Best Way To Give A Dog As A Gift

I’ve been asked many times about the best way to give a dog as a gift. You might be surprised, but you don’t want to give a dog as a gift. Not the answer you wanted to hear? Well, wait just a minute. You can give a great gift with the idea of a dog if you do it the right way. Piqued your interest? Today, let’s dig into the topic of how to properly give a dog as a gift. This is a good one and one that’s been a long time in the making. 

*Update: December 11, 2023

cute dog looks to be a dog as a gift in the right way
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

A new dog is exciting no matter if it’s for you, a friend, a family member, or any new dog owner. But if you give a dog in the wrong way, he or she can quickly become a surrender statistic. Who wants that? The perfect gift idea of a dog will allow you to teach your hopeful pet parent how to be part of the dog adoption process and hopefully begin a life-long commitment. 

Therefore, giving a dog accessory and not a dog along with an adoption search promise doesn’t cost much yet it can save the heartbreak of a dog being rejected later. That’s a priceless and heart-warming budget tip!

I know the thought of giving a dog can give you all sorts of warm fuzzies. Generally, the purpose behind giving the dog is really good. I know I thought about it a few times with my mom. But always ruled against it. She had Parkinson’s Disease, was very handicapped, and was legally blind. While a dog would’ve given her some company when no one was around, she was in no condition to care for it. I would’ve worried about the dog accidentally getting hurt. Plus, every time I asked her she said she wasn’t interested. 

This was my mom. Your dog lover may express a love of dogs and animals. That doesn’t necessarily mean they want to take care of one or have the means to care for a furry friend. While that might not be your mindset, it’s actually very good to know your limitations before jumping into a lifelong commitment to a dog.

A person may not readily admit their financial situation to you. However, it would be awful to hear that your gift, an innocent dog, was surrendered because your recipient couldn’t afford it. Or your recipient has to choose between food and dog care.

This was also my mom. She certainly couldn’t care for a dog. She couldn’t even bend over to pet one.

You should know how responsible the person is or isn’t. If it’s a child in your house, then a pet can teach a child to be responsible. However, the child is much more likely to feel like they are a dog parent if they pick it out, which doesn’t fit into a surprise gift idea.

If your recipient is out of town frequently, works a lot, or is simply a busy person, then a dog may not fit into the person’s lifestyle.

While the person may desperately want a dog, they may live in a space where pets and dogs are simply not allowed. There are ways around the no-pets policy. However, it’s never good to spring a pet on a landlord and then ask for an exemption to the pet policy. It’s always best to be upfront and try to negotiate an exemption prior to giving a dog as a gift. This could even include a pet rent deposit and monthly fee, which the hopeful dog owner will also need to consider. 

Holiday pets and dogs given as gifts are honestly a terrible idea. During the holidays people are busy and committing to a new furry friend is not the best thought. Especially, if it’s sprung on the person. 

It’s interesting to note the percentage of dogs surrendered in January always ticks up. This is a worldwide issue. Dog Trust Ireland in January 2022 experienced a 73% increase in surrendered dogs over January 2021. Now, that definitely should give you pause, or paws, about giving a dog as a gift. 

If you still think the person would like a dog as a gift, don’t give the dog. Give the idea of the dog with the promise to start the search after the holidays or when the person has time. 

Personally, I love the thought of a Promise Certificate. It’s like a gift card, but a promise to search for a dog at a later date. It puts everything in writing and makes and makes a gift idea for the yet-to-be dog parent. 

Below is a super cute dog adoption promise certificate I created. It’s totally FREE! When you download it, you’ll also get a dog adoption certificate. That one is for you to hold onto until the dog is adopted and your promise is completed. They make the perfect dual certificates. 

Additionally, with the Dog Adoption Promise Certificate, you can include a basic dog accessory like a:

Why not try out a dog first? What do I mean? There are a couple of ways to do a dog test run. 

