10 Reasons to Adopt a Pet After the Holidays

There are many good reasons to adopt an animal any day of the year. But after the holiday season, several factors might boost your odds of finding the animal of your dreams. Here are 10 reasons to adopt a pet after the holidays.

1. There might be more diverse options

If you’re looking for a particular breed, size, age, etc. of a dog or cat to adopt, you might have a better chance of finding it after the holidays. Throughout the season, people sometimes are gifted an animal — especially puppies and kittens — they don’t really want. Or they decide to bring one home because they have more free time and are high on holiday cheer. But once they go back to their regular routines, they realize they can’t (or don’t want to) care for the animal. And that’s their loss because then you can swoop in and find a perfectly healthy, happy animal to make a part of your family.

2. Small animals abound

a brown and a white rabbitCredit: malerapaso/Getty Images

It’s not just dogs and cats who find themselves in animal shelters once the holiday merriment has worn off. Small and exotic animals — birds, rabbits, reptiles, etc. — can sadly become homeless after their novelty fades. (Easter is another time of year when shelters see an uptick in rabbit surrenders.) This especially happens when the animals are given to children as gifts without the family realizing the care they require. But again, their mistake can be your good fortune if you’re looking to adopt one of these animals, as the increase in supply makes it more likely you’ll find your perfect match.

3. You’ll save money

Let’s say you have your heart set on a specific breed. Purchasing that animal from a breeder can cost $500 to $1,000 or more, according to Best Friends Animal Society. But adopting one costs $50 to $200 on average, depending on the rescue group. And after the holidays, there are many impulsively purchased purebreds who find their way to animal shelters because their owners can’t keep them — meaning you get to save a life and score a deal (not that that’s the most important factor in adopting by any means). Plus, you might get even more for your money if you adopt a mixed-breed animal, as they’re less prone to genetic health issues than purebreds.

4. Animal shelters are less busy

Animal shelters typically see a rush before the holidays, as people have time off work and school. Some people might be looking to bring an animal home for the holidays, while others unfortunately are unloading pets before their holiday vacations. Furthermore, shelters often hold holiday events for the community, adding to the busy scene. So you can bet shelter staffers are swamped as they’re working to get everything done. But if you go to adopt after the holiday rush is over, they should have more time to devote to you to match you with your new best friend.

5. Vets are back in town

A veterinarian holds a cat.Credit: FatCamera/Getty Images

Even if your newly adopted animal has already received medical care at the shelter, it’s still ideal to establish them at your veterinarian as soon as possible. Over the holidays, this might be difficult. Many vets go out of town or are booked solid, as clients need their animals vetted before traveling. But after the holiday season wraps, vet schedules usually open up again, so you can get your new animal a clean bill of health right away.

6. You’ll be on a normal schedule

The holidays can be hectic — sporadic hours, late nights out with friends and family and lots of traveling. That’s not really the ideal time to add a new animal to the mix. But if you adopt after the holidays, you’ll already be living by your normal schedule. You probably won’t have a vacation planned, parties to attend or guests in your house. So the new animal can immediately transition to your typical lifestyle, rather than your holiday pace.

7. You’ll be more realistic

Because you’ll be back on your normal schedule after the holidays, you’ll also likely be more realistic about how an animal would fit into your everyday life. Do you really want to walk a dog in the cold and snow every day? Or do you have enough time to entertain a curious kitten? When you’re off school or work for the holidays, it can seem like a piece of cake to add a new pet. But when you’re back to the real world, life might make you remember your limitations — such as why you only can accommodate an older dog versus a puppy with your busy schedule. No matter when you’re adopting, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you truly can handle.

8. It might help with your New Year’s resolutions

A person jogs with their dog.Credit: LightFieldStudios/Getty Images

Getting healthier might be on many people’s minds at the turn of a new year. And a new pet might just help you achieve your health and fitness goals. For instance, Harvard Medical School points out that the unconditional love people receive from their pets offers emotional benefits that can translate into physiological ones — such as lower blood pressure and reduced stress. And according to the Humane Society of the United States, “Caring for a pet can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness.” Plus, the increased activity associated with pets can help some owners with their New Year’s weight loss goals.

9. You’ll set a good example

By making a conscientious decision to adopt an animal — and saying no to picking up a pet on a whim or as an unwanted gift — you’re setting a good example. And you’ll be a part of the fight against pet overpopulation, puppy mills and animal abuse. “Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop supporting them,” HSUS says. “By adopting a pet, you can be certain you aren’t giving them a dime.”

10. It saves a life

Whenever you adopt, you save a life — and you help an animal shelter save more lives. “Not only are you giving more animals a second chance, but the cost of your adoption goes directly towards helping those shelters better care for the animals they take in,” according to HSUS. Every little bit counts to make the world a better place for homeless animals. Plus, you’ll get a new holiday to celebrate out of the deal: your animal’s adoption date.

Main image credit: GeorgePeters/Getty Images


Richard B
Past Member 2 months ago

thank you for sharing

Connie O
Connie O2 months ago

Thank you.

Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jessica C
Jessica C2 months ago

adopt adopt adopt

Glennis W
Glennis Whitney2 months ago

Informative Thank you for caring and sharinmg

Glennis W
Glennis Whitney2 months ago

Thank you for caring and sharinmg

Glennis W
Glennis Whitney2 months ago

Great info Thank you for caring and sharinmg

Glennis W
Glennis Whitney2 months ago

Very interesting Thank you for caring and sharinmg

Pearl W
Pearl W2 months ago

Hi All - Thanks - All very good points to consider - In Australia, just before Xmas, breakfast TV interviewed a rep from RSPCA who stated the number of returned pets (in the last few years after Xmas) was actually in decline - They went on to cover most points covered in this story - Encouraging - smiles

Madison I
Madison Idso2 months ago

If someone is looking to adopt an animal, please adopt a pair. They really need their own species and two is EASIER than one. I had a family of 4 rabbits and they groomed and took care of each other. I didn't feel badly for leaving them alone because I knew they had each other. Do what is best for the animals and the environment.