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As your family gathers together for the holidays, is there a lonely spot on the couch? Perhaps you’ve been considering adding a new pet to your home and are thinking about adopting one for the holidays? 

There are certainly some wonderful things about adopting a new pet for the holidays but we do not recommend giving pets as gifts. Based on a new ASPCA study, 86% of pets given as gifts are still in the home which is wonderful to hear but still, one has to wonder about the other 14% of pets that were returned, re-homed, or abandoned.

There is a lot to consider before bringing home a new pet for the holidays. 

I’ll Be Home For Christmas?

Surprising a loved one with a new pet may seem like the perfect gift, but it’s important to remember that pets of every kind require time, money, and commitment. Even the most dedicated animal lover may not be prepared to take on the responsibility of a new pet without some warning. 

Instead, ask the recipient if they want a new pet. Although you may blow the surprise, that will be better than giving an unwanted gift. 

Oh Holiday Stress, Oh Holiday Stress

One thing to consider when thinking about getting a new pet for the holidays is what a hectic time of year it can be. It’s easy to find our time cut short and our nerves frayed by the sheer number of things to get done before the holidays arrive. Adding a new pet to that mix is a surefire way to increase stress and anxiety – for pets and people alike. 

Instead, you might consider wrapping up an adoption box with a stuffed animal likeness of the pet you want to adopt, a pet bed or home, or special supplies like grooming tools, food and water dishes, or toys. You could even include a gift certificate to go to the shelter together to pick out the perfect pet, once the holidays are over and the hustle and bustle has died down. 

Shelter All The Way

Although shopping is synonymous with the season, we encourage you to consider pet adoption. Animal shelters and rescue organizations are teeming with loving, beautiful pets that are just waiting to find their fur-ever homes. 

Purebred dogs and cats end up in shelters too, and shelter workers know each pet well – making it easy for them to pair you with the perfect pet for your lifestyle and desires. The biggest benefit: you’ll be saving a life, and the gratitude you’ll feel from your new pet friend will be unmatched. 

Let It Go

Pet ownership is personal, so it’s important to involve the person who will be caring for the pet in the final decision of which pet to bring home. Each pet has specific daily care requirements, exercise needs, behaviors, and every pet has a unique personality! 

If the new owner will be a child, the ASPCA recommends waiting until children are 10-13 years of age before they are ready for the responsibility of caring for a pet. Even then, an adult in the household is ultimately responsible for the pet’s well being. 

Puppies and kittens have long been popular as holiday gifts, but baby animals take extra time and attention. Adult pets have fully formed personalities, are likely house trained, and may be more perfectly matched to many households. 

If you have concerns or questions about adopting a new pet for the holidays, please contact us. Your team at Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center is here to help!