The thought of adopting a pet at any time of year is exciting, but when it comes to the holidays, we can become almost giddy with the anticipation of bringing home a new bundle of joy. Surprising our significant other, child, or family member with a new pet can easily carry us away, but the idea may backfire without proper planning. 

In fact, studies show that many animals are re-homed, abandoned, or returned to shelters each year after the holidays, a trend no one wants to be a part of. Keep reading to learn about adopting a pet for the holidays and what you can do to make sure your new pet’s home is a forever home. 

Start With The Basics

During the holidays, it might seem natural to give a pet as a present to the animal lover in your life. But pet ownership takes responsibility, time, and money. It’s a lot to ask of someone to instantly take on the daily tasks of pet ownership!

It sounds simple, but it is important to find out first if the recipient even wants a pet. Sure, you may blow the surprise, but that’s better than giving an unwanted gift. 

Adopting a Pet During the Holidays

Remember that pet ownership is personal. Every species and breed has its own needs, care requirements, and behaviors, and each individual pet has their own tendencies, too. It’s important to include the person who will care for the pet in the decision about which pet to bring home.

Some other considerations include:

If the new owner will be a child, keep in mind that the ASPCA recommends waiting until children are 10-13 years old before they are ready for the responsibility of a pet. An adult in the household needs to be willing to take primary responsibility for the care of a pet, as children should not be expected to take complete responsibility. 

Getting a puppy or a kitten can be fun, but keep in mind that they are babies and will need a lot of care and attention. Adult animals have fully formed personalities, are often already trained and can be matched more perfectly to their new pet parents. 

Animal shelters and rescue organizations are bursting with loving, wonderful pets that are ready for their forever homes.. Shelter workers know the pets in their care well, and can help match you with the perfect pet for you. You’ll literally save a life, and the love and devotion you’ll receive from a rescued or adopted pet is unmatched. 

Gift Ideas

If you’ve decided that adopting a pet is the right choice, you may be wondering how to wrap up the gift of love. Here are some ideas that don’t include a box with holes.

  • Wrap up a stuffed animal in the likeness of the species and breed you like, along with a handmade “certificate” to go to the animal shelter when you’re ready to adopt.
  • Create a gift basket filled with items needed to care for a new pet: a leash and collar, food bowls, grooming tools, treats, toys, and a pet bed
  • Give books, magazines, or videos about how to care for a new pet, and include a gift certificate for behavior or obedience training classes 
  • Print out a pet gift certificate for a pre-paid wellness or dental exam, or other preventive medical care.

A Home For The Holidays

A final word about adopting a pet during this busy and hectic time of year. Pets, no matter their age, take time to acclimate to new surroundings and a new routine. The holiday season may be a stressful time to take on a new pet if your schedule is already packed with parties, travel, and family gatherings. 

Instead, consider wrapping up one of the special gifts above, and waiting a few weeks until the holiday hustle has slowed down and you can bring a new pet into a calmer environment. 

If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us. Huntington Veterinary Hospital is here to help you and your new pet embark on a happy and healthy life together!