Is Giving A Christmas Puppy A Good Idea?

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Puppy with presents (caption: Is Giving A Christmas Puppy A Good Idea?)

Surprising a loved one with a puppy is a tad overwhelming. Even if the recipient is a dog lover, giving a dog comes with a huge responsibility for the new pet parent, and you need to be sure they are prepared for a lifelong commitment. Read these tips before you get (or give) a puppy this holiday season.

A Word Of Caution: A Puppy Is A Long-term Commitment

Girl and puppy (caption: Am I ready for a dog?)

Before you go and adopt a puppy to give to your loved one, give the reality of this decision a great deal of consideration. A puppy is a living, breathing being that will be with the person for a decade or more beyond this holiday season. Is that something this person is prepared to manage, pay for, and, more importantly, love for the long haul?

Perhaps it would be a better plan to talk to the recipient before you finalize any plans to bring a dog into their life. Make sure it is truly the treasured gift they are hoping to receive.

A Dog Is For Life: Not Just For Christmas (Video)

This ad shows some of the basic responsibilities required with a new puppy (which lasts much longer than your average gift.)

Tips For Giving A Christmas Puppy As A Present

Man carrying a puppy (caption: Bringing Home A New Puppy)

If you have determined a dog is a right fit for the recipient, here are some tips to help you make sure it is the best gift ever.

  • Enlist the advice of a parent, spouse, or best friend to figure out how best to offer this living gift. They may broach the subject with the recipient and get you some valuable inside information.
  • Instead of presenting the puppy right away, another approach is to purchase a crate and fill it with bowls, toys, a leash and collar, training guides, and other essentials. Place all of this under the tree and enjoy the surprise reaction you seek. See how they react to the idea of a pet before you fully commit.
  • If the recipient has a favorite breed, download and present pictures from breed rescues or at Petfinder. Keep local shelters in mind too. Rescue organizations may offer a gift certificate good for adoption if the recipient’s application is approved.
  • Are you considering breeders? Make sure you buy locally and meet at least one of the pup’s parents to avoid mass production or a puppy scam. Get veterinary referrals and check with local animal control and your humane society to sniff out red-flag complaints. Consider adopting a rescue dog.
  • Do a little homework on pet sitting and boarding options, veterinarians, and groomers. Asking local friends for referrals is a great place to start. Having these resources at hand will help the new owner feel like there is a support system. If the holiday spirit really moves you, offer to watch the dog while they are away, but get ready to pay up; the recipient may book a two-week cruise and leave you holding the poop bag.
  • Present the recipient with plenty of information on the best tips to raise a dog. Be sure to show them our guide to bringing a new dog home!
  • Be prepared to accept a polite ‘no, thank you’ from the recipient. Giving them an out relieves them of responsibility that lasts for ten years or more. Instead, offer a donation in their name to their favorite animal charity.

Pet Ownership Requires Commitment, Love, And Money

If this advice sounds like a wet blanket tossed over your gift-giving plans, consider this: thousands of impulsively bought gift puppies will end up in shelters or passed around from home to home. The novelty wears off, and the responsibility becomes all too real. There is also the financial responsibility of keeping a dog healthy and current on its vaccines, so try not to take the responsible decision too personally.

While the recipient will appreciate the thought, the gift of a Christmas puppy may be more of a burden than a delight, and, sadly, the puppy pays the price. If you get a puppy, you might consider getting them pet insurance from an early age as it’s best for their health and your wallet to start them young.

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