For those of us who grew up watching Disney, seeing Lady from Lady & The Tramp revealed as a Christmas present has seeped into our brains and normalized the idea of giving a puppy as a Christmas.
As cute as this may be, the practicality behind giving it as a Christmas gift is a bad idea, for several reasons.
First and foremost, puppies need to be trained. The wintertime is not the best time to be training your pet to go to the bathroom outside. Besides the fact that it is cold, precipitation such as snow, sleet, and hail can be dangerous not only for your new pup but also for you! If you plan on taking your dog outside to do it’s business, to keep them warm, you might need to put on a sweater. If there is snow on the ground, the dog will bring in with water leading to wetness everywhere. If your dog is too cold and/or scared to go out, this might lead to many accidents throughout the house. And since Christmas time is a busy year, a puppy needs to be interacted with. No leaving for New Year’s Eve!
Secondly, as adorable as the scene is in Lady and the Tramp putting a puppy in a tiny box only to be greeted to absolute chaos is traumatic for the animal! Within the first 12 weeks of the puppy’s life is when its brain develops its “fear or avoidance” reception. By overwhelming your puppy at Christmas time you are basically giving tiny Fido Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Your actions as it grows up can have damaging effects when he is an adult dog.
Thirdly, as much as your children want a dog, dog’s are a huge responsibility and cost a LOT of money. Expenses include and are certainly not limited to:
- annual vet visits
- required vaccinations
- normal check-ups
- dental cleanings
- medical care and surgeries as needed
- good food
- beds and crates
- grooming tools
- accessories like leashes, collars
- poop bags
- travel crates
- dog walkers
- doggy daycare, and boarding facilities or pet sitters for the times you travel without your pet
Unlike stuffed animals, puppies need constant attention and to be played with. They need to learn commands and have some socialization. They also will affect your lifestyle tremendously which is why a lot of Christmas gift puppies end up in shelters after people realize they don’t want the responsibility. And although these puppies have the chance of being adopted – 90% of shelter animals are euthanized!
Dog ownership is not the same thing as a toy. If you are serious about owning a puppy then you can wait until after Christmas and go to the shelters to adopt a puppy.