Raise your hand if you want to wake up on Christmas morning and see a puppy under your tree. Few things could make Christmas jollier and brighter than an adorable, soft, delightfully squirmy little pup. . . that is, other than the sight of your kids’ faces when they spot the little button. Yes, it’s a fact: puppies make people happy! So, it’s no wonder that so many people jump at the thought of giving one as a holiday present, to friends, to significant others, to their kids.
But, here’s the thing. Those pups are just as much responsibility as they are cute. And the responsibility of caring for a new pet lasts long after you’ve put away the last of the holiday décor. When the magic of the holidays subsides, will you still be ready to be a pet parent? Here are considerations to chew on before bringing home a puppy this Christmas.
Who Are You Giving The Dog To? Are They Prepared?
Giving gifts is boatloads of fun, but when you give the gift of a pet, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Vet check-ups. Walks. Giving medications. Feeding. If you’re not gifting the dog to your kids and taking it into your own family, don’t make any assumptions about your gift recipient’s ability (or desire) to care for an animal.
Your friend or family member may have specific preferences about dog breed or dog size. Or, they may not be in a financial position to take in a pet. These are important issues – ones that deserve some thought. So, when in doubt, hold back on surprising a friend or significant other. After all, puppies are cute…but bills piling up and stress? Not so cute.
When The Holiday Magic Fizzles Out
Okay, assuming that you’re giving the dog to your kids and taking it into your own home, prepare yourself: when the reality of puppy care sinks in, you may start to feel less enthusiastic about the new life that you’ve just committed to caring for. A puppy is a lively new addition to your family, and just because the holiday season will soon end, that doesn’t mean your new puppy can go back to where you adopted it. Just how committed are you, really?
Here’s some good news. Most pet owners remain just as committed to their new pet family members even after Christmas is over. ASPCA reports that year after year, studies show that 85% of people who adopt pets care for them for life. So even though some people may feel overwhelmed after adopting a puppy over the holidays, a majority of pet owners still care for their pets through the duration of the pet’s life.
A Total Routine Shakeup
Managing a puppy isn’t a walk in the dog park. No, ma’am. Your daily routine will drastically change when you add a puppy to your household. A puppy brings a variety of new responsibilities, from house training and feeding to playtime and daily exercise. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on this pup. The walks! The yard clean up! The vet visits! Ask yourself – do these new responsibilities and costs outweigh the benefits that the puppy will bring to your household?
Now, for the bright side. A change in your routine may not be a bad way to kick off the new year. You may love the companionship of a new furry friend. And, if you have older kids who can handle the responsibility, caring for a puppy may be a great step to take as a family.
Adult Dog Vs. Puppy
Would an adult dog will be more suitable for your family than a puppy? Dogs of all ages are affectionate, loyal, and adorable, and while a puppy may sound like a good idea, a fully grown dog may be the better pet for your family to adopt.
More often than not, adult dogs are house trained, well-behaved, and loving (yes, you could skip the potty training phase!). You may also be happier with your choice of pets if you’re looking to adopt from a shelter. Fully grown dogs stay in shelters much longer because they are less likely to get adopted. Approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year, but only approximately 1.6 million are adopted. By rescuing an adult animal and welcoming it into your family, not only are you saving time when it comes to poo duty, but you’re helping that animal find a home for life.
Here’s the deal. Becoming a pet parent is a beautiful, life changing, heart bursting, wonderful thing. Make sure you’re ready to take that on. When in doubt, wait a few months….we hear puppies are still just as adorable in the springtime.