Nothing makes a family complete like bringing a new pet home. From days spent playing in the backyard to snuggles on the couch, there are so many sweet memories to be made with a new furry companion.
If you’re considering getting your family a dog or cat, what better time is there to bring that kind of joy into your home than the holidays? But before you get the ultimate Christmas gift, take these steps to make sure you’re fully prepared.
- Decide If Your Family Is Ready for a Dog or Cat
Before you bring a dog or cat home, it’s important to know if now is the right time. Dogs are a decade-long commitment (cats even longer), and agreeing to that level of responsibility is not something your family should take lightly.
Before you adopt, consider your financial situation. The cost to adopt a dog or cat is not a one-time purchase – there will be regular food and toy purchases, training classes, vet exams, and more. Review your budget and decide if you have enough disposable income each month to financially support the addition of a dog or cat.
The amount of time you have to dedicate to a dog or cat is also important to consider. Dogs need daily walks, exercise, training, and playtime. Do your family’s work schedule and lifestyle leave room for a dog? How about a cat?
If not, you may also need to factor in dog walkers, doggy daycare, and private trainers into your pet budget.
- Determine Which Dog or Cat Breed Is the Best Fit
Not every dog breed will be the right fit for your family and lifestyle.
Are you an active family who loves hiking together on the weekends or playing soccer in the backyard? A larger, more energetic breed could make a great hiking buddy, and they’d love all of the exercise. In contrast, if your family prefers a more laid-back lifestyle, a smaller, lower-energy dog could be a better fit.
If you have children, it’s also important to consider breeds or breed mixes that work well with kids. Every dog is unique, and you can’t tell what a dog’s true personality will be based solely on their breed. But it’s good to at least get an idea of what types of dogs will interact the best in your household. Similarly, if you already have other pets in the house, you’ll want to consider dogs that will do well around other animals. Both puppies and adult dogs come with their own benefits, so it ultimately depends on what works best for your family.
As for cats, all cats have common traits, but some breeds have specific qualities that make them more suitable for certain owners.
- Do you want an active cat?
- Does the cat like water?
- Do you want a cat to fit in with your schedule?
- Do you want a long haired cat?
- What about exotic cats?
- Explore Adoption Options
Depending on the type of pet you’re looking for, you have many adoption options available.
- Gather Pet Supplies
Before you bring your dog or cat home, you’ll need to buy all the necessary supplies.
Your dog or cat will need a food and water bowl, as well as plenty of food to get them started. Depending on where you adopt your pet from, they may send you home with food to help make the transition easier, but you’ll want to purchase additional food as well.
Your dog or cat will also need a collar and a leash, as well as a harness.
Treats are also a must before you bring your new dog or cat home. Get a few different varieties of treats so you can learn what he or she likes and doesn’t like – using treats they really love is a great way to reward your dog during training.
Likewise, get a few different styles of toys to try. You’ll also want to get a comfortable bed and a crate, if you plan on crate training.
Lastly, if you’re bringing home a puppy, buying puppy pads to aid in potty training is a great idea.
Is Your Family Ready for a Dog or Cat This Christmas?
Adopting a new dog or cat is a big commitment, but it’s also one of the most fulfilling decisions that you can make. Talk to your family about the added responsibility and financial implications and make sure that everyone is ready and excited.