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Should you give a pet as a gift for Christmas?

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Posted at 11:11 AM, Dec 12, 2022

Giving a pet as a gift may seem like a good idea, but experts said a lot of thought needs to go into the decision beforehand.

The ASPCA says it's OK to give pets as gifts if the recipient has "expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly."

The organization recommends that pets be obtained from animal shelters, rescue organizations, friends, family or responsible breeders.

"If the recipient is under 12 years old, the child’s parents should be ready and eager to assume care for the animal," the ASPCA says.

Gift givers should also be aware of the recipient's lifestyle and schedule to be sure they have enough time to care for the animal.

The organization conducted a study in 2013 that showed 86% of pets given as gifts remained in the home. It notes that studies from previous years showed that pets acquired as gifts are less likely to be relinquished than pets acquired by an individual.