What to Consider Before Getting a Pet for the Holidays

Getting a pet for Christmas requires responsible pet ownership considerations

The holidays are right around the corner, and, if you have younger family members who want a pet, you’re likely hearing those pleas ramp up as December approaches. While getting a pet for the holidays may seem like a wonderful idea, it’s important to remember the decision to adopt a pet will affect everyone’s lives for years to come.

Let the team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates help you determine whether getting a pet is the right decision for you and your family.    

Before Getting a Pet, Consider This:

  1. Do I have the time? Having a pet means dedicating a good portion of your free time to pet care (walks, training, playing, grooming, etc.). Even seemingly self-sufficient pets, such as cats, require a lot more daily care than most people realize.
  2. Can I afford it? According to the ASPCA, the average pet owner spends $1,800 per year on pet care. The costs of food, veterinary care, toys, grooming, and training/boarding (when applicable) can add up quickly and should be budgeted for prior to getting a pet. Buying pet health insurance or setting aside a small amount of money each month can also help ease the burden should a medical emergency arise.
  3. Can I commit? Significant advances in veterinary medicine and nutrition means that pets are living longer than ever before. Owning a pet is likely to be a 10-15 year commitment (sometimes longer).
  4. Is my family’s lifestyle conducive to owning a pet? If you’re frequently out of town or most of your family members are away from home all day long and during the evenings, you may want to reconsider getting a pet. Animals that are left alone too often can become destructive, stressed, or depressed, resulting in behavioral problems that can put an even bigger time constraint on a family.
  5. Are pets allowed? Many rental properties and subdivisions have strict or conditional policies regarding pets. Make sure you understand the rules where you live before taking the plunge.
  6. How much responsibility will the kids have? Teaching children age-appropriate pet care duties is encouraged and can help promote empathy and responsibility. Keep in mind, however, that the ultimate responsibility for a pet’s health and well being will fall to the adults of the household.
  7. What type of pet should we adopt? Lifespan, time commitment, allergies, available space, existing pets, and the age of your children should all play a role when deciding on what type of pet to bring into your home.
  8. Who will take care of the pet when we’re away? Even if you’re rarely out of town, it’s important to have a plan in place for your pet should the need arise. Talk with family, friends, or neighbors, and research boarding facilities ahead of time.
  9. Where should we get our pet? Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization not only saves a life, it also frees up space and resources for other homeless animals. If you decide to purchase from a breeder, be sure to look for a reputable one, and stay away from pet stores that may purchase animals from puppy or kitten mills.

At Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, we welcome any questions or concerns you might have regarding responsible pet ownership and care. We look forward to meeting your new addition!