Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Why A Puppy Can Be The Worst Holiday Gift

It's that time of year again, the holidays are upon us!  At this time of year we give careful consideration about what gifts to give the people we love.  We rack our brains trying to decide on that perfect gift, a special gift, one that demonstrates how much we love them.
A puppy or dog may not be the best holiday gift! 
This holiday season many peoples' thoughts will turn to giving the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.  The one that can actually love you back - that's right, a puppy!   Before you say "Yeah, that's it I'll get the person I love a puppy for Christmas!"  HOLD UP!  Sure, it sounds like a great idea, it's the gift that keeps on giving... but have you put enough thought into whether or not a puppy might give a little too much?  Will a puppy take more than the recipient is able to give back ?

Everywhere you look they're tugging at our heartstrings!  Puppy stores are full at Christmastime, online ads for puppies kick into high gear all through the holidays.  Even at animal shelters people are often there to adopt a puppy or a dog for someone else.  It seems like the perfect gift idea, you're so sure it's the right gift for that special someone. It will bring them so much joy, right?  Probably, but it will also bring huge responsibilities and future costs to the recipient!  


There's a lot to consider before you bring a puppy or a dog into a home.  Even if someone constantly talks about how much they want a puppy and it sounds like they're on the verge of getting one, they may not be prepared for the responsibility at this time in their lives.  So before you decide that a puppy is the perfect gift for someone else, be sure their lifestyle will support the lifelong commitment of owning a dog. 


> If the person you are giving a puppy to travels frequently it may be an issue.  You need to spend time with a new puppy!  They have to bond with their new owner and family, they need to get to know each other and the pup needs training.  Who will care for the dog while they are at work or traveling?


> If the they live in an apartment complex or a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association there may be restrictions on the breed or size of dog they can have.


> If the person lives with someone else such as a roommate or their parents those folks must all be consulted before bringing a new pet into the home.  

> Are there other animals living in the home already?  If so, that is a big consideration, you don't want to upset the dynamic of the home.  A new pup has to be a good fit for existing pets and must be properly introduced to resident pets when you bring him home.


> Assess the ability to afford ongoing costs of pet ownership, especially vet bills every year; annual vaccinations, checkups, and visits to the vet for occasional illness or injury.  What if they need to spay or neuter the dog themselves?  That can be a significant expense.  Are you willing to pick up the tab for that?  

> Training for both a puppy and an older dog are important.  Including a gift card towards training is an excellent addition to your gift of a puppy or dog!

> Make sure  no one in the household is allergic to dogs!  Even the so called "hypo-allergenic" dogs can be an issue.  There really is no such thing as a totally hypo-allergenic dog.  Many breeds have hair rather than fur which is helpful, but some people are still allergic to them.

> Everyone in the household should be on board with adding a new pet and responsibilities for pet care should be clear and realistic.  If the recipient is your own child, make sure responsibilities of caring for the puppy are well thought out and that it’s the right time to add a pet to your family.  Caring for a pet is a great learning experience but don't expect a 7 year old to walk and feed a dog on a daily basis!


Although it sounds magical, I'm not a fan of surprising someone with a puppy or dog as a gift. A dog is a living being that will require lifelong care.  Bringing a dog into your home is not something to be taken lightly.  

Once you've gone through the above considerations and you're reasonably sure a canine companion would be the right gift, help them make the right decision about what dog to get.  It will be just as wonderful a surprise to thoughtfully gift wrap a stuffed animal dog, an animal shelter gift card, a photo of a cute puppy, or even just a leash.  Watch their eyes fly open wide as you tell them that right after Christmas you’ll be taking a trip together to pick out a dog! 

Spend a cozy evening together with a hot cup of cocoa deciding whether to get a puppy or an older dog, and what type of dog would best fit their lifestyle.  


Their excitement will continue to build as they prepare to add a new furry member to their family.  Make an adventure out of searching for just the right puppy or dog together.  The time you spend searching for their new best friend together will be a gift in itself and a treasured memory
!



Please Adopt rather than Shop if at all possible, or select a dog from a reputable breeder.  Avoid online ads for puppies and do some research to help ensure your puppy isn't from a Puppy Mill!

This post contains an affiliate link(s)

Did you know that there are breed specific rescue organizations for just about every breed of dog out there?  What better holiday gift than not only giving a dog as a gift, but saving a life in the process!

Have you ever given or received a puppy or dog as a gift?  Leave us a comment and share your experience and advice!


PetSmart

44 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you that giving animals as gifts is a bad idea. I got my cat for my birthday but I did it myself and knew what I was getting into.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, Lauren. That's the way to do it, the recipient should be involved or at least prepared to accept a pet as a gift.

