Christmas is almost here! That means that hundreds of families will be getting a puppy as a gift for the holiday. But before they do, they should really think twice about getting a puppy for Christmas.
As a dog mom, let me explain why.
As I sit here writing this post, Archie (my 1 year old puppy) has bombarded himself onto my lap. I am now typing with a 75lb orange pitbull puppy under my arm.
Something like this may annoy the average person. But if you’re a true dog person, you know this just comes with the territory of being a puppy owner.
Getting Archie as a Puppy
Last year, Archie was my Christmas gift from my husband Lazer.
I remember looking at the litter pictures and trying to figure out which furball we would want in our lives for the next 10-15 years.
We almost picked Archie’s brother, but when they told us that they we’re going to cut Archie’s ears on Christmas (common in pitbulls unfortunately) we drove to Connecticut and picked him up the day before on Christmas Eve.
I’ve had pitbulls and rottweilers in the past with their ears and tails cut and always hated it.
Breeders and vets will tell you they can’t feel pain that young, but I doubt that.
If they didn’t need their ears and tail, they wouldn’t be born with them! Leave these beautiful creatures the way they were made.
When we picked up Archie, he was so stinky, as most puppies are when you first get them.
We put him in the sink and scrubbed him down as soon as we got home.
As soon as we put him down on the floor he took a big, messy poop on the floor and then proceeded to latch onto Lazer’s pant leg and whip his head back and forth playing tug of war with himself.
In those first very eventful 10 minutes, I had flashbacks to when Cali was a puppy, and remembered all the hard work it takes to raise a puppy to adulthood and afterwards.
Raising a puppy is not for the faint of heart. And making a decision on getting a puppy should be much more serious than people take it.
Below are some things to think twice about before getting a puppy for Christmas.
Read each one and then decide if getting a puppy is right for you and your family.
Things You’ll Need to Give Your Puppy
The first thing that you will need to do with a puppy is train them.
Training is more than just teaching the basics like how to sit and lay down.
It’s going beyond the basics like teaching them to stop jumping and how to stay.
Training is a lifelong endeavor for a dog and should be something you practice for even a few minutes each day.
If you don’t want to do this or can’t seem to find the time, you should think twice about getting a puppy for Christmas.
If you’re going to raise a puppy, you’re going to need lots of patience.
Archie was definitely an easier puppy to raise than Cali, who chewed 3 full couches and took almost a full year to potty train.
But even though Archie was going outside on his own at only 12 weeks, he still had plenty of accidents on the floor and in his crate.
I can’t remember how many times I woke up in the middle of the night to a poop-covered Archie, dancing around in his crate and happy to see me.
Puppies are still getting used to holding their bladder and accidents are inevitable.
This is not the time to shove their face in the mess or yell at them. They are babies after all!
If you can’t get yourself to go outside and take a breather after your puppy peed on your freshly mopped floors, then maybe you should think twice before getting a puppy.
No matter what kind of dog you get, they all need some form of grooming.
Dogs like Poodles and Yorkies will probably need a professional groomer. So be sure to put some money aside each month for that.
If you have a short-fur dog like a pitbull or labrador, they’ll likely just need a regular bath with some simple homemade dog shampoo.
On top of that, dogs also need their nails trimmed regularly, their teeth brushed and their ears cleaned to prevent infections.
My dogs get a bath once every two weeks. Some dogs will need grooming more or less often depending on how dirty they get.
In addition, some dogs love bath time while others hate it.
We’ve gotten Cali to suck it up and sit through the bath. But Archie will stick his legs out horizontally so we have to fold them in to fit in the tub.
So if you’re thinking about getting a puppy, be prepared to groom that dog in whatever way they need.
Time & Attention
Just like children, puppies need time and attention from you to thrive.
Dogs that are ignored by their family can get depressed, have separation anxiety, and even develop signs of aggression.
I remember when I lived in Staten Island the family behind me got a German Shepard puppy for Christmas.
He was showered in attention until about 6 months when the family got bored of him and chained him up to a tree in the backyard.
The poor dog barked all day long and all they did was yell out the window for him to shut up. All he needed was a little training, time and attention.
Do not be this person.
If you are this person now, please give up your dog to someone who will treat them right and care for them.
Otherwise, you’re a monster for creating an unmanageable and unloved dog, and I actively hate you. 🙂
On top of time and attention, dogs need lots of love!
Your puppy sees you as their whole world from the moment you bring them home.
You feed them all of their meals, clean up their messes, and fix them when they’re hurt.
There’s no doubt that your dog loves you, so be sure to love them back!
Give love to puppies by practicing training, going for walks or hikes, car rides, playing with them in the yard, or simply snuggling on the couch.
In a nutshell, if you’re including your dog in anything you’re doing, they probably love it.
Though puppies cost way less money than human children do, they still deserve a portion of your budget each month.
More so in the beginning, puppies will need lots of vaccinations and medicines in the beginning to set them up for a healthy life.
After that, if your dog is healthy you’re pretty much paying for food, toys, and a yearly checkup at the vet.
You can save thousands of dollars by keeping up with your dogs health and grooming.
To give you an example, a dental cleaning at the vet will cost you about $350.
Going to the animal hospital because your dog ate a chicken bone will cost you anywhere between $300-$1000 depending on where you live.
By thinking ahead and doing preventative care, your dog shouldn’t be too expensive.
But if you don’t set the money aside to take care of your dog from the start, you should think twice about getting a puppy for Christmas.
The last and most important reason why you should think twice about getting a puppy for Christmas is commitment.
Most dogs live an average of 10-15 years. So before you get a puppy try to look ahead and see what your future might look like in that time span.
Will you have to move to a place that doesn’t allow dogs?
Will your puppy grow too big for your current house?
What will happen with your dog once your kids leave for college?
Will you be committed to this dog when their fur begins to turn grey? When they don’t play as often as they used to?
These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself before you get a puppy as your dog’s Christmas present.
What to do Instead of Getting a Puppy
Just because you’re not ready for a puppy, doesn’t mean you can’t love and spend time with them or even adopt an adult dog.
Though adult dogs still need time, love, attention, and commitment, they usually are already trained. You don’t have to go crazy cleaning up puppy messes for the first 6 months.
If this post made you unsure if you’re even ready to adopt an adult dog, then try some of the options below to figure out if you’re ready.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Donate to your favorite animal cause
- Foster a dog until their adopted
- Adopt an adult or senior dog
I hope this article made you take a minute to really think twice about getting a puppy for Christmas.
It’s such a shame to see so many people get puppies for the holidays, only to see those same heartbroken puppies in the shelter a year later because their family couldn’t handle them.
If you think your family is ready, fantastic! Get the puppy and enjoy them for the next 10-15 years of their life.
If you’re not ready, that’s completely ok too! Your fellow dog lovers respect and admire you for that decision! 🙂