dog licking a little boy

Whether it’s been inspired by a commercial featuring a puppy popping out of a gift-wrapped box, or the insistent pleas of a child begging for a new fur friend this holiday season, it can be hard to resist the notion of adopting a pet for Christmas. But is this the right thing to do?

Holiday pet adoptions are a hot button topic among animal lovers, and for good reason. Surprising someone with a pet they don’t really want means that pet may have to be surrendered to a shelter – something no one wants. Taking the time to gather the facts in advance will ensure that any decision you make regarding pet adoption has a happy ending.

What to Consider

Whether you’re adopting a pet att Christmas for yourself, or as a surprise for a loved one, there are several important factors to consider:

  • Recipient – Who is the pet intended for? An adult with a suitable home for a pet or a child who will need mom or dad’s help with pet care? Does the person have allergies or special needs? Can they afford the cost of caring for and owning a pet? It’s also good to remember that senior pets need homes too, and can be the perfect option for people with less room or who prefer a calmer pet.
  • Cost – The cost of caring for a pet throughout its lifetime is substantial. Food, veterinary bills, grooming, toys, clothes, crates, and other incidentals add up. Can you or your intended afford this care now and in the future?
  • Lifestyle – Is the adoptive home suitable to a pet’s needs? A cat may be fine in an apartment, but an active 50-pound dog would do better in a home with a backyard. Will the new owners have the time and energy to commit to training, playing with, and exercising the pet? It’s also good to remember that senior pets need homes too, and can be the perfect option for people with less room or who prefer a calmer pet.
  • Commitment – Bringing a pet into your home is a long-term commitment that requires a good deal of thoughtful consideration and a realistic look at one’s lifestyle. Shelters are full of pets that “didn’t work out” and you don’t want this to be the situation for your pet.

Tips for Adopting a Pet at Christmas

A successful pet adoption begins with planning! Before you jump in paws first, we urge you to explore the following factors:

  • Rethink the element of surprise. The image of a kitten poking their head out of a stocking is cute, but consider gifting your loved one an “adoption kit” filled with pet care supplies and food along with a gift certificate covering the adoption fees. Take the whole family to pick out a pet together.
  • Adopt from a shelter or rescue organization. Every year millions of pets are needlessly euthanized at shelters across the country, and by adopting you will literally be saving a life. Have your heart set on a specific breed? Chances are there’s a breed-specific rescue organization nearby. 
  • Don’t overstimulate your new pet. Limit foot traffic in and out of your home and keep things calm during the first few weeks while your pet is adjusting to their new surroundings.

Don’t forget to schedule your new pet’s first wellness exam with the team at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent care as soon as you bring them home. We can’t wait to meet your newest family member!