Every furry friend deserves a home of their own for the holidays, but expanding the family is a big decision! Here are the top five things to consider before searching for your new addition:

Furry Friends are Living Beings, Not Gifts

Being given as a “surprise” to squealing, excited children is traumatic and scary for new family members. Instead, involve children in the whole adoption process, and consider bringing your new pet home after the holiday hustle. Just like counting down the days until Santa’s arrival, it will make the moment even more magical!

Make a Long-Term Plan

Puppies and kittens are ten-to-twenty-year commitments. When your tween goes off to college, will they need a cat-friendly apartment? What happens if a member of the household develops allergies? These are all things to plan for before beginning your search.

Consider a Rescue

Your perfect match could be waiting for you at the shelter. Consider too, that an older cat or dog may provide a more predictable option for your family, as they’ve already grown into their size and temperament.

Choosing a Reputable Breeder

In the age of technology, finding your dream breed is just a click away. Unfortunately, many “breeders” are in the business for the wrong reasons. A reputable dog breeder will:

  • Meet a code of ethics set by your national/regional breed club or kennel club
  • Be proud to show their home, kennel, pups, and all doggy parents
  • Provide pedigree papers, medical histories, vaccinations, and deworming before the pups go home
  • Practice responsible mating, considering genetic predispositions and screening for breed problems when appropriate
  • Treat the process like an adoption application, not a sale (avoid parking lot transactions)
  • Be able to provide references and answer any questions about their dogs’ breed, lineages, etc.
  • Provide lifelong support and follow-up after adoption


The first year of a pet’s life is often the most expensive. When setting your Christmas budget, also consider the ongoing costs of medical care, training, pet insurance, food, pet sitting, and emergencies.

As you search, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinary team for guidance. Their experience can help you make the best choices for your family, so that all members (whether furry or human) can have a very happy holiday season this year…and for many years to come!

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com.  Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.