We get it!! The kids have been beggingggggggggg for a puppy for months upon months! Your girlfriend follows every adorable dog account on Instagram and is giving you “puppy eyes” as hints of what she wants under the tree. All puppy-eyes aside, we’re here to tell you why you actually shouldn’t gift dogs around the holidays.
While it will make for one memorable gift-giving moment, it is all the other moments after we want you to consider!
Did you know…
The Helping Hands Humane Society sees about a 5 percent bump in admissions after the holidays from families who were overwhelmed. Three pets were abandoned every hour between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27 in years past according to figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
We know these families meant well, but the rise in adoptions this time of year, also sees quite an increase in pets relinquished to shelters and adoption agencies from homes that just weren’t ready.
To make sure the holidays are the right time to get or gift a dog, review these 5 questions. If you answer yes to all, you are ready to give a dog a forever home! If you answer no to even one, it may not be the right time (yet!).
- Do you have space for another pet?
- Keep in mind that different breeds require different amounts of space.
- Do you have enough time?
- It takes time to acclimate a new family member into your pack and for your pup and family to become comfortable together.
- Certain breeds of dogs (like Bichon Frises, Retrievers, Poodle mixes, and Terriers) also need daily grooming, which can take up to 30 minutes to an hour.
- Will you be home enough for potty training and frequent trips out?
- Small puppies need to go out every hour or so each night.
- Smaller breed dogs, like Yorkies, require about a half-an-hour walk. Larger breeds, like Labs, need at least an hour and a half of play and walking.
- Will you have the means for licensing, initial frequent vet trips, vaccines, and gear?
- How will your family interact?
- Is anyone allergic?
- Will you be leaving on any long trips soon or do you travel often?
- Will you have any major changes like a move?
Thinking of gifting a dog to someone else?
If you think you might want to gift a dog to someone else, you should consider these points:
With great cuteness comes great responsibility. Pets, especially dogs, not only require lots of time and attention but also a sizable financial investment. Putting this responsibility on someone who is not financially able to care for a pet is putting the dog at risk of being surrendered. Many shelters see a spike in dogs being surrendered after the holidays, mostly from people who were not up to the task of taking on a new family member. Also, gifts are not supposed to cost the recipient money.
Gambling with the dog’s future
Dogs are social beings and can be traumatized by shuffling back and forth between homes and shelters. In addition, dogs surrendered are at greater risk for euthanization because they have been returned multiple times. Since dogs should not be returned like an ill-fitted sweater, the gift giver is ultimately responsible for that pup’s future.
Consider the lifespan of a dog. Ideally, dogs live into their teenage years. If you gift a dog to someone, that person has just been given an over a decade-long responsibility. Likely, your friend doesn’t know what they’ll be doing in another ten years. So, unless you can also give the gift of foresight, forego the dog-gifting.
Owners have to be ready
Without food, bedding, a leash or collar, new dog owners can feel overwhelmed and underprepared. Plus, there’s an important bonding period that happens when owners first get a new pet. If the new owner does not have the time to invest in the new relationship, the whole relationship could be off to a rocky start.
Connections are unique
You often hear pet owners say, “They chose me,” or “I went to the shelter, and I just knew.” It’s very common for animals and humans to have a special bond that starts well before that animal is brought home. An animal that bonds with you, won’t necessarily bond with the person you’re gifting them to. It’s better to allow people to make their own connections with potential pets.
Adopt, Don’t shop!
If you still want to gift dogs to your loved ones this holiday season, please consider adopting from one of these SoCal-based organizations:
- Wags & Walks
- Adopt & Shop
- Marley’s Mutts
- Mutt Scouts
- West LA Animal Shelter
Getting a dog is a big responsibility, so make sure you’re ready for the commitment! Or better yet, forego the pet gifting and donate to an organization that will help animals. Or, give a gift that helps dogs in need. Happy holidays!