Why you shouldn’t gift a puppy for Christmas

Corgi puppy at Christmas Photo by Mariia Korneeva/Shutterstock

Puppies are beyond adorable. So, giving one as a present is sure to make an impact, right? As much as gifting a puppy will make the holidays unforgettable, it’s often at the expense of the dog. Plus, as fulfilling as dog ownership can be, it’s not a decision you should take lightly or make for somebody else. Here’s why you shouldn’t gift a puppy for Christmas and what you can do instead.

Dogs require a serious commitment of time and money

Puppies are a huge responsibility. A dog means a significant commitment of time and energy—from the basics like house training and obedience to meeting exercise needs with daily walks. Before you get a puppy for your family or gift one to somebody else, it’s critical that you guarantee they will meet the responsibility of dog ownership for the pet’s lifetime.

Dogs are also expensive. According to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, the average cost of a puppy is over $4,500 a year. And the annual cost of an adult dog is around $3,700. So even though you are absorbing the purchase or adoption price of the puppy, is your gift recipient ready to take on all those other expenses? Your generous gift might not be so generous after all.

Choose a dog that fits your lifestyle

Whether you intend for the dog to join your household or somebody else’s, you must match the breed and personality to the new owner’s lifestyle. A busy herding breed might be perfect for an outdoor enthusiast, whereas a laid-back lap dog might be someone else’s ideal pet. Or maybe an older dog who is already house trained is a better match than a rambunctious pup. Because it’s so important to match the dog to the owner, you should never choose somebody else’s dog for them. And if you’re gifting the puppy for Christmas to a member of your immediate family, everybody in the family should be part of the selection process.

The holidays can be too much for dogs

The holidays are a busy and sometimes stressful time of year, and a new pet requires attention and routine while they adapt to their new home. Many people can’t provide that kind of stability amid holiday cheer. Plus, all the festive sights, sounds, smells, and visitors can overwhelm a new pet. And we can’t forget to mention the extra holiday dangers such as toxic foods, candles, and ornaments. Consider waiting for a quieter time of year when your family or the gift recipient can focus on their new furry family member.

A better way to gift a dog

So, with all this in mind, how can you surprise somebody with a more suitable gift? Consider dog-themed items such as a stuffed animal in the likeness of a child’s favourite breed, paw print earrings, or a graphic t-shirt with dog images. What about a subscription to a dog magazine? Or you can donate to an animal shelter or rescue organization in the person’s name.

If the recipient has agreed to dog ownership and you’ve chosen a more appropriate time to pick the puppy, you can still give a holiday present. Wrap a few books about how to choose a puppy or train a dog. Put a bow on a collar and leash. Or you could even pre-pay the adoption fee at the shelter or rescue, then help the gift recipient choose their dog later on.

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