Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A surprise kitten or puppy under the Christmas tree may seem like the perfect gift, but this adorable present comes with a lifetime of commitment.

There are a few things to keep in mind before giving a pet as a gift. The Arizona Animal Welfare League, the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in Arizona, has a few things you should consider before you add a new pet to the Christmas list.

Visit the shelter beforehand

Many potential pet adopters are looking for the surprise factor when giving a dog or cat as a present, but you should make sure your entire family agrees before bringing home a new furry friend.

Make it a family affair by bringing your whole family to your local animal shelter and find a pet that everyone loves. Plus, how much better would it be if your new pet was there to celebrate all of the Christmas festivities with you instead of just being the Christmas morning surprise?

Deck the home

Puppies, kittens, cats, and dogs—all require different preparations at home. Does the cat have a scratching post? Does the puppy have a crate to sleep in at night? Have you prepped for any necessary training scenarios? These are all points to consider when adopting your next family member.

Also be sure that your family or family member is ready for the responsibility of a new pet! Taking care of a pet can take up a lot of time, especially if it’s a young puppy or kitten. They require a lot of training and attention to make sure they learn good habits as they grow, so make sure you are ready for the commitment!

Think about their lifestyle

You might be so caught up in the excitement of giving a pet that you forget a few realities. Make sure the person receiving the pet has time to care for a new animal to ease this transition.

A new environment can be stressful for a cat or dog and owners will need to make time to bond and create a loving experience.

Consider a senior pet

While many envision puppies or kittens under the tree, senior pets make great additions to the family too! Senior pets are often already trained, have calmer temperaments, and will be overjoyed to go home with you.

after considering what suits the family best, surprising someone with a pet Christmas morning might not be the best way to go about giving a pet as a gift. For most people, it’s a busy, hectic day, so bringing home a new pet in the midst of all the holiday chaos could create additional anxiety and stress for the animal. Avoid it if you can.

At the Arizona Animal Welfare League, we would love for all homeless pets to have a home for the holidays, but we want to make sure that everyone is committed and loves the pet they are adding to their family.

That’s why we suggest that the recipient be involved in the decision and be the one pick out their new best friend and form that immediate bond with them.