Lots of children yearn for a pet of their own. Some of them will even write “I wish for a dog” in scrawly handwriting on their Christmas list! Getting a puppy for Christmas may sound adorable but it is usually not a good idea. A puppy often isn’t a suitable present even for an adult. Here you will find six reasons why a dog is not an appropriate Christmas gift.
6 Reasons Not to Give a Dog as a Christmas Gift
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6 reasons why a dog is not a suitable Christmas present:
Animal shelters won’t allow dogs to be given as Christmas presents
Based on previous experience, many animal shelters do not release any dogs from mid-December. This is because many adopters then give the dog away as a gift around Christmas time. These animals then end up back in the shelter in January. The reasons for taking a pet back to the shelter often include it being too demanding, too loud or too expensive which shows that many people don’t consider the reality of owning a pet beforehand.
It is never a good idea to give a dog as a Christmas surprise
No one tries to hand over a puppy wrapped up in paper, but many people are tempted to hide the tiny ball of fur under the tree. Welcoming a new member of the family shouldn't be a surprise. Everyone in the family should be able to prepare for the arrival of a new member. This includes setting out clear rules for children on handling the new pet before introducing it into your household. The first introduction should take place in a calm environment without any commotion.
It is best to choose your dog yourself
It is not only children who wish for a pet, many adults feel happier with a canine companion at their side. Do you know someone who would love a new dog? Perhaps your auntie whose sausage dog died of old-age three weeks ago. A new pet would surely cheer her up. Should you go off to find a breeder or look at the ads in the paper? No, this is not a good idea! Even great dog-lovers should be able to choose whether they want to take on the big responsibility of having a pet. Your aunt might want to go travelling or perhaps she is planning to get two cats. Even when you know that someone is planning on getting a pet, your aunt and anyone else who loves dogs should choose for themselves which type of character the dog that will share their life will have.
Responsibility doesn’t make a great present
Does the person who gives the dog as a gift remain responsible for the dog’s well-being? Who will take the dog out for a walk in wet and windy weather? Who will take on the time-consuming training? Who will look after the dog when it is ill? These questions and many more must be answered beforehand and mean that getting a dog as a surprise is not ideal. It is also not a good idea for parents to give their child a dog just because the child wants one. The adults have the full responsibility for the dog so they themselves should enjoy training and caring for a dog.
You should clarify a few points before deciding to add a dog to your family:
- Do all members of the family agree on getting a dog?
- What will happen with the dog when you go away on holiday?
- Do you have several free hours during the day to take care of the dog?
- Do you have enough money for the ongoing costs and something put aside for vet bills?
- Will you clean up fur and dirt without getting annoyed?
- Is anyone in the family allergic to pet hair?
- Are you patient enough to cope with challenging training?
You should be able to answer all of these questions before you welcome a new dog into your home.
A dog is a member of the family
Giving a dog as a gift as you would an inanimate object sends a message that animal-lovers don’t agree with. In an ideal case, the dog will be a treasured new member of the family and not simply a thing that is passed around. If your child wants a dog for Christmas, you should explain beforehand why a pet is unsuitable as a gift.
Too much action at Christmas
Some examples Christmas commotion include family parties and visiting relatives, a tree with lots of glittery baubles and tinsel, the Christmas dinner and high-spirited young children. These elements are present in almost every family’s Christmas and the festive season is anything but tranquil. Consider what a puppy or an adult dog would think about being at your house during this time. Welcoming a new dog into your home should be a calm affair. This means that the Christmas period isn’t a good time to bring a dog into your home.
Are there any exceptions?
Lots of people have time off work around the holiday season so would like to adopt a pet at this time. There’s nothing wrong with that. This can be a good idea in the case of puppies that are the right age to go to their new home around Christmas time. The same goes for a dog that comes from an animal shelter and must get to know you well at home before you begin working again in the New Year. In any case, you shouldn’t organise any big parties at your house and you should be sure to stay at home during the festive season. Often the 27th of December will be a more suitable date than the 24th or the 25th to welcome a new pet. What’s more, you should be careful to make sure that puppies in particular don't eat any Christmas decorations or figures from the nativity scene. For these reasons, a dog should never be a spontaneous Christmas present!
Which alternative gift ideas to consider
Books or gift vouchers
Does your child really want a dog and can you picture yourself welcoming a new companion into the family? Have you already thought about the costs involved, the time required and the needs of a dog and can be sure that you can offer a dog a good home? That's great! In this case, you can give your child an age-appropriate book for Christmas that talks about handling dogs. This way, your child will be full of anticipation and can prepare for the exciting arrival of the dog. Are you looking for a present for an adult who wants to get their own dog? No problem! For Christmas, you could give them an interesting book about dogs or a gift voucher to buy the basic equipment needed for a new pet.
No animals as gifts
If you don’t know whether someone is planning on getting a dog, it is better to opt for a different kind of present all together. A soft toy dog is usually a good idea for little ones. There could also be another solution. If there is an animal shelter nearby, you could enquire about a club for children. Your child would be able to interact regularly with dogs and other animals that are in need of attention and care.