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  2. Bentley was a friend's 50th surprise birthday present. Their dog had recently passed and he thought a Basset Hound puppy would be a wonderful surprise. They weren't ready It turned out to be a blessing for us. I had carried him around the entire party so he offered him to us. They had named him "Bullet" LOL! I'd never surprise someone with a puppy or kitten.

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    1. WOW, what a great story, thanks for sharing it! It isn't a good idea to spring a pet on someone else as a surprise. It often ends badly.

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  3. I just got a puppy as an early Xmas gift the other day. I was talking about getting one, but wanted to be prepared first. It's a big responsibly and I feel unprepared. Guess I have to learn quick now and I have an 8 year old doggy that seems bothered by the puppy. Do you have any blog post about helping them bond? The older one I trained myself. I just never had two dogs. Great post. I was telling my readers the other day not to give puppies as Xmas gifts. They're cute yes, but it should be the person's choice when they are ready.

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    1. Oh Lord. Thank you so much for sharing this, I think it will really help people to read your experience. There are lots of good articles out there. Start with pets.webmd and Dogster, they both have great articles on bringing home new pups & introducing a new pet. Also check out The Dog Training Lady, blogger Suzanne Dean. There are many others too! A puppy and an 8 yr. old, that's hard! Good luck, I hope these two end up friends. Try to give the older dog his own space somewhere, like his own crate, so he can get away from the puppy when needed.

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    2. Thanks for the links Cathy. I will check them out. I actually do keep them separate and schedule playtime in the morning and late afternoon together. I stop playtime when I want to and not when they decided they played enough. Then it's almost like they started missing eachother. Now they are like besties. Only after 2 weeks! The big one licks the small one, and I know thats how he shows affection because he licks me when he wants to show me he missed me. I let him lick my hands then i can just wash them again lol. I don't trust them alone yet. I supervise all interactions. Just until puppy is a little bigger. But I'm happy they are getting along well. :-)

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    3. That's fabulous! I'm so happy to hear that they're making such great progress and keeping each other company. It's so wonderful when two pets start falling in Love, isn't it? Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

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  4. Ironically, I just posted about adopting a dog for the holidays. I think your assessment about gifting a dog are spot on. Unless a person has specifically said that they want a pet, I don't think it is a good idea to surprise them with one. Personally, I'm in favor of giving them the supplies and taking them to the shelter to pick out the dog that is perfect for them.

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    1. Yes, giving them supplies or training as the gift and helping them select a pet from a shelter or rescue is the ideal way to do it. Only after assessing that they can properly handle the responsibility and they're ready. Lots of people talk about wanting a dog but when it comes down to it, it's just talk. They're not really ready for it.

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  5. Great advice - it's so important to think twice and absolutely make sure that a kitten or puppy for Christmas is the right gift for the intended recipient.

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    1. Definitely, the surprise element is not a good idea.

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  6. I think that every person should select their own pup when they are ready to. Maybe paying FOR the adoption fee, or some food supply, toys, etc is a better idea but GIVING a pup means that person did not have the chance to meet their new pet, bond with it, nor did the pup "choose them".
    I agree with your post 100% when it comes to giving a pet for the holidays.

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    1. Great point! A person should ideally meet the pet that will be their new BFF for the life of that pet. Paying for the adoption costs, initial medical costs, microchipping, training & supplies are the very best gift you can give because it helps make their dream of pet ownership a reality!

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  7. I personally feel that a person must choose their pet and not give a pet as a gift, you can never know if they will bond or not - and I agree adopt don't shop

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    1. So true! It is possible that a person may not bond with the individual pet you give them. Just because they were dying for a Husky doesn't mean they will love the Husky pup YOU pick out for them. Picking the pet & getting that we rescued each other feeling is the best! Why deprive someone of that?

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  8. Mostly people aren't thinking about any of your sensible ideas. Buying a puppy is a catastrophe for any person not expecting it!

    The Dash Kitten Crew.

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    1. I know right!? They just don't think beyond the cuteness! Springing a puppy, or any pet, really can be a catastrophe for someone who isn't prepared for it.

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  9. I absolutely agree. Plus, I think it is important for people to pick out their own animals because I do think the right animal finds you at the right time.

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    1. True! When you and your pet choose each other, it's magic!

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  10. Seriously. Pets are not gifts. If someone wants to gift a pet, just offer to help support that pet, not pick one out. Thanks for the blog.

