Puppies as Christmas gifts? Good intention, bad idea

Dogs Australia

If you’re thinking about giving your loved one a puppy as a gift this Christmas, Dogs Australia urges you to “think twice”.

“Puppies can’t be exchanged, returned or put in the cupboard if the Christmas present isn’t the right fit,” says Hugh Gent, OAM, President of Dogs Australia, which promotes responsible dog ownership. “And sadly, many impulsively bought gift puppies will end up in shelters.

“There’s a huge misconception that pets make great Christmas gifts when, in fact, they don’t. Sure, it’s exciting to see someone’s face when they first see their ‘gift’ but once the novelty wears off and the reality of owning a dog sinks in, it’s often a different story. Owning a dog is a big responsibility.

“Remember, you’re gifting an obligation – and you need to be confident the recipient will be able to provide for the dog beyond puppyhood and for many years to come. Dogs require commitment: they depend on us 24/7 for their care and they need a lot of exercise and attention.”

It’s also crucial to ensure a good fit between dogs and their people, which is why Hugh says it’s best to have someone choose their own dog – if they want one – rather than selecting one you think will be a good fit.

“Dogs have personalities just like we do, so it’s important to research the right breed that best suits your personality, your family and lifestyle. At Dogs Australia we promote responsible dog ownership – and Animal shelters are already packed with homeless animals – and sadly, since the pandemic more dogs have been surrendered because people can’t cope with them, don’t have time to look after them, can’t afford them, or have just lost interest. Never surprise someone with a puppy – it could backfire spectacularly.”

6 reasons why you shouldn’t give a puppy as a Christmas present:

  1. Dogs are a long-term commitment

Owning a dog is more of a responsibility than a gift. Not only do they need a lot of care and training, but they also come with a lot of expenses. It takes time and commitment to own a dog. On average, dogs can live up to 13 years or more.

  1. Dog ownership is time intensive

A dog’s not an ornament to be left in the backyard or a toy you can play with until you get bored. They need attention, love, training and exercise.

  1. Owning a dog can be expensive

A dog requires food, toys, trips to the vet, medicine, pet insurance, training, holiday boarding, grooming and more. That can amount to thousands of dollars each year.

  1. Are you sure they want a dog?

They might be allergic to dogs, not have the time or patience to care for a dog, can’t afford to care for a dog, do a lot of traveling, and they might not even like dogs!

  1. You might accidentally end up buying from a puppy farm

If you are excited by the idea of buying a puppy as a Christmas gift, you might accidentally end up buying from an illegal puppy farm rather than a legitimate, reputable breeder. “Puppy farms tend to have more readily available puppies due to the sheer number they breed – but this comes at a price,” says Hugh. “Often these pups are poorly socialised and more at risk of health problems. Their parents are housed in poor conditions and the ‘business’ owners aren’t focused on the welfare of their dogs. A puppy should be purchased from a registered breeder.”

  1. Returning the dog could jeopardise its life

If your loved one doesn’t want a puppy, they might end up surrendering it to a pet shelter, and this could potentially put the animal’s life in danger. If no new owner adopts the dog, it might then be euthanised.

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