A dog wearing a Santa hat

Welcoming a new pet into your home at any time of year is exciting, but there is a special magic to adopting a pet during the holidays. So much so, that we can become giddy at the thought of surprising a significant other, a child, or a family member with a new pet. 

Of course, there are some special considerations with holiday pet adoption. For one thing, you don’t want a newly adopted pet to wind up back at the shelter or rehomed after the holidays are over. Even the best laid plans can backfire without some special planning and preparation. 

Keep reading for tips on holiday pet adoption from your team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital

Keep It Real

As natural as it might feel to surprise a loved one with a new pet, tread lightly when considering holiday pet adoption. Pets of every kind take dedication, time, money, and daily responsibility. Even the most dedicated animal lover may not be prepared to take on a new pet on the fly. 

Instead, it is prudent to actually ask the recipient if they want a new pet. Although you may blow the surprise, that might be better than giving an unwanted gift. 

A Home For The Holidays

Each species and breed of pet has special daily care requirements, exercise needs, and tendencies. And every individual pet has his or her own unique personality. It’s important to include the person who will be caring for the pet in the final decision about which pet to bring home.

If the new owner will be a child, the ASPCA recommends that pet ownership wait until a child is 10 -13 years of age before they are ready for the responsibility of a pet. Even then, an adult in the household needs to take primary responsibility. Children will be limited in the responsibility they can take (cannot drive the pet to the veterinarian).

Bringing home a puppy or a kitten is exciting, but baby animals are a lot of work. Consider adding a puppy or a kitten to your household at another time of year when you may have more time to spend with them. Adult pets have fully formed personalities, are often already house trained, and may be more perfectly matched to a household. 

Shelters at the holidays are teeming with wonderful, beautiful, and loving pets that are just waiting for their forever homes. Consider adopting your new pet, not shopping for them. Many purebred pets also end up in shelters or rescue organizations. You’ll literally be saving a life, and the love and devotion you’ll feel from an adopted pet will be priceless.

Wrapping Up Your Gift

If you know your special recipient wants and is ready for a pet, and you’ve decided on the type of pet, you’re ready to prepare your gift. In this day and age, we can all agree that a box with holes is not an option! So consider the following ideas:

  • Wrap up a stuffed animal in the likeness of the species and breed of pet you will be looking for, along with a handmade note to pick a date to visit the local shelter or rescue.
  • Tie up a gift basket with items you’ll need to take care of your new pet: fish tank, collar and leash, food bowl, grooming tools, treats and toys, and a cozy pet bed are all great ideas.
  • A selection of books, magazines, and videos about pet care and personalities can be fun to look at and learn from together.
  • A gift certificate for veterinary care, microchipping, obedience classes, or the like.

Holiday Pet Adoption

The holiday season is often a busy time of year, filled with parties, travel, and visitors. Pets, no matter their age, take time to get acclimated to a new environment and a new routine. The holidays may be a stressful time to take on a new pet, both for you and your new best friend. 

Instead, consider waiting a few weeks until the hustle and bustle has died down, and you can dedicate time and energy to settling a new pet in calmly and slowly. Use some of the great ideas above for how to wrap up excitement while you’re waiting.

If you have any other questions or concerns about holiday pet adoption, please call us