Pets make fantastic companions and best friends. Many people, out of the goodness of their hearts, believe pets will also make great holiday gifts for the ones they love. Whether you’re considering a pet for a Christmas gift, birthday present, or any other holiday, our team here at Bayside Animal Hospital is here to provide you with all considerations before adopting a pet as a gift for someone else. 

The Appeal of a Pet as a Gift

cute brown dog in red Santa hat

The holiday season is filled with images of puppies and kittens in stockings, baskets, and as Christmas gifts. This is prevalent due to social media, pet adoptions on the rise due to the pandemic, and families staying home more. Giving a pet as a holiday gift seems delightful. Many shelter and foster pets are in need of forever homes. The holiday season’s joy prompts us to give out of our hearts’ goodness and spread happiness and love, but it can be challenging to predict a pet’s quality of life after the holidays have passed, especially in a home that isn’t our own. 

If you’re thinking of adopting a pet in the future, please do plenty of research and give our “What Cat (or Dog) is Right for You” quiz a try, which will also connect you with local pets for adoption via PetFinder!

Patience is Key with a New Pet

People who have never owned a pet before may not understand how to handle a new cat or dog as they age. The time it takes to adequately train a pet, bond with them, and provide the best care can be consuming. Once pets are no longer tiny, cute, and fluffy, many of them can end up for adoption after an owner discovers they don’t have the resources and time to devote to their new pet. Pets require daily care and attention, and being home often is crucial for the best care and bonding with a new pet. 

All Pets Require Time & Care

blonde girl training small dog patiently with small treats in grass

Children can be incredibly excited about new pets and may have had one on the wishlist for years. Before adopting a new pet as a holiday gift, spend time educating kids and other family members about the actual amount of work involved with having a pet. A pet is a 10-20 year daily commitment, both financially and emotionally. Feeding, walking, exercising, training, and patience are critical elements for raising a happy, healthy, and kind pet. Sadly, many neglected pets end up for adoption months later and have difficulty being adopted because they’re anxious, scared, or mean. 

Educating Kids about New Pets

It’s also important to educate small children about physically handling new pets. The last thing anyone wants is for a pet to lash out at a child or family member because they’re afraid, scared, or in pain. While hugging, tugging, and pulling at pets isn’t meant to be mean or mistreatment, pets don’t understand. They can scratch, bite, or attack out of fear. Education and patience are crucial to success with a new pet. 

Taking Care of a Holiday Pet

brown, white, and black dog with a red blanket draped over his head

When adopting a pet as a gift for someone, ensure they have the means to care for a pet after the holiday season has passed. This includes:

  • Adequate space for a pet, such as a large apartment for a cat–or backyard for a dog
  • Dedicated daily playtime with cats and outdoor activity/walks with dogs
  • Patience and time for training a pet (cats included)
  • Food, toys, and treats
  • Pet beds, blankets, and cozies

Providing Health & Wellness Care for a New Pet

Pets require annual health & wellness care to stay healthy and happy, just like you and me. This includes:

  • Providing adequate food, water, and shelter for a pet
  • Having a warm and cozy space for your pet in the winter and a cool one in the summer
  • Annual veterinary visits for wellness, as well as vaccinations
  • Parasite prevention to prevent illness and disease
  • Dental checkups and cleanings, as needed
  • Pet leashes, collars, and other attire as pets grow
  • Additional veterinary visits if an emergency or health issue arises

A Pet is a Lifetime Commitment

black dog smiling with woman

Providing a pet with a home may seem like the best gift ever. The money, time, and care required to give a pet a good life, however, may be too much for some family members, including small children or relatives who have never had pets before. If a relative has recently lost a beloved pet and is ready for a new furry friend, adopting a holiday pet may be a great solution, as long as you’ve talked the idea through with them first. 

We’re here to answer any questions you may have about new pets, pet health, or adopting a holiday pet. Our team at Bayside Animal Hospital in Kemah, Texas, is AAHA accredited and focused on providing the best local pet care, both during the holidays and all year long.