What to Consider Before Buying a Puppy for Christmas

December 20, 2018

Puppies make the perfect family pets, but do they make the perfect gift for Christmas?

A new puppy is a present that comes with no gift receipt and no exchange policy. They require a lot of care and a lot of hard work, but boy, they are worth it if you and your home are ready to take on the responsibility. If you or someone you know is asking for one or planning to purchase one this holiday season — here are a couple of things to consider:

Consider your costs.

Something that a lot of new pet owners don’t always realize is the list of costs that come along with your new furry friend. Dogs need food and treats for the day-to-day and, while it seems obvious, those payments do add up more than you realize. There are additional upfront costs like collars and leashes to consider as well. Before you buy, it is also a good idea to plan for those big purchases like veterinary visits, grooming appointments, obedience classes, and boarding costs if you travel.

According to a study by the ASPCA, and reported in Money Under 30, the total first-year cost of owning a dog is $1,270:

  • Spaying or Neutering: $200
  • Initial Medical Exam: $70
  • Collar or Leash: $30
  • Crate: $95 (depending on size)
  • Carrying Crate: $60
  • Training: $110
  • Food: $120
  • Annual Medical Exams: $235
  • Toys and Treats: $55
  • License: $15
  • Pet Health Insurance: $225
  • Miscellaneous: $45

It’s important to consider the financial aspects of being not only a pet-owner but being a new pet-owner. It is certainly a growing list, but did we mention they are worth it?

Consider your routine.

One of the biggest changes when you get a new puppy will be, undoubtedly, your daily routine. Puppies require patience, and training is hard work. Puppies also need to be walked and fed more frequently than an adult dog. That includes all weather conditions and even when you’re running late for work. It is also important to note that there will sometimes be mishaps and messes to clean. Consider if you have the time in your schedule for puppy care:

  • Puppies need to be taken outside every 1-2 hours. A general rule is that a puppy can hold it for as many hours as she is old, plus one (dogtime.com).
  • When outside, plan for about 5 minutes of exercise per month age twice a day, so 15 minutes for a 3-month-old, 20 minutes for a 4-month-old, and so on, (thekennelclub.org).
  • Plan for about 15-minute training sessions each day (thesprucepets.org).
  • Many puppies may need up to four feedings a day (akc.org).

While these are some simple rules, to give you an idea of the time commitment of being a new pet-owner, it’s important to talk to your vet and research your breed for more information about their diet, exercise, and training.

Dogs will love you more than you ever could imagine and bring more happiness to you than you ever expected. The rewards really outweigh the work. So the answer is yes: they do make the perfect gift for Christmas. Just remember, they require a lot of love and care, as well as personal and financial responsibility.

Need a place to take your new pup? Apply for the Dog Park Dash!