Plan for Success: What to Consider When Adopting a Pet During the Holiday Season

Plan for Success: What to Consider When Adopting a Pet During the Holiday Season

Many people choose to expand their families during the holidays by adopting a pet. And what could be a better gift than providing love, a home, and kindness to a pet in need of a loving family?

But bringing a new pet home can also come with a bit of stress and worry as they adapt to a new environment. There’s no doubt that it takes some time for any new addition to your household to adjust, but planning can reduce the learning curve and set your new pet up for success.

If you’ve decided to adopt a dog, cat, rabbit, or another pet this holiday, we have some suggestions to help you plan.

Planning for the Perfect Pet for Your Family

One question that always comes up when deciding on a new pet is whether to adopt from a shelter or a breeder. Many pet parents choose to adopt from reputable breeders because they want the experience of raising a dog from puppyhood or a kitten. This is choice is personal and important. 

We just hope some readers remember that our local shelters have plenty of loving, deserving pets ready for homes.

The benefits of adopting from a shelter include:

  • Saving a life in need
  • Many shelters offer adoption packages and support
  • Shelters have many puppies and kittens available for adoption
  • Many adult dogs in shelters are housebroken and know some tricks
  • The financial cost of adopting from a shelter goes towards the medical care of other pets and saves more lives
  • If you’re looking for a specific breed, shelters often get pure breeds because of prior owners with allergies or other reasons
  • Shelters offer a wide variety of dogs that you and your family can meet, greet, and get to know before making the huge commitment of bringing a pet home

What to Think About When Planning for a New Pet

Step One: Decide if the Time is Right to Adopt

The holidays are a wonderful time to bring a new pet home, but the holidays also pose some challenges: travel, strangers, and the financial strain of gift buying. Take some time to decide if your family is ready for a new pet. 

When you open your home, you’re opening your heart to a pet in need. Just consider if you’re ready for the expense and time a pet requires. Keep in mind that in addition to adoption fees, pet supplies and veterinary care are ongoing costs.


  • Cats, rabbits, hamsters, and other pets are often less costly than a dog. 
  • All pets require training and attention.
  • Most pets create wear and tear on your home.

Step Two: Create a Pet-Friendly Home

If you decide the time is right to adopt a new pet, you will want to pet-proof and prepare your home. 

Take the time to

  • Explore your home from the point-of-view of a new pet: pick up any wires they may trip on, feel tempted to chew on, or knock over.
  • Keep potential pet-poisons secure in a locked cabinet (cleaners, anti-freeze, and even human foods such as grapes, sugarless gum with Xylitol, or chocolates).
  • If you already have a pet, prepare space and a plan to introduce your pet to the newly adopted one. When it comes to cats, it’s best to keep them in separate rooms for a few days before introducing them.

Pick up necessary supplies

Dogs and Cats Need

  • A bed
  • Toys
  • Food and water bowls
  • Treats
  • Collar with an ID tag, or preferably a microchip
  • Harness (dog)
  • Leash (dog)
  • Brush
  • Pet stain spray
  • Possibly a crate
  • Litter and litter box (cat)
  • Scratching mat and post (cat)

Step Three: Get to Know Your Potential Pet Before Finalizing Adoption

The shelter can be loud and busy this time of year. And this doesn’t bother some pets, but it may make some pets nervous. To give a great pet the opportunity to show you their full personality and how they’ll fit into your family, you can always ask about a trial run before adopting.

Fostering is another way to help a pet come out of their shell and make a difference in a pet’s life. Fostering creates more space in shelters and helps pets adjust to life in a home or recover from medical care. And if you’re unsure of what size dog or age of a cat that will work best in your family, fostering creates the opportunity to experience all types of pets.

Kids benefit from fostering pets as well. Pet ownership teaches responsibility and empathy.

Step Four: Picking Your Pet

People often say their pets choose them. And we agree. When you cross paths with the right pet for you and your family, you’ll know. As cliche as it sounds, you should follow your heart when meeting potential pets. When you find the right one and they find you, you’ll know.

Step Five: Make an Appointment with Us

Of course, we want to meet your new bundle of love! But establishing veterinary care also makes it easy in case of emergency. We can also help you decide on a diet, answer any questions you have about your new pet’s health, and prescribe flea, tick, and heartworm prevention.

While most shelters microchip and neuter pets before they’re adopted, we can help with those, too. Puppies and kittens require rounds of immunizations.

Step Six: Bring Your Pet Home

When you bring your pet home, it’s exciting. But try not to go overboard with inviting people over. Your pet will probably be tired from all the excitement and want to explore their new home at their own pace. 

Give your pet time to settle in and some space to rest and relax.

Happy Holidays!

From our family to yours, we hope your holidays are filled with love, warm memories, and endless joy! Remember that pets make the holidays extra special. If you’re planning to adopt this year, thank you for providing a caring home for a wonderful pet! 

Image credit: Chibimundo | Pixabay

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