iStock_000052726238_MediumHoliday shopping season is upon us, and you are probably trying to think of that perfect gift for your child, a niece or nephew, or a special friend. During this time of year, exotic pets such as hamsters, fish, or birds can be popular choices for that special present. Before you take the plunge, though, be sure to put some thought into choosing exotic pets as gifts.

Know Your Recipient

When choosing a new family member, especially for another family, it is important to choose carefully. When making your decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is the recipient?
  • How old is he or she?
  • What type of responsibilities is he or she able to take on?
  • Will the recipient be financially able to provide for the pet?
  • Will the recipient be able to devote the time and attention needed for proper care?

If the pet in mind is intended as a gift for someone outside of your immediate family, it is appropriate and smart to discuss it with the recipient or his or her guardian(s) ahead of time. If the gift recipient is a minor, chances are that some of the financial and care commitments will fall to an adult.

While you may want nothing more than a fuzzy bunny under the Christmas tree for your family, the idea may not be so welcomed by someone else.

Know Your Pet

Exotic pets may seem like a great gift. After all, they are small, compact, relatively inexpensive, and can require less care than some other pets. It is important, however, to do your research on the type of animal you are considering purchasing. Exotic pets as gifts can be more than you bargain for!

Some exotic pets require more care and maintenance, and most have very specific care needs in order to thrive. Learn what your species of choice needs to stay healthy and happy. If your recipient is a child, also be sure to take the time to learn which species are better suited for kids. Not all exotic pets make good playmates.

When Exotic Pets as Gifts Aren’t the Best Choice

The holidays may seem like a great time to introduce a new pet into the home, but in reality it isn’t always the best idea. There are a few reasons for this:

  • The holidays tend to be a busy time where it can be difficult to learn about and care for a new pet
  • People tend to travel over the holidays, making care difficult
  • People tend to have limited finances around the holidays, just when a new pet needs a few things and a wellness veterinary visit
  • Giving live animals as gifts can add to the impression that animals are disposable items

In some situations, giving exotic pets as gifts can be a great choice, but it certainly needs to be a very well thought out decision. Billings Animal Family Hospital is here to help you with any information you may need and to help you welcome any new pet into the home, whether it has fur, feathers, or scales.