Mid Illinois, Springfield / Decatur

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Big Surprise; Big Responsibility

  December 08, 2018

By Bret Peterson, DVM, Laketown Animal Hospital

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, a time to get together to celebrate with family and friends as well as a time to exchange gifts. The thought of having a loved one open a box with a happy, cuddly puppy inside is a powerful one, and it’s one that is difficult to ignore. After all, who wouldn’t want to unwrap a bundle of joy under the tree? Before giving a puppy as a gift, either to your own children or to another family, here are some things to consider.

  1. Does the family even want a puppy?
    As much fun as it might be to give a puppy as a gift, the family may not even want one for any number of reasons. Before adding the responsibility of caring for another living creature to their lives, be sure a new puppy is something they want.

  2. Do they have the time?
    Having a puppy at home requires a lot of training, especially at first. Teaching the puppy when and where to go to the bathroom, when to eat, what to chew on (and what not to chew on) all takes time. Puppies need training and socialization and shouldn’t be left alone more that a couple of hours when they’re young. Make sure the family getting the puppy is prepared for the work involved in properly raising a dog. Additionally, caring for a dog can be a 10 to 15 year commitment, so the recipient needs to be ready for this long-term responsibility.

  3. Can they afford it?
    Puppies can be expensive. Food, supplies such as bowls and a crate, toys, training, and veterinary care all cost money. Be prepared to take the puppy to your veterinarian about every three weeks until the age of four months for vaccinations, deworming, parasite prevention (including heartworm and fleas), and general health care.

  4. Are there other pets in the house?
    A new rambunctious puppy may not be immediately welcomed by other pets. Introducing a new pet to the household needs to be done slowly and properly to prevent aggression and other unwanted behaviors.

  5. Is the puppy for a child (or children)?
    Unwrapping a puppy as a gift can be a joyous moment for a child, and pets can be a great tool to help children learn responsibility, but ultimately the adults in the house are the ones responsible for the puppy’s wellbeing. Are the adults ready to take on the care of a pet?

  6. Is the breed of puppy compatible with the new owner’s lifestyle?
    Some breeds require a lot of space and exercise, while other breeds are better suited for a less active lifestyle or a smaller space (like an apartment). Ask your veterinarian which breeds would be recommended for the environment the new puppy will be entering.
Giving a puppy as a gift can be a wonderful surprise, but it is also a big responsibility. Be sure you have answered all these questions thoroughly before deciding to gift a puppy. If you have any other questions, or if you need some guidance to make sure this process goes well for everyone involved, please schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians at Laketown Animal Hospital. Happy holidays!

For more information, please visit www.laketownanimalhospital.com
or call 217-529-4211. You can also follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/laketownanimalhospital) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/laketownanimal).
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December 08, 2018


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