Dog Articles - Surprise Pets Don’t Make Great Gifts

Surprise Pets Don’t Make Great Gifts

The holidays are rapidly approaching. In fact, it seems that the holiday hubbub is starting sooner than ever this year. Around this time, thoughts turn toward the joy of gift giving and the fun of picking out the perfect surprise gifts. Unfortunately, far too many people think that the perfect gift idea is a cute, fuzzy puppy. Giving a puppy as a gift is just not a good idea, unless you discuss the matter with the new owner ahead of time and you absolutely know that they want and are prepared for a dog, and know what breed they are looking for.

A new puppy is a huge responsibility. They require constant surveillance, care, and love. When giving a puppy, one has no way to climb inside the mind of the person receiving the gift to know for sure whether or not they are prepared for that responsibility. 

The gift of a puppy is not a short-term gift. Giving a puppy commits the person receiving the animal to the care of that creature for the next 10 to maybe even 20 years.

Choosing the right breed requires a great amount of research and careful consideration. One who lives outside the home (let alone the mind) of another cannot make the right breed choice for them. Furthermore, if you are way off on the right breed for the one to whom you are giving a puppy, it might result in more than just an unhappy home and an unbalanced dog, it might even result in the euthanasia of the dog.

The First Meeting/Energy Levels
Giving a dog as a gift deprives the future owner of the pleasure and experience of the first meeting with the dog to establish whether or not their energy levels are a match. A prospective dog owner should meet several dogs before he or she makes a decision. A mismatch in energy level leads to unhappy dog and owner. 

The gift of a puppy allows the new owner to skip the financial burden of purchasing a puppy, possibly of purchasing toys, a crate, and a leash and collar, and maybe even of neutering and the first round of shots (if the giver is extremely generous). However, the new owner will still have to pay to keep the dog fed every day, to get the dog regular vet check-ups, booster shots, and vet care in the event of health problems or accidents.

Dog = Lifestyle Decision
When one chooses to get a dog, they are also making the decision to embark on a major lifestyle change. Having a dog is much like having a child. They require daily care, walks, attention, and affection. It is best that one maintain a consistent schedule and has time to dedicate to care and training. You cannot make this decision for someone else. 

Puppy Proofing
Surprising someone with the gift of a puppy is also making the assumption that their home is prepared for the presence of a puppy. Even if you are prepared to provide all the necessary supplies (crate, leash, collar, bowls, treats, food, etc.) you cannot ensure that their home is puppy-safe or that they will have the time to puppy proof their home around the holidays.

Other Pets
The surprise of a puppy gift does not allow for the meeting of the new puppy and any other pets in the home. Present pets must get along with new pets in order to create a balanced home. Animals already in the home should absolutely meet a prospective new puppy before a final decision is made.

Holiday Frenzy
The chaos and excitement of the holiday season is the wrong time to introduce a new puppy into the home. The most important things when training a puppy are consistency and routine. It is almost impossible to maintain these things this time of year due to the hectic nature of the holiday season, especially when one is not expecting the new addition.

Holiday Safety Hazards
Puppies explore the world with their mouths, so they tend to get into all kinds of things they shouldn’t. During the holidays, there are always a lot more things for a curious puppy to get into. 

Cold Weather and Potty Training
Potty training is, to most new puppy owners, the most difficult and life disrupting aspect of new puppy ownership. Placing this burden on a person or family during the hectic holidays, and the coldest time of year, is not a gift at all.

Pets Aren’t Playthings
Children associate Christmas presents with toys and excitement. It is not a good idea to introduce a puppy in the same way because the child will often think of the puppy like a new toy. New puppies should be given to children in a calm setting after rules, boundaries, and responsibilities have been established—not as a fun surprise.

If you must get your kids a pup for Christmas, try some of these ideas:

For older kids, try a gift certificate to a shelter so they can pick out a dog they want. (After you have a talk about responsibilities associated with pet ownership)

Stuffed puppy under the tree with an IOU as a dog tag explaining that it is time for the family to discuss what kind of dog and who will be in charge of which responsibilities. 

A Puppy Pack under the tree will show the kids that after the holiday craziness settles down, a puppy is on the way. A book about dogs can hint kids to the fact that a dog is coming soon, and encourage them to read up on the subject before the dog is a reality in the home.

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