A Christmas Gift That Keeps on Giving….and Costing! – by Trusten Moore

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A Christmas Gift That Keeps on Giving….and Costing!
It’s the time of the year when parents, boyfriends, and girlfriends surprise their loved ones with the best Christmas present ever… an adorable puppy! Who could resist a cute fluffy face sitting under the tree, the smell of puppy breath, and that bright pink tongue sticking out on Christmas morning?!

A Christmas Gift That Keeps on GivingI’ve seen this happen time and time again for the last ten years that I’ve been working in veterinary hospitals. The idea of getting someone a puppy seems perfect, right? However, most people do not think about the long-term commitment one has to make when owning a pet.

I’d like to talk about some things that one should consider when deciding to get someone a pet as a Christmas present.

  1. Does the individual REALLY want a pet?

  • This seems obvious, but have you had a conversation with this person about owning a pet? Have they expressed interest? The worst thing you can do is surprise someone with a pet when that is the last thing that they want.
  1. Are they equipped to have a pet?

  • A Christmas Gift That Keeps on GivingThink about the location of the individual. Do they live in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets? Do they have roommates that wouldn’t allow pets? Is there anyone in the household that is allergic to pets? Is this pet going to be indoors or outdoors?
  1. Do they understand the financial responsibility of owning a pet?

  • Owning a pet is not cheap! This is the most important thing in my opinion! Did you know that when you buy a puppy, it is likely that they need at least 3 more rounds of vaccines? Vaccination is important in puppies; however, it can be quite expensive. Is the new owner prepared for the vet visits? Does the new owner understand that the pet will need veterinary visits every year? Will they have funds set aside in case an emergency arises? Are they financially prepared to buy the appropriate food for the pet? Again, owning a pet is more than just buying it Ol’ Roy (gosh, please don’t do this!)
  1. Do you know what to look for when purchasing or adopting a pet?

  • During this time of year, sadly, puppy mills are selling pets left and right. We see many pets come into the hospital with parvovirus on Christmas day. Do your research and make sure the puppies are healthy and were raised in a healthy environment before purchasing.

This list could go on and on. Every year, shelters are bombarded with pets that are being surrendered because owners bought/received a pet as a gift and realized they couldn’t care for it. Getting a puppy for Christmas isn’t the same as buying your child a toy that he/she can play with once and then never touch again. Buying/adopting a pet is a life-long investment. Ask yourself the questions above before making this decision. If you ever have questions as to what to look for or consider, call your veterinarian and ask to speak to someone before making this huge commitment.

If you liked this article, read “Training to provide for all, yet neglecting ourselves” by Trusten Moore on our blog.

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