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 don’t 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.

Giving Puppies as Gifts

A dog is a big responsibility, claiming time and energy that may not be available. What's more, dogs live for well over a decade; in some cases, ten 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 have the time to devote to 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 aren't 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 don't 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're considering the idea of giving a puppy to a lonely senior. If that individual won't outlive her pet, will you be willing and able to give it a home?
  2. If you're 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 can’t 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?

Tips for Giving Puppies as Gifts

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’re 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 baby for the next decade or more. You still want the recipient to make this important choice, so give them that gift. Here are tips for giving puppies as gifts

  • Plot With Professionals. Contact the professional breeder, kennel, shelter, and/or rescue organization and explain the situation. Ask them to conspire with you—arrange to pay a deposit, or fund the purchase FOR the recipient, with the puppy to be chosen later. Perhaps also pre-pay puppy clicker training classes for the new family member, or fund the cost of the puppy’s first veterinary visit for puppy shots.
  • Go Shopping. Create a “puppy care package” for the big day. Fill a puppy bed with treats, food, training and grooming equipment, and lots of appropriate toys. Don’t forget to include a book or two about the puppy’s breed, training tips, or other fun information.
  • Get Creative. Why not make a “gift certificate” that details this special surprise, and have that ready to present on the big day. Perhaps it could be packaged inside a pet carrier, or in an envelope attached to the collar of a stuffed St. Bernard toy.
  • Take Your Time. Holidays can be hectic when normal routines go out the window. New puppies need the stability of knowing what to expect. But you can “gift” with the certificate on a special day, and the recipient can choose the best time to bring the pet home. Hopefully, you also have the fun of accompanying the person later, when they choose their own furry wonder.

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