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    1. I fully agree, a pet is a living breathing being not a sweater! Paying for some upfront costs is much smarter than surprising someone with a pet they may not be ready for.

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  11. You know how much I love "adopt-don't-shop"! I read an interesting report from the ASPCA about gift giving pets at the holidays. They ran a study expecting to find a really high return rate but, surprisingly found that pets received as gifts are no more likely to be returned to the shelter than any other adopted pets. That being said, I love your suggestions for what to take into account before gifting a surprise pet. Great post!

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    1. I'm thinking the ASPCA didn't see the numbers because they're not reported anywhere. I can tell you from my experience as an animal shelter adoption counselor that many unexpected pets get surrendered to shelters. They may be pets bought at a puppy store, pets obtained online, or adopted pets but within a year many do get surrendered or given away to someone else who can take care of them. I hear that story time & time again, believe me, a surprise pet is almost never a good idea.

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  12. Thank you for such an excellent article! Sharing this everywhere!

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    1. Thanks Dorothy! As we both know, Huskies get surrendered a lot. The breed is not for everyone and if you're unprepared for the high energy level and demands of a Husky it can overwhelm you! Thanks so much for sharing, much appreciated, let's get the word out!

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  13. My sister received my dog Gracie as a gift. She was totally unprepared for a husky puppy, so I ended up getting her instead!

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    1. Oh Yikes!! A Husky of all things, LOL! I'm laughing because I know how super high energy my girl Icy was as a puppy, how much they SHED, and how demanding they can be if you're not careful. We fully researched the breed before bringing Icy home so we were well prepared. But still it was a ton of work! Still is sometimes! I'm so glad you were able to step in and give Gracie such a good home.

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  14. I am all in favour of rescue pets getting homes for the holidays but no surprise gifts. It is so important to do research and find the right match. Great points to consider.

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    1. You are Spot On with that! Adopting a pet for the holidays is great but NOT as a surprise gift. A live animal is one gift that should not be a surprise!

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  15. Mr. N was technically an anniversary present but we talked about it beforehand and picked him out together.

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    1. That's perfect! You were well prepared, that's the most important thing. Icy was actually our Christmas gift to each other, we call her our "Christmas Dog" but we did all the research and were well prepared.

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  16. Yes, yes, and yes! I agree with everything you have to say here. Each person/family has to decide for themselves whether or not they are ready to have a pet. They will do it when they are ready! It is so important to consider the impact on your lifestyle when you choose to adopt too.
    -Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

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    1. Thank you for the support, Robin! The impact on your lifestyle is so important, the person receiving the pet as a gift has to be very ready and informed.

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  17. You make some excellent points about why a decision like a new pet needs to be thought out and planned for. A holiday gift isn't the place for living & breathing critter unless EVERYONE and EVERYTHING has been planned for and taken into consideration.

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    1. Absolutely Bryn! Everyone and Everything has to be planned and considered.

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  18. These are all great things to consider! It definitely depends on the person and the situation.

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    1. Yes, it does depend on the person and their lifestyle. Lots to be considered before bringing a pet into a home.

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  19. Earlier in a group I saw someone say "I want to get my child a puppy for Christmas. Where can I buy one?" It broke my heart on SO many levels. It's amazing how uneducated people are, but it's up to us to spread the word.

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    1. Ugh, so many people want to "buy" a pet. You might want to point out to the mom that there are breed specific rescues for nearly every breed of dog. She can look there first. I didn't know that so many puppy stores got their puppies from puppy mills either until I started volunteering at the shelter and getting into the animal welfare world. You're so right, we need to keep spreading the word!

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  20. You know, I was watching a Hallmark movie this weekend. At the end, the couple surprised the daughter with a puppy. A Jack Russell and the kid was overwhelmed in her face. And to show people that this is what they should do is so sad.

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    1. At least they didn't surprise someone else's kid with a puppy, that would be far worse! They should have shown them surprising the daughter with a stuffed dog, but then taking her to a shelter, rescue, or responsible breeder and let her find a love connection with a puppy. Some of these movies make me so mad, but the worst is when they show supposedly "heartwarming" moments when two dogs unexpectedly have a litter of puppies at the end. It's supposed to be this "Awwww, so that's why he disappears very night!" moment, but it's nothing short of irresponsible - like both neighbors didn't spay their dogs!? Ugh.

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  21. I don't agree with people buying pets for Christmas but I think adopting from a shelter is a great idea

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    1. Yes, adopting from a shelter is definitely a great idea any time of year, as long as the person or family is prepared to bring a dog into their home. It's a lifelong commitment. A pet is definitely NOT a good surprise gift!

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