Forever Homes for the Holidays- Pet Adoption During the Holiday Season

It’s not hard to picture the joy of a warm puppy crawling out from under the Christmas tree with a bow on its head or a tiny new kitten chasing a ball of wrapping paper across your family room floor.  If you are thinking of adding a four-legged friend to your family with the holidays approaching, it is important to know about the commitment and why this could either be the best or worst time to adopt a pet.

With everyone on vacation from school and work, the family has extra time at home to get to know and train the new pet. This eases the transition of adoption. This is especially true in 2020, with more people working or taking classes remotely from home longer during the holiday season.

Adopting a pet saves a life and makes more room at the shelter for an animal in need of a warm bed. The ASPCA highly encourages folks to adopt during the holidays. They conducted research in 2013 supporting that there is no harm in giving an animal has a gift. They found that adopting a pet during the holidays has no negative effect on emotional attachment and 86% of pets adopted during the holidays remain in the home.

On the other hand, depending on your holiday plans, it may not be wise to consider pet adoption in December. It can be a chaotic time of year, so you might be better off adopting after New Year’s. Some shelters believe that animals given as gifts are more likely to be returned. Surprising your loved one with a pet is not a good idea, generally.  There are many factors in selecting a shelter pet and many commitments that accompany a present of this nature. 

Some people travel a lot during the holidays and may not have enough time to bond and train the pet. They might be better off adopting during a less hectic time of year when everyone in the family is home.

Whether or not you should adopt a pet during the holidays is a personal choice. Experts recommend taking into account your family, lifestyle and holiday plans.

If you do adopt around the holidays, please make sure that your holiday plans include plenty of time at home. You want to have ample time to get to know your pet and provide the necessary behavioral training. Also, try to minimize foot traffic in and out of your home. The hustle and bustle of friends and family might be overwhelming for a new pet. Keep the animal’s surroundings as calm and peaceful as possible.

Instead of surprising a family member with a pet, you can give them a card saying you are getting a new dog or cat. This way the whole family can go look for a new animal together. When you go to the shelter, all members of the family can visit with each pet and have input over which animal they think is the best fit for your family.

Please, if the 2020 holiday season is right this year to grow your family with a new four-legged friend, ADOPT a shelter pet whenever possible. Your family might just be what turns around a pet’s 2020, as well.