Tis the season for gift giving, but there is never a good time of year to give a puppy as a surprise present. The American Kennel Club (AKC®) reminds those considering giving a puppy as a gift to think twice.
“A dog is a serious commitment, and you should never surprise someone with a puppy they aren’t ready to keep for a lifetime,” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “A dog needs to suit your lifestyle, and it’s important to consider the energy level, size, coat and temperament of a puppy – as well as your own readiness – before you make a decision.”
Consider wrapping dog supplies such as a leash or bowl to symbolize the gift of a puppy to come – this will give the recipient time to do their research and prepare for the commitment.
During their critical first weeks at home, puppies require a great deal of time, love, and attention. Therefore, every prospective owner should carefully consider their schedule and circumstances before bringing a new pet into their home. This is especially true during the holidays when parties, travel, or out-of-town visitors might adversely affect your ability to give a new puppy all the attention he or she deserves. If your holidays will be hectic, wait until after the hustle and bustle.
The AKC also reminds dog owners of the following tips to keep their four-legged friends safe and happy this holiday season:
- Holiday Dangers Facing Dogs & Puppies -
- Avoid using food such as popcorn or cranberry strands as holiday decorations. If eaten, they can cause blockages, which can require surgery to remove. Puppies are notorious chewers when young and will look to get anything they can.
- Place ornaments, tinsel, glass bulbs, and things that sparkle and catch your dog’s eye higher up on your tree where he can’t reach them. Ornaments can cause major problems for your dog or puppy if ingested.
- Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets, so keep them out of your dog’s reach.
- If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure your dog doesn’t swallow the pine needles or drink the tree water which can cause stomach irritation, or contain poisonous plant food. Try putting a gate around the tree to keep your dog away, or consider getting an artificial tree.
- Puppies like to chew and explore, and exposed wires from holiday lights pose a threat to your curious little friend – if he chews on them, he could be electrocuted. Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your dog can’t reach them.
- Be careful with candles around your house, as a wagging tail can knock them over and cause serious burns or even start a house fire.
- Common holiday foods such as chocolate, butter, turkey skin, fat, and candy can make your dog very ill. Take care to keep these foods out of reach.
For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.