Who DOESN'T Want a Puppy for Christmas?! But WAIT, not so fast!

Puppies and Christmas, they just seem to go together, don’t they?  At the shelter, people often want to adopt dogs for others.  Romantic boyfriends want to surprise the girl of their dreams with the puppy of her dreams, parents delight in the idea of lighting up their child’s face on Christmas morning with a new puppy, or a dutiful son thinks getting a dog for Mom at Christmas will be the perfect gift of companionship and prevent her from feeling lonely. 

My favorite foster dog, named Rudy because he came into the shelter around Christmas.  Read Rudy's heartwarming story.

Although this is a wonderful ideal, sometimes it doesn’t work out so well.  The couple breaks up by New Years Eve, the puppy the parents chose gets huge, scares the kid and knocks him down, and Mom becomes overwhelmed at the prospect of caring for a dog.  

I suggest people forgo the element of surprise for a well thought out adoption or purchase of a puppy or older dog.  It can be just as wonderful and surprising to thoughtfully gift wrap an animal shelter gift card, photo of a cute puppy, a leash, or a stuffed animal dog.  Tell the recipient that right after Christmas you’ll be taking them to pick out the pet of their dreams together!

Wrap the package beautifully, concealing your surprise, then make a day (or two, or five!) of searching for the right puppy or dog together.  The time you spend searching for their new best friend together will be a gift in itself and a great memory!

Before you decide that a dog is the perfect gift for someone else, be sure their lifestyle will support the lifelong commitment of owning a dog. 

🐾 If the recipient is your child, make sure responsibilities for caring for the puppy are well thought out and that it’s the right time to add a pet to your family.  Everyone in the house should be on board.

🐾 If the person you are gifting travels frequently be sure that won’t become an issue.  Who will care for the dog while they are away?

🐾 Is there an apartment complex or Homeowners Association with restrictions that may impact dog ownership or the size and breed of dog they can have?


Puppies, Dogs, Christmas gifts, Holiday gifts, Puppy for Christmas, Puppy as a gift, Giving a Dog as a gift
Is a Puppy or Dog the right Christmas gift?

🐾 Do they live with someone else that should be consulted before bringing a new pet into the home? Are there other animals in the home already? 

🐾 Assess the ability to afford vet bills every year; annual vaccinations, checkups, and visits to the vet for occasional illness or injury.  They may need to spay or neuter the dog themselves.  Training, especially for puppies, is critical.  Including a gift card towards training is an excellent addition to your gift!

Once you determine that a canine companion is definitely the right gift, help them make the right decision about whether to get a puppy or an older dog, and what type of dog would best fit their lifestyle.

Puppies are irresistible, but they are a lot of work.  House training is the first order of business, and it takes time.  Some puppies learn within a couple of days, others can take weeks.  

Basic obedience commands and good behavior must be taught.  No one wants to come home to find potty accidents all over the house and a ripped up couch.   

Puppies are delightful but the first few months can be a lot of work.  An older dog may already be house trained and well behaved, or at least calmer and easier to train. 

The next question is what type of dog would be best.  What breed of dog, how big, will they shed a lot, what is the dog’s level of activity, do they slobber, is the dog likely to howl (Beagles, Blood Hounds, & Huskies are breeds that like to howl)?  

These are important questions to answer before deciding on what type of dog will fit their lifestyle.  Check out Purina's Dog Breed Selector quiz. It's a lot of fun and it can help you decide which breeds of dog might be a good fit.

Would a small dog that doesn't shed be the right fit, or a larger more active dog?
At animal shelters, Adoption Counselors help customers select a pet that fits their lifestyle.  Don’t choose a dog based solely on looks, find the right breed (or breed mix) that fits the person’s lifestyle.  Whether you work with a shelter, reputable breeder, or rescue to find the right dog ask a lot of questions about the breed to be sure it’s a good fit.   

A dog is a lifelong commitment.  Do the planning up front and the gift of the right dog will be the gift that never stops giving!

Check out more of our dog tips & information in these posts:

Dog Theft Is Increasing! How To Prevent Dog Theft

Have you ever given or received a dog as a surprise gift?  Tell us about it in the comments!  We Love hearing from you.


Talent Hounds said...

Research is so important before buying a dog. We have a breed library and a fun quiz that helps match you to your best dog breed on our site.

Unknown said...

Cool, Talent Hounds! Yes, get your research in before making the decision! The last think you want is to give up a furbaby! :(

Barbara Rivers said...

Awesome article about a very important topic! So many people don't think about the lifelong commitment of dog ownership and all the aspects you covered beautifully. I always preach the importance of researching the kind of breed before realizing it will not fit your lifestyle!!!!

DawgBlogger said...

An saying from my old country is fitting for this and anything else we do: "Measure twice, cut once." People tell me that I overthink everything. While that is quite a curse for me, it's better than not think about stuff enough.

FidoseofReality said...

TY so much for sharing this - I wish all those people who think a puppy or kitten is a great gift for the holidays would read this.

My GBGV Life said...

Dogs as a surprise gift is not a good idea and at Christmas, really not a good idea. Just wait for January when life is calm.

maryehaight said...

Yes, now that ASPCA has come out with the reversal of a common shelter no-no campaign re Puppies for Christmas Gifts, it's great to outline how to do this responsibly. Nothing worse than getting a "gift" you cannot afford in either time or money.

Cost is a huge factor, as is actual responsibility for the dog. So many parents really seem to believe they can make their kids learn to be responsible by feeding and walking the dog and when neither are done properly, the job falls on them. Thanks for your excellent reminder!

Mary @ StaleCheerios said...

Great post! I wish people would think more carefully before giving puppies as presents for Christmas.

Also, Christmas is really a bad time to get a new dog or puppy as many people are just so busy with holiday stuff. It can be difficult to deal with a new dog, plus everything else that is happening.

Unknown said...

There is so much that goes into giving a pet as a gift. I wish more people would think through it as thoroughly as you posted.

Unknown said...

So many questions to be answered. People definitely need to consider everything before they decide to get a puppy for someone else. Great post!

JoAnn Stancer said...

great post. Merry Christmas.

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