Doggies don’t belong under the tree

Posted By elaine on December 15, 2009

Puppies can be a risky gift!

Puppies can be a risky gift!

Many pet stores put cute doggies and kitties in the store window and people think that an animal with a big red bow around the neck will be the perfect gift; but before you put a new pet on the shopping list, the Colorado Department of Agriculture urges families to consider carefully before purchasing animals as holiday gifts.


“Children running to a new puppy or kitten on Christmas morning can make wonderful holiday memories but it is important to consider how the pet can affect the entire family for years to come,” said Kate Anderson, CDA’s Pet Animal Care Facilities program administrator.  



Families are encouraged to do their research.  Each breed of animal has different sizes, temperaments and care requirements.  Families should consider which animal will adapt to their needs the best.  For example, an active dog may not fit into an apartment as well as a home with a big backyard and some breeds are better with children than others.  Do you have time to give the dog the exercise it will need?



The cost of pet ownership does not end with the purchase price.  New owners need to be aware that even a healthy pet will require routine health care over the course of its life in addition to food, supplies and the all important toys and treats!  If a pet becomes ill or is injured, it can become expensive to properly care for that pet.  Be prepared financially and welcome a new pet into your family when everyone has time and energy to properly train and care for the new arrival.  



Stress, coupled with the young age of many of the animals makes them more susceptible to disease.   Young animals may appear healthy even after they have been exposed to a disease agent.  After exposure, it can take up to 14 days for signs of illness to appear and many animals arriving at pet shops or adoption facilities may only stay in the store or kennel for three or four days prior to being picked by a new owner.  While pet shops are required to disclose any signs of disease or treatment received by the animal 30 days prior to sale, there may not be enough time for the animal to show signs of disease while in the facility.  This means the animal may become ill days after it is purchased or adopted.  Be sure to read the adoption/purchase contract so know your options if your new pet becomes ill. 

Pet Shops

christmas puppy

Puppies should never be a surprise gift.

This also brings up the buying a pet in a store.  This is not a good idea, ethical breeders NEVER sell puppies to stores.  It is important not to buy a puppy from a store as an impulse or pity purchase.  This can be hard when you see a puppy in a decorated store window, but it is important.  If you are looking for a purebred make sure that you find a breeder that knows the health of the parents and has the certifications to prove it.  Also most ethical breeders will hold a puppy until after the holiday rush is over and the puppy can be properly introduced into the home.  Some breeders will take pictures and you could create a gift basket with puppy supplies like brushes, dishes, and a leash and place a picture of the puppy in the basket.  PUPPIES SHOULD NEVER BE A SURPRISE!!!   Dogs are a lifestyle and they will be around for years.  A dog should be a concious thought out decision.    If you are just looking for a lovable pet, consider adoption.


Postpone Adoption

Holiday pet purchases must be done very carefully.  Veterinarians and other animal experts suggest that the purchase of a pet be put off until after the stress of the holiday season is over.  Families are traveling, households are bustling, and holiday decorations present many hazards for new pets.  This is not always the ideal time to introduce a pet into your family.   Consider purchasing a gift certificate that could be redeemed after the holiday, and give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect pet. Most adoption organizations will have a holiday adoption certificate that you can put under the tree. 


“Pets can add a lot of affection and dedication to a family,” continued Anderson.  “We just want to make sure families consider the affection and dedication they must give back to that pet.”

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