If you have a dog, let your dog stay with the recipient for 1-2 hours, half a day, or even overnight. This will give the person a taste of what it’s like to be a dog parent with walks, playing, feeding, and any behavior issues. If your pup has lots of dog hair, it will give the wanna-be dog parent a chance to deal with fur everywhere. It’s a kind of trial by dog without any harm. 

Take the dog lover to volunteer for a day at a shelter. After proper orientation, they will be asked to walk, groom, wash, play with, feed, and even clean the dog kennels. Great experience for a possible dog parent. This will also give the possible new dog owner a chance to experience a wide range of dog breeds. From small dogs to large and barkers to quiet pups. It’s a great resource for those who haven’t been around dogs much and think they want to commit to a rescue dog. 

Additionally, as you search for a new canine companion don’t forget to build a dog criteria list for the hopeful dog parent. The dog criteria list will allow you to zero in on the best furry friend for your friend. You can read about creating a dog criteria in this related post

Also, help your hopeful dog owner realize the reality of being a dog parent and create a dog budget together.  A dog budget will let your soon-to-be dog parent know the expenses to expect. You can download a free dog budget template below. 

Related posts:

I know it’s tempting to give a dog as a gift. I’ve been tempted to do it several times. But a dog doesn’t make an ideal gift. Although, the idea of a dog can be a perfect gift if done correctly. 

Specifically, if you want your rescue dog to be a furry family member and integrated fully into his or her new family then the person needs to partake in the dog selection. Otherwise, you’re making a lot of assumptions and setting the dog lover and dog up for failure, which means a likely surrendered dog. 

Additionally, how do you know if the person is fully ready for a dog? This includes time, space, lifestyle, and finances. Matching a dog to a person can’t be done by proxy. It’s an interactive activity. As such, I always believe the best way to give a dog as a gift is to include the person and give the idea of a dog. The dog adoption promise certificate and a dog accessory make a perfect gift of a dog. 

woman celebrates receiving a dog as a gift in the right way

How would you give a dog as a gift? Do you like the Promise Certificate?


18 thoughts on “Best Way To Give A Dog As A Gift”

  1. What a sensible and fun post. People give dogs and puppies without letting the recipient know? That’s INSANE and a recipe for disaster.

    Your reasons for NOT giving a dog are sensible and important. A dog is for life not just the aww moment on Christmas Day.

    • My thoughts exactly, Marjorie. My hope is to help prevent at least one disaster. I really hope this article makes a positive difference. Thanks for the continued support! I greatly appreciate it!

  2. This is an EXCELLENT article! I already shared even before commenting. Everything you said here is so true, and I absolutely love your idea for the Promise Certificate. Too many times folks want to give animals as gifts, and without first finding out if the people actually want/need/can care for one, it’s so not a good idea. I know! One year a relative gifted my young daughter a bunny at Christmas before checking with us. Naturally, we couldn’t tell our young daughter no, so we made it work and my husband built a (what I called a Bunny castle) home for him. But we really would have preferred to wait until she was older, so that Promise certificate is so clever! And I love that you supply one! Again, I have to say, I always love your content!

    • Awe, thank you so much, Dorothy! I’m so honored. I work hard to help folks with dog expenses and prevent bad things from happening. It really does reassure me that I’m on a good track with all your positive feedback. Thank you for your continued support! It truly means a lot to me!

  3. I agree with what everyone said, I do not think a puppy or any pet should be given as a gift as we do not always know if the receiver can have one but a Promise Certificate from a shelter is a very clever idea.

  4. This is an important message this time of year. Far too many people just give a puppy or dog as a gift thinking it’s a great idea, but it actually requires a lot of thought. Just because someone loves dogs and really wants one, doesn’t mean they are able to properly care for a pup at this time, especially the lifelong Vet bills that come along with it! I blog about this every year hoping it will make someone rethink giving a puppy or dog as a gift. Many shelters & rescues offer a “foster to adopt” program, which I think is a fabulous way to see if one can handle a dog full time. I love your Dog Adoption Promise Certificate! That’s perfect.

    • I’m hoping this will make the need to give a dog as a gift more reasonable. I really appreciate your support and continued encouragement. It means a lot to me. Thank you!

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