It seems I can’t turn around without seeing a picture of a cute puppy with Santa Claus this time of year. I am not immune to the adorable lab in a Santa hat, Yorkie in snowflake sweater or Husky wearing a scarf (although really a husky in a scarf?). One of my fondest memories was the year my Dad showed up with a Golden Retriever puppy on Christmas Eve. BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!
Now, many years later and with a lot more knowledge about dogs you might think I would not recommend getting a puppy for the holidays. You would be wrong. While I don’t think it should be a spur of the moment decision and there are many things to consider, it can be a wonderful experience.
The most important question to consider is, “Were you considering adding a furry member to your family before getting caught up in holiday excitement?” If the answer is yes, then keep reading, a Christmas puppy could be for you.
Before you proceed to look for pet for your family apply the brakes and consider if you and your family are ready for a pet. Being ready includes financially prepared to care for a pet for the next 10 to 15 years. That’s right a puppy unlike a stuffed animal toy is going to need veterinary care, training and gear like toys, bowls, harnesses, beds, crates and food. Still ready for a puppy?
Have you planned for where you will get this puppy? A puppy should never be an impulse buy. I recommend, two options, adoption from a local shelter or purchase from a reputable breeder (this one will take some planning and research). Just say no to puppies from stores, online lists or the back of a truck bed in the parking lot. These are poor choices and will support unethical breeding and lead to a host of problems later.
So you were already planning to add a dog to your family, you are prepared for the commitment and you are making good choices about where to get the puppy. Now let’s weigh the pros and cons of doing this during the holidays.
- Waking up to cute and cuddly puppy. I can’t deny this is awesome!
- Having extra time off work to socialize your puppy and work on training, especially house training.
- All the noise, commotion and hazards of the season could be overwhelming or dangerous for a puppy.
- Holiday parties and obligations could make establishing a routine for exercise and house training difficult.
- Veterinary care facilities may be closed or have reduced hours during the holidays so plan ahead.
While the holiday puppy is tempting usually you and the pet will be less stressed and have a better chance at getting off on the right foot after the holidays. However, it is not all or nothing. Consider giving some great dog books, toys or a gift certificate for a training class instead. The family can visit the local shelter to pick out their new family member after the New Year. Perhaps you and the family could even volunteer at a local shelter to make the holidays better for the wonderful pets waiting for a forever home. It is a great way to get to know the dogs and cats available and find the right one for you. Regardless of when you get the new puppy it will feel like a holiday!