Holiday pet adoption: yellow lab with Santa hat and long haired kitten sit together

Puppies and kittens fill our hearts with joy, but remember they are a lifelong commitment.

We love the idea of a sweet puppy or kitten for Christmas or any holiday.  Those little furry youngsters fill our hearts with such joy.  Why wouldn't we want to spread the joy of a cute little puppy or kitten for the holidays.  Before you go out to find that holiday pet adoption, we have some thoughts for you to consider.

Holiday Pet Adoption: Rescue or Buy?

Consider adopting your next pet.  Many of the shelters run holiday special adoption events to clear out the shelters for the holidays.  This is a good time to bring home a pet who desperately needs a forever home.  One alarming statistic is the large number of purchased pets that are surrendered to shelters or rescues because the surprise holiday gift did not work out in the household.  Remember, whether you are purchasing or adopting a pet for the holiday, they are a big life change.  Know your limits.  If you work a lot, a dog may not be a great idea, but a cat may be great.

Tips for Holiday Pet Adoption

  1. Avoid the rush.  Your new pet, regardless of whether you bought them or went through a rescue, needs your time and attention.   The myth that suggests older pets , specifically dogs and cats,  don't bond or settle into a household is not true.  Adult pets can actually adjust and adapt to a new household sometimes quicker than the youngsters.
  2. Consider the age of the recipient:  Is the new pet for you or someone you know. Elderly people may have difficulty moving around and may do better with a cat.  If you are getting this pet for someone else consider what will be the impact in caring for the animal.
  3. Let the recipient pick out the pet.   Personalities are all so different.  It is exciting to see a human and dog or cat engage one another in friendship.  Make the outing part of the gift.
  4. Don't overstimulate any new pet.  There are so many changes that occur when a pet goes from one place to another.  Allow your pet to adjust to new sights, smells and sounds.  Every household has its own unique living pattern.  Allow your pet time to adapt to all that is new.  Be patient with them.
  5. Puppy and kitten proof your home.  Younger pets do not need to roam the entire household.  Find a safe small room where they can settle in.  Electric wires and chewable items ( shoes, ribbons, clothing, furniture etc) are always a risk so remove anything that may become a chew toy or a foreign body if ingested.
  6. Allergies:  If you or anyone in your household has allergies consider your adoption carefully.
  7. Foster first: Fostering pets gives you the option to love and cuddle a pet without the long-term commitments.  Many rescues/shelters need good foster homes for various reasons.  Fostering a pet may help you decide if adoption is right for you.
  8. Long term costs.  Don't give a pet to someone when it could cause financial strain.  The AKC has some information on how much to expect to spend from puppy to senior citizen.

Remember, a pet is a big decision and not a frivolous holiday gift. If you truly plan on giving the love and attention a pet needs and deserves then check out the many rescue's and SPCA's that have adoption programs in your area.