This time of year, it can be hard to come up with gift ideas for loved ones. A common Christmas wish of many is to bring home a puppy. Dogs can make fantastic gifts but there are important factors to consider before making the commitment.
One of the first things to consider is the effect it would have on your family’s lifestyle. Adding a pet to the family also means adding many challenges and responsibilities. As cute as dogs are, many breeds shed and all dogs can track dirt throughout the house, not to mention the accidents they will have while they are being potty trained. Dogs, especially puppies, will need their own play pen or crate that they can learn and be trained in. Some of these responsibilities will take away freedom that non-pet families would otherwise have. For example, planning a vacation now requires accommodations for your furry friend. If your family is going away for New Year’s, consider waiting to get your new pup until you return from the vacation.
Similarly, the lifestyle change, pets also require a major time commitment. You will have to consider whether you are willing to make sacrifices in your daily schedules to make time for a new dog. Dogs require regular exercise and entertainment – puppies especially for the first 2 or 3 years of their life. When will you be able to walk your pet? Are you willing to wake up earlier in the morning or if you work a full-time job, is it in your budget to hire a dog walker? On top of exercise and entertainment, don’t forget they also need to be trained, which should begin as soon as they are brought home. Family tends to be home more around the holidays, but think about your normal routine once school and work resumes, does it allot time for a new furry friend?
Patience is key when bringing a new pet to the family. If you think that a puppy will be too much to handle with your family’s busy schedule, consider adopting an adult dog. Not nearly as much training will be needed and they will have less energy than a puppy would normally have. Another factor to consider is the breed that you adopt. Do some research on different breeds to find the perfect fit for you and your family.
At the end of the day, your family comes first when deciding to get a new dog. Make sure everyone in your household is prepared and excited to bring a dog into the family, and that includes other pets you already have. Your dog will become part of your family, so it is important that your new friend is coming into a welcoming environment. Consider giving the gift of an adoption certificate as the initial gift and then as a family you can all go to the shelter and pick out a dog together, this way the pet will be the perfect fit for everyone!
The last thing to take into consideration are the expenses and payments that come with bringing a new dog into the family. As lovable as they are, dogs can be expensive! There are food bills, veterinary bills, cost for boarding and pet sitting while you are on vacation, training and dog walkers, etc. Make sure to budget for these expenses and see if it fits into your lifestyle.
Giving the gift of a puppy under the tree can be such a loving present once considering the logistics and responsibility. There is no better gift than the unconditional love and bond from a furry cuddle buddy!