While it may sound like a good idea to surprise the family with a pet for Christmas, one not-for-profit animal group is urging families to “think twice”.
Hugh Gent, OAM, President of Dogs Australia, says adding a furry friend to your household is a big decision and should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision.
“There’s a huge misconception that pets make great Christmas gifts when, in fact, they don’t,” Hugh says.
“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.
“Puppies can’t be exchanged, returned or put in the cupboard if the Christmas present isn’t the right fit. Sadly, many impulsively bought gift puppies will end up in shelters.”
Hugh says it is important to think about providing for the dog beyond puppyhood and the years to come.
“Dogs require commitment - they depend on us 24/7 for their care and they need a lot of exercise and attention,” Hugh says.
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,” Hugh explains.
“At Dogs Australia we promote responsible dog ownership – and animal shelters are already packed with homeless animals.
“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.”
Here are six reasons why Hugh believes you shouldn’t give a puppy as a Christmas present
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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. It will seem like there are more puppies readily available, but these pups are often poorly socialised and are more at risk of health problems.
- 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.
About Dogs Australia
Dogs Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that advocates for the preservation of purebred dogs through ethical breeding.
The group was established in 1958 as the Australian National Kennel Council.
For more information about dog breeds, finding the right breeder, dog training, dog health and wellbeing, grooming, recipes and more, log onto their website.
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