So You Want a Puppy for Christmas?
It’s about that time of year – time for gifts, Christmas trees, music and for many people, Christmas puppies! However, before you jump down this road, we strongly recommend that you do some research and know more of what you are getting yourselves into. Below we have 4 things we recommend considering before making this commitment.
Puppies are absolutely a huge time commitment, whatever size you decide to go with. It is best to do some research beforehand to know what to expect in this regard. Did you know most of them take 4-6 months before they are potty trained and can hold it all night or go the entire day in the kennel without an accident? This means you may need to start coming home on your lunch break to let them relieve their little bladders or be patient if there is a mess to clean up when you get home. You also need to plan on spending several hours per week working on training including basic commands, leash walking, kennel training, etc.
Having appropriate expectations for you and your puppy is a huge piece of the puzzle when deciding whether or not to get a dog this Christmas holiday. Depending on the breed and size of the dog, you need to be prepared for a 10-13 year commitment on average – wow that’s a long time! Owning a pet is a commitment for their entire lives, so you definitely need to think about if you will be moving, change in lifestyle, etc over that period of time.
Another huge expectation is determining what breed you want to get. We 100% recommend researching the breed prior to getting one if you are going through a breeder. Some dogs are made to be working dogs and will have high energy, some will be more prone to dig or get into things they shouldn’t. If you aren’t familiar please ask lots of questions and do some digging yourself. If you are considering a rescue we still recommend research but going and visiting them in person and getting to know their personality can also go a long way.
Finally, personalities between dogs can vary greatly. Some breeds are easier to predict in terms of personality, but some can definitely have quirks or particularities you will have to adjust to.
Dogs are absolutely very expensive and are considered a privilege to own (and obviously SO worth it!). But there may be some expenses you aren’t anticipating. We recommend doing research on the cost of dog food (which is a $87 billion dollar industry in 2018!!), treats, toys, bedding, training, doggie daycare (usually ranges $20-30/day), and grooming. Some dogs require hair cuts as often as we do that can cost $60-100 each time. Individually these things may not seem as much but they can add up very quickly. Feeling overwhelmed by this or really not sure? Definitely ask around and also call your vet to get some ideas of what to expect for cost when owning a pet. Speaking of costs, there is one other big thing you need to consider…
4) Vet Bills
Puppies and dogs also require medical care provided by your local vet. As a puppy they will require vaccine boosters, medications, preventions (heartworm, parasite, flea and tick), and also may require additional visits if something comes up (such as upset tummy or skin issues). Moving forward you also need to anticipate them getting sick occasionally (just like we do!) which can add up very quickly. We recommend setting aside an ‘emergency fund’ for your fur baby or considering pet insurance if you would like to split the cost up and have a fund to help cover some of this for you.
At The Pet Hospitals we do have an amazing program for your new addition! For just $39 per visit in their series, you will get to finish out any vaccine boosters they will need, have 2 fecal checks performed, 2 routine dewormings, and also get to meet one of our awesome vets! Did you go through a shelter or rescue? We love that! We actually do free exams and vaccine boosters for any of our rescue pets to help support all of our local shelters.
Owning a puppy or dog is absolutely one of the best and most rewarding things you can experience. We obviously highly recommend it! However, we do recommend considering all of this before making an addition this holiday season. Are you interested but not sure? Get in touch with a local rescue or shelter and see if you can foster for a while! This is a perfect way to see if you are ready for a commitment and will also help them out in a huge way!!