Movies portray cuddly puppies with red bows around their neck popping out from Christmas boxes under ornament laden trees. Starry eyed children, or smitten soulmates gaze into the eyes of those pups and think, “ahhh what a perfect present.”
While getting a puppy for Christmas may sound like the perfect gift, it also may be a case where good intentions turn quickly into bad ideas. This is especially true as the magnitude of owning a pet sinks in.
A few hours later reality sets in. Presents are destroyed by chewing teeth. Tree skirts are soiled by poorly timed potty-breaks. And no preparation for a pup was made beyond the surprise. This sort of gift giving can really spring you into the deep end of the pool of pet ownership without the preparation.
We may think someone is ready for a puppy or needs the companionship, but the truth is many people may not be ready for the responsibility and expenses that come along with pet ownership. Many people would much rather pick out their own pets and make sure it fits the characteristics and personality they desire.
The reality of owning a pet is that once the red bow is removed some serious investments must be made not just emotionally but financially as well.
Some Expenses Gift Givers Don't Consider
- Veterinary care and vaccinations
- Preventative medication for flea, tick, and Heartworm
- Food and treats
- Grooming and training expenses
- Bedding, toys, and crates
- Boarding, pet sitters, or dog walkers
Beyond the expense of the dog is also the care giving, the energy, and effort that goes into making a dog a part of your home. Unfortunately, not everyone is well prepared for this. And the most devastating effect of gifting a dog for the holidays is when families decide it was an ill-conceived adventure and give up their pet to a shelter or rescue.
Every year, once the magic of the holidays wears off pets are dropped off at shelters like clockwork. Too many people do not realize the full responsibility of a pet when they decide to gift them. They get caught up in the moment and think the spontaneity of a unique gift is all that matters. The truth is, animals are not toys to be gifted. They are living breathing beings that have a complexity of considerations to weigh before taking them into your home.
Impulsiveness vs Preparation
A dog should never be an impulse buy. Adding a pet to your home should be something that is thoroughly considered from all angles, and each family member’s perspective. Some simple questions to ask of the whole family that will help you determined whether or not you are ready to bring a dog, or any pet for that matter, into your home are:
- Who is going to feed and walk the dog?
- Who is going to clean up after the dog?
- Where is the dog going to sleep?
- With all the family activities, how long will the dog be home alone each day?
- How will you train a dog?
- How much do you think a dog will cost you each year taken into account expenses listed above?
- And does that fit your budget?
- What becomes of the dog as the children get older or you add another child to the family?
- Where will the dog go if you go on vacation or move permanently?
Once all these questions are answered and you’ve figured out how a new dog will fit into your family - not just under the Christmas tree, but for the years to come as an integrated part of your household - then it’s time to go look for your new dog.
Always remember, when you are ready to add a furry family member, adopt don’t shop. It may take longer to find the right dog to add to your family, especially if you work with Lu’s Labs. But in the end, the best gifts are worth waiting for.