With the holidays quickly approaching; TV commercials and social media shows wonderful scenes of cute puppies wearing bows underneath the tree as happy tears run down the cheeks of both children and adults. As cute as they may be, these only show part of the story. It doesn’t tell the part when the cute puppy starts messing in the house, chewing off the wonderful bow, and the realities of new responsibility set in.
A new pet can be a truly wonderful gift, but you should consider the pros and cons before you bring home a new pet for the holidays.
Having a dog, or puppy, can be both financially and emotionally costly. Some of the resources needed to care for your new dog include:
Obedience lessons, and then dog sport lessons
Veterinary care that includes vaccines, yearly check-ups, and emergencies
Toys, bedding, food bowls, and other supplies such as leashes and collars
If you work long hours, consider the cost of boarding or pet sitting
The time and energy for house training
The capability to create and maintain a schedule that will suit the needs of the dog.
A new dog or puppy can fill a home with love, happiness, and excitement as well as all the work that will need to be done. If you are thinking about giving a dog/puppy as a gift to a family member or friend that does not live with you, make sure that they want a pet. A few good questions to ask can include:
Does that person really want a dog or puppy?
Can that person take care of a dog for the next 10-15+ years?
Does that person have allergies, specifically to pet dander?
Will that person have the financial resources to properly provide for the new addition?
Are dogs permitted where that person lives?
If it seems as if everyone is in agreement, be sure to do your research on different breeds. Not all dogs/puppies will be perfect for everyone. Be aware that puppies go through many stages as they grow, and have boundless energy.
Bringing home the new dog/puppy requires lots of preparation. Be sure to have the family discussion beforehand to make sure everyone agrees upon care. Children are unreliable, and often the parents become responsible for taking care of the dog/puppy. Be sure to lay out ground rules before bringing home the new addition.
Instead of having a dog with a bow, consider a “Puppy Starter Kit”. You are still letting those know that you are getting a new pet while having the time to discuss the planning and responsibility of it. Your Puppy Starter Kit can include:
Fun toys and treats
Water and food bowls
A pet first aid kit
A stuffed dog
A dog bed
The best way to give the gift of a new dog or puppy is to make sure that it is planned. If your family has been talking about the addition in length for some time, and the adults are prepared to take on the responsibility, then, enjoy! Make sure you have all the supplies and resources well in advance.