Puppies as a Present?
Its that time of year again when we are all searching for something lovely for our friends and family for Christmas. What would make a more lovely gift for our kids or niece or nephew than a puppy or young dog!! Puppies and young dogs are beautiful little things and a great present for our loved ones but all too often in my profession we see many of these animals, given as gifts over Christmas, end up being surrendered or abandoned at pet shelters and vet clinics across the country.
The reasons for this are many and varied
Often the abandonment is related to being unable to keep the animal where a family live or a pup/ household mismatch (e.g. a Great Dane in an apartment!), a general misunderstanding about how much work and responsibility is involved in taking on a new pet (e.g. who will look after the dog when you go on holidays, who will pay the pet boarding fees?) and finally an unwelcome financial burden, particularly if the puppy becomes unwell, or the new owners become informed about any underlying, often breed specific, diseases that the animal may succumb to.
I know it is boring and takes the edge off the surprise but you really need to talk to those who will be ultimately responsible for the care of the puppy or dog BEFORE you buy it. Make sure the puppy is vet checked, vaccinated and microchipped* BEFORE you buy it so at least you (and/or the new owners) know what you are getting into, particularly in terms of specific breed related problems.
Lastly, owners should really consider some type of savings or insurance plan for the new dog. There is a good range of affordable pet insurance policies available now with a range of covers ranging from purely accident cover to general cover. Also, some house insurance policies actually cover accidental pet injury such as being hit by a car, so this is worth investigating.
If pet insurance is not really an option for you then just consider putting a few dollars a week away in a savings account or piggy bank for your new pet. I have quite a few owners on restricted incomes that do this so that they can cover all the routine treatments that occur throughout the year such as flea/worming preventions, grooming and vaccinations. It’s a simple way to prepare for and make sure you can afford to give your new pet what it needs.
Puppies and new dogs can be unpredictable and you can never guarantee what will happen but with a bit of forethought and planning you can certainly prevent many problems from occurring and make sure that your present is the best Christmas present EVER!