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Things to consider before adopting a pet for the holidays

The holidays can be a great time to add an animal to your family but only if you have serious conversations first.

TAMPA, Fla. — If you've been on social media at all, you've probably seen one of those "share to spread the word!" posts about animal shelters being overwhelmed after the holidays because so many people buy pets as gifts without having responsible conversations first.

We asked the SPCA of Tampa Bay if there was any truth to that. 

"The holidays can really be a wonderful time to add a pet to the family because families are often together and can have these important conversations," said Martha Boden, CEO of the SPCA of Tampa Bay. 

She says while there are cases of families realizing their new pet isn't a good fit, there's nothing wrong with safely surrendering an animal to a local shelter.

"A lot of times, they find out maybe their new pet doesn't get along with ones that are already at home or it's just not the type of pet your family thought they wanted," Boden said.

There shouldn't be any shame in responsibly bringing a pet to a local shelter to find the best fit for that animal, Boden said.

Before you decide to welcome a new pet into the home, you should sit down with all the members of your household who will share responsibility for caring for the animal. Decide what kind of pet would be best. 

"Do you want something that goes with you everywhere or do you want a pet that's there when we come home. Is it an active pet or a quiet pet? Sometimes people think they want a dog but realize a cat is a better fit," Boden said.

Also consider finances, especially since so many families have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Pets can be expensive. You need to consider the cost of veterinary care, supplies and food, as well as any medical expenses associated with a young animal or a senior animal.

If you want to adopt or donate for the holidays, you can check for information here.

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