There’s no greater gift a shelter pet can receive than a loving family. And the thought of bringing home a new pet for the holidays can make us almost giddy with excitement! But  without proper planning, surprising our significant other, child, or other loved one with a new pet may backfire. 

Holiday pet adoption can be successful if preparation and planning are undertaken first. Our tips can help to make sure your new pet’s home is a forever home. 

First Things First

When thinking of gifts, it’s often our natural tendency to want to deliver a surprise. But it may be prudent to ask the recipient if they actually want a pet. Pets of all kinds take dedication, time, and money to properly care for. Even the most ardent animal lover may not be prepared to take on the responsibility of a new pet. Sure, you may blow the surprise. But that may be better than giving an unwanted gift. 

Holiday Pet Adoption

Pet ownership is a very personal process. Each individual pet has its own personality and behavioral tendencies. Try to include the person who will be taking care of the pet in the selection of which pet to bring home. 

Getting a puppy or a kitten. While a new puppy or kitten may be exciting, baby animals are a lot of work. It may be better to wait until you have more time (such as after the holidays) before bringing a new puppy or kitten into your home. Alternatively, adult pets have fully formed personalities, are usually house trained, and may be easier to match to your household than a puppy or kitten. 

Shelters are teeming with loving, beautiful pets who all need loving homes. Many purebred animals also find their way into shelters and rescues. Consider adopting from a shelter instead of shopping for a pet. You’ll literally save a life, and the love and devotion you’ll feel from a rescued pet will be unmatched. 

If the new owner will be a child, it’s important to know that the ASPCA recommends waiting until age 10-13 before children are ready for the responsibility of a pet. And, an adult in the household still needs to take full responsibility, as children can not be expected to do all the things a pet will need (driving to the veterinarian, for example). 

The Next Step

If you know that your recipient is ready for a pet, and you have decided with your family what the right kind of pet will be, you’re ready for the fun part! We can all agree that a box with holes under the tree is not a good idea. Instead, consider the following ways to gift a pet: 

  • Wrap up a stuffed animal in the likeness of your new pet, and include a hand made card with a date to visit the shelter or rescue to pick out your pet.
  • Tie up a gift basket with supplies and tools you’ll need to care for your new pet: a fish tank, a collar and leash, grooming essentials, a pet bed, and treats and toys, to name a few.
  • Create a learning library of books, magazines, and videos about caring for your new pet.

If you have any questions about holiday pet adoption, please reach out to our team at Highway Veterinary Hospital. We are here to help!