Money Talks: Why Pets are Bad Gifts

"We see a variety of animals that were gifts. The most recent example was the chocolate lab puppy that came in with her toe nails painted red. She was cute but the recipient wasn't ready for a puppy," says Cherie Wachter of the Humane Society.

That's reason number one the Humane Society says never to surprise someone with the gift of an animal: if your recipient doesn't want it, you've placed its life in peril.

Reason number two? Ongoing time and expense.

According to, over the life of a 50-pound dog, you can expect to spend anywhere from 4 to $40 thousand dollars on food and medical care. And countless hours in companionship.

And here's the main reason... Even if a pet is the perfect gift, there's a better way to give one.

"A lot of animal shelters across the country now offer pet adoption certificates."

That gives the gift recipient some time to consider think about the selection of an animal, the compatibility, an affordable budget that includes includes food, medical care and time.

Bottom line? If you want to adopt an animal, I heartily encourage it. That's how I got my little furry family. But if you're going to give one as a surprise gift, think it through. Want more information on pet adoption? Just go to and do a search for "pets."

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