202

How you should gift pets for the holidays

Cute Australian Shepherd puppy popping up out of a gift with a red Christmas bow on her head.

WASHINGTON — Pets can be popular Christmas gifts for children, but you need to consider some things before picking a four-legged friend for someone.

Veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson says picking out a pet for another family is tricky, and not the best idea. 

“If you’re thinking about getting a pet as a gift for someone else, I think that’s where you need to draw the line,” Nelson says. “Picking a pet is a very personal experience.”

Instead, Nelson suggests contacting your local shelter about paying the adoption fee, and giving a gift certificate to the kids on Christmas morning.  

“That way, the person can go and have the bonding experience, and pick the pet out,” Nelson says.

Another idea: Put a pet carrier under the tree, with a note inside that explains the gift. This way, the family can pick a pet that best suits their lifestyle.

“If you’re a couch-potato family, you don’t necessarily need a vizsla that’s going to be bouncing off the walls,” Nelson says. “A bulldog or a basset hound might be a better fit.”

Nelson says you should also consider whether someone has allergies, and consider a breed that doesn’t shed.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

© 2015 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.