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Pets as Gifts? What to Think About First

If you're thinking about bringing a pet home for the holidays, here are tips on what to consider—and an alternate suggestion.

The holidays are always a fun time of year at the nearby Escondido Humane Society. Lots of people are coming in to adopt a new pet, which fills us with joy because our greatest hope is that all of our animals will get to spend the holidays in a loving home.

And while we certainly encourage adoptions year-round, there are factors to consider before adding a furry friend to your family during the holidays.

Do your research: Adopting a pet should never be a last-minute idea or impulsive decision. It’s also important to consider the long-term financial commitment you will be making to your pet. But if you and your family have been considering adoption and have done your research about the kind of animal that would be a good fit, then the holidays are a great time to introduce a new furry family member.

Animals as gifts: Here at the Escondido Humane Society, we NEVER adopt out pets as gifts, and I’m sure many other shelters have the same policy. The entire family must meet the animal before adoption to ensure that everyone is compatible. We want every adoption to be a lifelong match, and if the entire family isn’t on board with the decision it could result in the animal being returned—something that is painful for all parties involved. When you visit the shelter, be sure to bring all family members to complete the adoption process (this includes your dogs if you are adding a canine to your family).

Holidays can be a stressful time for everyone: Holidays are a busy, stressful time of year, and introducing a pet into your home could only add to your anxiety. If you are having a house full of friends and relatives over for the holidays, you might want to consider holding off on adoption. Keep in mind, too, that holiday decorations such as poinsettias, lit candles and fragile decorations can be dangerous for pets.

Consider foster care: If you aren’t sure if you are ready to adopt, consider fostering a pet for the holidays. You can make a significant impact in some little (or big) pet’s life by giving them a break from shelter life and the opportunity to be in a loving home to enjoy holiday festivities.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process! Adding a furry friend to your family should be an exciting and joyful time for the entire family—no matter the time of year.

Happy holidays!

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