What to consider before getting a pet for the holidays

Pets don’t always make great presents! If you’re thinking about adopting an animal this holiday season, read this first.

There’s no greater gift for a rescue animal than your open arms. But if you’re planning to adopt a pet this holiday season, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself before making the commitment.

1. Are you ready to adapt your lifestyle around a new animal?

One issue with a new pet that many people don’t consider is the amount of time and space they require. A cat or dog will need room to run around as well as a designated space for their stuff. If you live in a small home and already have a pet, consider whether you have enough room to add another dog or cat to the mix.

You’ll also need to dedicate a few hours a day to walking, feeding and caring for your pet. The holidays might seem like a good time to get a new animal because you’ll have time off from work – but what will happen in January when your normal schedule resumes? Will you have time to accommodate your new fur babe’s needs? Be realistic when answering this question to ensure you don’t make the wrong decision.

2. Can you afford a pet?

There is also the cost of the pet to consider. Of course, the long-term cost of your new furry friend depends on his species/breed, age and whether or not he has any health problems. It’s typical to spend about $1,000 annually on a cat in its first year, though that cost can vary drastically depending on the feline and your lifestyle. According to Pet Finder, the total first-year cost of owning a dog is $1,270. Make sure you’re financially prepared before bringing a new animal into your life!

3. Are you thinking about long-term care?

Make sure you’re prepared to care for the pet for the rest of his life! Depending on the breed of cat, your feline friend may live as long as twenty years. A dog can live from around eight to thirteen years – once again depending on the breed.

Related: Top 5 holiday safety tips for pets

4. Who will care for the pet when you’re away?

You may have a busy life that involves lots of time at work, travel and social obligations. Generally animals are fine to be left alone for a few hours at a time, but any longer than that and other arrangements will have to be made. Are you prepared to pay a sitter or walker to help out with your pet? Can you take your pet with you to the office or on vacation?

5. What’s your reason for adopting an animal this holiday season?

This is an important question. If you’re only planning to adopt a pet because you know it’ll win you points with your kids on Christmas morning, you might want to rethink your intentions. That said, if you’re fully prepared to care for your pet to the best of your ability, giving a homeless pet a new chance at life is one of the most rewarding things your money can buy!