Santa Paws: Pet gift-giving do’s and don’ts

Holidays are just around the corner and you don't want to forget your pets.

Dogs can make you healthier, happier, and even keep you safe. Two out of every three American homes have a pet. That number significantly increased during the pandemic.

And now that Christmas is around the corner, there may be another rush to add a fluffy or fido to the family. But there are a few things you should think about before gifting a pet this season.

After the holidays, local shelters see a spike in incoming dogs, even well into March.

“For us, it tends to be puppies. They get returned within usually 36-48 hours. People get a puppy at home and they’re like holy schnikies this is a lot of work,” said Steve Bardy, the Executive Director of Pet Alliance.

Know which dog would fit into the person’s lifestyle. There are several breed match quizzes you can take online.

“A lot of it is all about your preparation in advance,” explains Bardy.

Another important consideration: cost. Can the person afford food, supplies, and health care?

What is their interest level? Have they been talking about owning a dog for weeks or years? The answer is critical.

Who will be the main caregiver? Also, does a dog fit into their lifestyle? Do they travel too much? Do they have someone who can watch the dog for them?

“We ask a lot of questions around lifestyle because that’s ultimately what somebody needs to understand when they are bringing this roughly 15-year commitment into their lives,” Bardy said.

Just a few things to think about before Santa comes to town.

Waiting until after the holidays to adopt a pet can help relieve shelters of the new adoptees and give you more time to consider which pet is right for you. Volunteering at your local shelter could also be helpful when debating if you’re ready to commit to a new pet. Find out what shelters are near you by visiting