Santa, Bring Me a Puppy!

Your kids have probably already given you their Christmas Wish Lists.  A very popular thing that many kids ask for is a cute, cuddly puppy.  As they’re making their lists, it’s a good idea for mom and dad to check it twice and consider all the possibilities before getting a pet as a holiday gift.

All the kids are thinking about is how fun having a puppy will be.  Many of us remember the classic Pepsi-Cola ad with the cute little boy surrounded by adorable puppies in the grass showering him with wet, sloppy kisses.  But, what about taking the dog out during the cold, brisk winter months?  The expense of boarding them when you want to leave town or go on that family vacation to Florida?  Making sure your dog gets fed every morning before school or work?  Potty-training them and the costs involved with their day-to-day care?

Before you’re quick to grant their wishes, here’s some helpful things to consider:

Choose an age-appropriate pet – If there’s a high probability that “you” will be taking care of the cat or dog vs. your child, consider buying a smaller pet such as a hamster, goldfish, or hermit crab, which is easier for children to take care of.

Check credentials of breeders’ and shelters’ – If you find a puppy online, do not send money without speaking to the breeder first and checking references.  Do your research on the breeder and call to verify membership with an American Kennel Club-affiliated club.

Beware of buying a pet through a classified ad – Some scammers make big money selling pets that they stole from people’s property or public areas.  Make sure a pet seller has proper paperwork for the animal you’re buying.

Factor in the costs of owning a pet – The average cost of owning a small or medium-size dog is up to $500/year, and larger dogs even more.  A cat may cost up to $400/year.  You may want to consider buying medical insurance for your pet.  Veterinary care can be costly, especially when there’s a health problem or your pet gets injured.

Allergies to pets? – Do your research.  Find out which breeds do best with allergy sufferers.  While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, dogs with non-shedding coats and less dander are the ones to consider for your family.  

Keeping your pets healthy and disease-free – Caring for your family’s health includes keeping your pets healthy.  Learn the basics of veterinary care and the costs associated with maintaining healthy pets.

Pets Are Good for the Soul – There are many health benefits to owning a pet.  Research has shown that a pet can have a positive affect on a person’s overall mental and emotional state, such as lowing blood pressure and increasing physical activity.  Read more about the health benefits associated with pet ownership.

No doubt, there’s countless gifts that come with owning a pet.  Just be wise and consider all your options first before rushing out to buy Fido for your family.

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