As people start to think about what to get their loved ones for the holidays, one thing that comes up is a new pet. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube of people being surprised on Christmas morning with new puppies, kittens and other furry friends. If you are thinking about adopting a pet this holiday season, here are some things you should consider.

New Pets Need to Adjust
When an animal is suddenly placed into a new environment, it won’t act like itself. Some pets will be on their best behavior with their new family, almost like they’re polite houseguests. Others may act wild out of fear and anxiety. Whatever the case, know that it will take at least two weeks for a pet to start behaving normally, and at least a couple of months for life with you to become routine.
 
They Might Ruin Your Stuff
Pets don’t understand human objects. They don’t know how expensive your couch is or how much you love those shoes. There is a good chance that a brand new pet may end up destroying your things. Even if this isn’t a habit for them, a new environment and lots of strangers is stressful for them. Chewing on things or clawing rugs and furniture is a common response. Don’t be surprised if your new pet chews up that brand new sweater.

Pets Take Time
The holidays can be a great time to bring home a new pet, since kids are off of school and many adults take time off from work. You’ll have lots of time to spend with your new pet, bonding and getting adjusted. While you’re free, you should start working on training if need be. It’s a time-consuming endeavor trying to train a new pet, especially dogs.
 
Puppies and Kittens are (Usually) More Work
Many people love getting and giving soft, snuggly little puppies and kittens as gifts. They’re so cute and you’ll get to raise them yourselves. However, you should know that baby animals take even more time and care then older ones. Many older dogs in shelters are already housebroken and might even be trained. Older cats may be past the clawing and scratching stage. Puppies need a lot of training, and younger pets have a lot more energy. That means they’ll need even more of your time and attention.

Don’t Make It A Total Surprise
While it might be fun to see someone’s face when they get a furry friend they weren’t anticipating, you want to make sure that they’re ready and willing to do the work needed to take care of that animal. Unless you are ready to take a lot of responsibility for the pet, make sure the recipient is okay with it first.
 
Pets Are Forever
Yes, they are cute sitting in a box with a little bow around their necks. Those “first day” pictures will be adorable. But pets aren’t toys or gadgets you can get rid of when you aren’t interested anymore. If you get a pet over the holidays, know that you are agreeing to take care of this animal for the rest of its life. You can’t just take it back or send it to a shelter when you’re busy or annoyed at them. That’s not fair to the pet you took home and said you loved. Remember that pets aren’t objects—they’re living beings that deserve to be a part of your family forever.

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