mathias-erhart, Flickr

Is it ever a good idea to give a kitten or puppy as a holiday gift? Most experts wave the red flag at the idea of holiday pets, but if the animal in question has been a long-considered family addition, it isn't always a bad idea. Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking of gifting a new pet this month.

The Wrong Way
"Never surprise anyone with a pet as a gift. It's not an inanimate object. It's a living, breathing being that's going to depend on [that person] for food, water, exercise and attention -- for at least 15 years," says Sandra DeFeo, director at the Humane Society in New York City.

"Every year, people get a kitten or a puppy for someone as a present and the person receiving it isn't ready for the responsibility," says DeFeo. Pets given as gifts start trickling into the Humane Society soon after the holidays have passed, but most are surrendered in the spring, DeFeo tells Paw Nation.

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