 20 years? This question should be asked when you are considering the idea of giving a puppy to a lonely senior. If that individual is not likely to outlive the pet, will you be willing and able to give it a home?
  2. If you are giving a puppy to a child, are the child's parents supportive of the idea? Children delight in puppy presents for holiday surprises, but breathing gifts cannot be shoved under the bed and forgotten when the latest must-have gadget has more appeal. Remember—even if Fluffy is for the kids, the parent ultimately holds responsibility for the well-being of the pet. Will the child’s parents have the time to spend on one-on-one attention a new pet needs and deserves?

All Ready for a Puppy

What if the kids, your spouse, Aunt Ethel, or a best friend have made it clear they want a puppy, are prepared for the responsibility, and feel ready for a furry loved one in their life? You are sure, and so are they.

The time, the place, the person, and the pet must be right for love to bloom into a lifetime commitment. The selection should be made by the person who will live with, care for, and hopefully, fall in love with the fur baby for the next decade or more.

Tips

  • Contact the professional breeder, kennel, shelter, and/or rescue organization in advance and arrange to pay all or a portion of the costs: you can give a deposit, foot the entire bill, puppy clicker training classes, or fund the cost of the puppy’s first veterinary visit for puppy shots.
  • Give a gift of a puppy bed with treats, food, training and grooming equipment, dog books about the breed or training, and dog toys.
  • Create a “gift certificate” that details this special surprise. It could be packaged inside a pet carrier or in an envelope attached to a plushy dog stuffed animal.