dogs people connection adoptionThe holidays may seem like the perfect time to bring a new pet into the home. And, adopting a pet can give you an extra ‘feel good’ boost knowing you are helping save the lives of shelter animals. However, the holiday season can also bring some challenges when choosing a new pet family member that go beyond giving a pet as a gift.

Avoiding the Rush

For some pet owners, the warmth and tradition of the holidays can inspire them to add another pet to the family. It may even be a way of doing something charitable and meaningful with children, when adopting a loveable new friend.

Unfortunately, when your motivation is partly due to one day on the calendar, there can be a sense of urgency. You may have less time to really discern some of the important factors to consider when selecting a shelter pet.

Keeping in mind this is a lifetime decision, avoid the pressure to be impetuous with the life of a pet and allow time for consideration.

New Pets Need Your Time

Think about it: what time of year do you feel most frazzled? Chances are, you would say November – December.

New pets require training, socialization, and a lot of help to get used to a new home and family. If you adopt a pet, he or she will need a physical examination, vaccines, and boosters, which require more time spent at the veterinary.

It’s also likely the transition will be made harder if a pet experiences the anxiety or stress of the busy season, or the commotion of upcoming gatherings.

Since a new best four-legged pal will need your time and attention, consider whether this is the right time for you and your potential pet.

Adopting a Pet vs. Buying

Beginning in November, there is also a strong push to sell pets as Christmas and other holiday gifts. You may notice that the windows of any pet store are fully stocked with puppies, kittens, birds, and other purchasable purebreds and exotic animals. You may notice this trend in the local Craigslist pet ads, too.

Sadly, pets for purchase often come from unethical breeders who treat animals as cash flow. Puppy mills and other breeding operations create abhorrent conditions for the animals forced to exist in squalor or austere cages.

And, ironically, many of these pets go on to shelters after their initial cuteness fades or puppy/kitten stage has run its course.

If possible, look at your adoption options first, before buying an animal. If you do choose to purchase a purebred or exotic species, be certain you are dealing with a reputable, responsible breeder by doing your research and checking references.

A Final Gift Giving Caveat

Pets are amazing. They fill our homes and hearts with warmth, laughter, and affection, so it is no wonder why it might occur to us to give a pet as a present.

There are some situations in which this is a responsible choice, such as with a spouse who has agreed to the “surprise” and has researched the pet that best fits the family. But, to give a pet randomly to someone can pose dangers to the animal. Unprepared children or individuals who haven’t considered the commitment can result in a pet being dumped at a shelter.

Adoption is a wonderful choice and can provide a lifelong home for a deserving fur friend. And, when the choice is made responsibly, the bond between adopted pet and pet guardian can provide one of the greatest gifts of all.

For more questions on adopting a pet, please call The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center.