Should you get a puppy for Christmas? It’s the festive season and of course, you’re looking for the perfect gift that the whole family will love, but there are many reasons why a puppy is a bad idea. All the noise, excitement, and Christmas decorations make it a bad time to introduce a puppy to your home. A puppy’s diet can also be disturbed by well-meaning family members feeding rich table scraps, whereas they would do best to stick to one of our best puppy food suggestions. Read on for our list of 6 reasons not to get a puppy for Christmas.
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1. Christmas is too busy for settling a new puppy in
Christmas is a busy time of year! With lots of shopping, as well as events and parties to attend, you might struggle to be at home enough to properly care for a new puppy. Puppies rely on routine and regular opportunities to go out to the toilet. It can be hard to give your puppy enough attention when you are having to dash out and run errands or visit relatives.
Also, if you have other pets at home, then you will need to be around to supervise introductions between them and your new puppy. For some animals, this will need to be done very gradually and can take a lot of time. Christmas is not the best time to do this when you are distracted by everything else that needs doing.
2. There are lots of toxic foods around that could harm curious puppies
Christmas is a risky time for most dogs, with all sorts of tempting treats in easy reach, but puppies are even more curious than adult dogs. Left unsupervised they could raid the chocolates off the Christmas tree or sneak the raisin-filled Christmas cake from the coffee table. At this time of year when we are busy with celebrations, it’s easy to take your eye off the ball. If your puppy gets hold of something toxic, then he could become very ill.
As well as chocolates and raisins, other Christmas dangers include alcohol, xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many sweets as well as sugar-free gum), onions, bones from turkey or meat joints, and macadamia nuts. Well-meaning relatives may also overdo it with leftovers and table scraps, leaving your new puppy feeling quite unwell.
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3. Dangerous Christmas decorations could cause your puppy injury
Puppies are extremely inquisitive and often explore the world through their mouths. A new home full of twinkly lights and sparkly tinsel could be quite hazardous. Loose wires from fairy lights could be an electrocution and strangulation risk. Delicate glass Christmas decorations could become broken and embedded in small paws and mouths. Chewing on tinsel could lead to digestive upset or even a foreign body, requiring surgery to retrieve.
Ideally, you would introduce your puppy to a home that is clear from clutter, providing them with only the best puppy toys to chew on!
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4. There are too many visitors in the festive period
Over the Christmas holidays, many of us have lots of visitors, often inviting a whole host of friends and family. This can be very overwhelming to a new puppy who is still trying to adjust to his new pet parents. Of course, it’s important to socialise your puppy, but this should be done steadily to build your puppy’s confidence up gradually. Noise like chatter, loud music, and party poppers can all be scary to a young puppy. If your puppy has not completed his puppy vaccinations he is also at risk of disease, particularly if your visitors are bringing their dogs with them.
5. You might accidentally end up buying from a puppy farm
If you are caught up in the idea of buying a puppy as a Christmas gift, then you are imposing time pressure on your purchase. This means you might accidentally be forced into buying from a puppy farm rather than a reputable breeder.
Puppy farms tend to have more readily available puppies due to the sheer number they breed, but this comes at a price. These puppies are poorly socialised and more at risk of health problems. The puppies’ mothers are housed in poor conditions, and you are inadvertently funding a business that isn’t focused on the welfare of their dogs. A puppy should be purchased from a reputable breeder, which may mean a waiting list.
6. They may end up being an unwanted gift
If you have bought the puppy as a surprise gift for someone, be warned that the novelty could quickly wear off. Everyone loves a cute puppy, but once they realise the responsibility involved in dog parenting, they could go off the idea. Walking in all weathers, the cost of feeding, doggy daycare, and veterinary bills, as well as the amount of effort that needs to go into dog training, can put some people off.
Sadly, this means that many dogs given as Christmas presents end up in rescue centres, through no fault of their own. Puppy parenting should be a considered process, with new parents doing their research and working out if they can budget enough money and spare time for a puppy before buying. This is why you must never surprise someone with a puppy – it can backfire spectacularly.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t get a puppy for Christmas. Introducing a dog into your home should be done at a time where you can give them your full, undivided attention. The purchase of a puppy should be carefully researched, and they should definitely never be given as a surprise gift.
Dr Rebecca MacMillan is a companion animal vet who has always had a passion for writing and client communication. She works in the South West and loves complex medical cases.
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