A puppy sits among some Christmas gifts and tree next to a fireplace. Adopting a pet for Christmas is a big step, so be sure to consider all that's involved before making that choice.

Christmas and other holidays are popular times of year for pet adoptions. What could be better than seeing someone’s eyes light up when they get the gift of a sweet puppy, cat, or other furry friend, after all? Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when many pets are promptly returned  to shelters. 

Adopting a pet for Christmas isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there are many factors to consider ahead of time. The team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital wants you to make the best decision for your family and a potential adoptee. Here are some important considerations. 

5 Things to Address When Adopting a Pet for Christmas

An unprepared pet owner can spell disaster for a loving pet who deserves the best life. Here are some important things to know before adopting a pet for the holidays.

  1. Is the holiday season really the best time to adopt? Pet adoption is a big deal on its own without the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Bringing a pet home is exciting but also stressful. Your new pet needs to acclimate to a home that is as free from chaos as possible, not to mention all of the tempting stuff for curious pets to get into under the tree. Consider how busy you will be and if there are opportunities to create a relaxed home for a new pet, or if you should wait until after the season has passed.
  2. Discuss the new pet with the intended recipient. We know that this kind of spoils the surprise, but it’s imperative that the new pet owner should be comfortable and ready for the responsibility. Make certain this is a part of their plan and they are willing and able to take on a furry loved one. If the pet is for a child, are they able to take on the daily chores of caring for a pet? Who will be responsible for these duties, if not?
  3. Is your choice in a pet based on trend or reality? Many holiday pet gifts are as a result of whatever breed is deemed popular each year. Just because a pet is “OMG adorbs”, it doesn’t mean they are the best fit for your family. Consider some of the following factors when choosing a pet: how much space they need, lifespan, daily care needs, time commitment to training, behavior issues, etc. before saying yes.
  4. Don’t buy a pet as a gift on impulse. It’s exciting to see the perfect pet for someone you love or for the family, but take time to think it through. If you and your family haven’t made a plan together to make the transition with a new pet into the home smooth, this is an important part of a successful adoption. Collectively deciding on the right species, age, size, and demeanor of a pet is crucial, as well as spending time with the possible new adoptee. All family members should meet the pet to see if it is the right fit for all.
  5. Understand that a pet’s for life, not just the holidays. A part of being a responsible pet owner is the commitment to care for a pet, for life. Some pets live 20 years or longer, which is a significant part of your own existence. Remember that the pet is a living, breathing individual who deserves that lifelong dedication required for their health and wellbeing.

If you are considering getting a pet as a gift this Christmas, please take the time to make the decision a lasting one. Being in a shelter or rescue is stressful on a pet, and being returned can have devastating effects. Using time and discernment, as well as a thorough discussion with the recipient, are keys in making a wonderful match.

Please contact us for information, or to schedule an appointment for your new best friend.