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Is Gifting a Christmas Pet a Good Idea?

Is Gifting a Christmas Pet a Good Idea?

Christmas is fast approaching. People have been running around, trying to get everything ready before the most anticipated holiday.

Gifting pets has become a thing among Americans during special occasions like this. There’s this warm feeling that gets people swooning over sweet-looking puppies. However, Christmas pets may not be a good idea, as raising a dog is not as simple as receiving one.

Factors to Consider Before Giving a Pet as a Christmas Gift

Giving gifts can sometimes be challenging. You may never know what your recipient wants unless you ask them directly. While gifting a pet is not an entirely bad plan, it may not be a good idea either.

If you’re considering giving a dog this Christmas, there are a few things to think about before you pursue the idea.

1. Can You Give Pets as Last-Minute Gifts?

A Young Boy Playing with His Pup on Christmas Day

Gifting a pet shouldn’t be done on a whim because you run out of gift ideas. Pets are not toys you can give someone without much thought. Dogs are not dispensable things you can return or replace in the store once your niece or nephew loses interest in them.

Giving up a pet (or worse, abandoning them) is the last thing you should do. This could be an added burden for rescue homes or shelters after the holidays. Most importantly, pets are family. You need to ensure everyone in the household welcomes them wholeheartedly.

2. Is Your Family Ready for a New Pet?

Since everyone seems to be ecstatic about having a pet, you think they’re up to the task of actually raising one. However, there’s more to pet ownership than meets the eye.

Each family member, including children, should be on board with taking care of a dog in the household. A pet can turn your household upside down. They are a lot of work. Don’t be fooled by those puppy-dog eyes and sweet personalities.

Below are the factors to consider before bringing home a Christmas pet:

  • Care and Management

A Golden Retriever Dog with Its Human Family at Home

You must discuss with your family the daily arrangements of having a pet. This includes keeping routines such as feeding, walking, and potty schedules.

You need to ensure your family can provide the dog with the proper nutrition they need. Giving table scraps like on holidays can be more harmful than doing good to them. It is also necessary to walk or take them out during the day. This allows them to relieve themselves as well as exercise.

  • Lifestyle

A Puppy Sleeping in a Human Arm

Dogs are social animals. They need constant time and attention from you and your family. It’s not enough to provide them with basic needs like food and shelter. Most dogs crave human company from time to time.

Christmas may seem the best time to welcome a new pet as the family has more time off work and school. But once the holidays are over, pets are often left alone for long periods. It’s important to look beyond the holidays to ensure your pup can fit well when things go back to normal.

  • Financial Capacity

A Sick Dog Resting After an Infusion

Raising a pet entails financial expenses for all their necessary needs. You should assess if your family can afford to pay for grooming, vaccinations, vet visits, diagnostic tests, and pet medications. This is an essential factor that pet owners need to know beforehand. You may be able to cover the costs of food and some pet supplies. But when Fido gets sick, prescription medications and veterinary costs can strain your family’s budget. The financial burden associated with pets is one of the leading causes of why pets are surrendered to shelters.

  • Training

Training a Dog with a Clicker

Puppies may look adorable on the surface, but they can be stubborn and unruly at times. They may even develop undesirable behaviors even before you bring them home. Chewing, biting, destructive mischief, and annoying barking are just some of the unwanted behaviors of new pups.

Train your pup the moment they arrive at your doorstep. You can teach them yourself without the assistance of dog trainers. Make sure you have the necessary equipment, such as a dog collar, leash, harness, treats, clicker, or an e-collar. If you decide to use a dog training collar, the Mini Educator ET-300 or Dogtra CUE is an excellent choice for your little pupper.

3. Is Gifting a Pet a Good Idea?

A Christmas Puppy with Gift Boxes on Its Side

The answer is more complex than a Yes. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) advises gifting pets only to people “who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly.”

It should depend on who you give the pet to, but it should never be a surprise. The recipient must be responsible and capable enough to handle a dog. And most of all, the receiver should be part of making the crucial decision, especially if you are from a different household. If you’re giving a pet to a child, discuss this first with the parents or guardian. This ensures the family is ready and has the means to adopt a pet.

4. What Dog Should You Get?

Three Different Dog Breeds Enjoying a Walk Outdoors

Assuming the recipient of the gift satisfies the above consideration, make an effort to find the right dog for them. Take into account their time, lifestyle, living environment, and budget, among others.

If your friend or family lives in a small apartment, choose a breed that fits this arrangement. If the receiver appreciates a peaceful environment, then definitely get one that is not a loud barker or doesn’t bark a lot. Don’t be fooled by the tiny size of a Chihuahua or Pomeranian pup. These dog breeds are known for their yapping behaviors.

Also, never choose a dog based on looks or cuteness. Looks won’t matter if one’s sanity is at stake. You don’t want to see your friend at their wits end a few months after the holidays. That is why research the pet that suits your recipient best.

5. Where Should You Get a Dog?

A Group of Dogs in an Animal Shelter

You have two options: animal shelters or responsible breeders. It’s highly recommended that you only get the dog where the source of the animal is known. This can be tricky, though, if you go to animal shelters or rescue homes. However, they might have the pet you’re looking for. Ensure the dog has no significant behavioral issues, as shelter pets are prone to anxiety disorders or aggression problems.

Another option is to buy from a responsible breeder. Be cautious of backyard breeders that sell puppies during the Christmas season. These puppies are often not well-bred and may have hidden genetic conditions or behavioral issues. In fact, many reputable breeders are reluctant to home dogs during the holidays. They know too well that people tend to have a lot on their plate during Christmas. So, welcoming a new pup may be difficult. This is to avoid the possibility of rehoming a pet when New Year comes, as this can impact the pet’s well-being and behavior.

Final Thoughts

Christmas should be fun and worry-free. Giving surprise presents like a pet can be a disaster if proper considerations are not taken. Also, there may be better times to give a dog than Christmas day.

Alternatively, you can invite your friend or family to volunteer and donate to animal shelters over the holidays. This way, you’ll know if they understand what it means to care for a pet and are ready to raise one.


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