Don’t get a puppy for Christmas

One of the other parents at school today told me they’re getting a puppy for Christmas. They finally caved in after the relentless nagging for a dog from their children and a puppy has been ordered. Being the straight-talker that I am I tried to convince her to change her mind but I think it’s probably too late for them. So here are my reasons for anyone else considering getting a dog.

Dogs need to be walked every day

Dogs need to be walked every day, preferably twice a day. This needs to happen whatever the weather – rain, snow, wind, sun, hail. If you don’t have time to walk a dog then don’t get a dog.

Dogs are expensive

If you get a dog be prepared to watch your disposable income decline. There are vet bills, dog walker salaries, kennel fees, groomers, flea and worming treatments, leads and collars, poop bags, and dog food. The bigger the dog the more food they eat. As they get older and need the vet more the costs can skyrocket. One of the dogs I doggy-sit needed surgery recently and it cost £500.

It’s hard to go away for holidays

You have to find someone to care for your dog if you want to go away or find accommodation that accepts dogs. If you put the dog in a kennel you’ll feel miserable – it’s like a prison for them – and then you won’t enjoy the holiday because you’ll feel bad about abandoning the dog. If you take the dog with you it restricts your options for accommodation and activities. You can forget about going skiing all day long.

You have to get up early every day to let the dog out

Unless you have a dog flap, you will need to let the dog out every night before bed and first thing each morning so they can pee. Our kids are big and like sleeping in now so after years and years of having to get up to babies and then toddlers we finally get to sleep in on weekends. This is not true if you have a dog because they need letting out.

Dogs need baths

Unless you want a house that smells of dog you will need to bath the dog. This is relatively easy but time-consuming and another chore to add to the already long list of chores parents have. You can get a groomer to do it but this will add to the expenses.

Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs and they have so many redeeming qualities. They’re loyal, make good companions, will love you unconditionally, lower your stress, and force you to go outside and get some exercise (as long as you take them for walks, lots of walks). But you don’t need to own a dog to get these benefits. You can borrow a doggy (which is what we do) and get all the good stuff but none of the bad. If you absolutely must get a dog then consider getting a dog from the pound. There are so many dogs looking for homes and not enough homes for them to go to.

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7 Replies to “Don’t get a puppy for Christmas”

  1. Completely agree with everything you wrote. My family always had dogs growing up, and it pretty much drove where we could go, and what we could do as a family. I’m the same way as you – I love them, but I wouldn’t even think about getting one until we have retired (unless we end up working from home perhaps).

    1. I work from home which is why we can look after Borrow My Doggy dogs and we’re happy to stick with that. We just get two dogs regularly (on different days of the week) and the dogs have got to know us and we know them well now too. The owners tell me the dogs get excited when they come to our house which makes me feel good and our kids are happy with the arrangement. It has stopped them nagging us for a dog!

  2. This sounds like buyers remorse post, Rachel! But I do agree.

    1. Not at all because we don’t own a dog. We look after two different Borrow My Doggy dogs but that’s it and we’re really happy with the arrangement. Lola comes on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Millie comes on Tuesday and Thursday. We occasionally have them overnight when their owners go away.

  3. I agree with you on all points: I make a fair amount of money on the side looking after other people’s dogs while they’re traveling. The dogs are often unhappy, though I knock myself out trying to keep them amused. I think dogs, or all animals for that matter, seriously miss their humans and are more than a little hurt that they were left behind. When I had a dog, I felt terrible the first time we left him in boarding—the expression on his face was unmistakably sad. So we took him on all of our trips, which were inevitably via automobile, and spent extra money on hotels that allowed dogs. We also skipped any activity that didn’t allow us to bring the dog with us. It’s a big sacrifice for the family, though in retrospect, I am glad our dog got to share our adventures on the road.

    Also, some of the issues you bring up make a dog a perfect companion for an older person living alone. A dog will get you out of bed in the morning and outside for those daily walks. The many things you have to do for a dog make great occupational therapy for an older person struggling with arthritis and other mobility issues. Someone who dislikes exercise or is so depressed they don’t want to get out of bed will give their dog a bath or fix them breakfast, because they love their dog that much. But for a busy family, those additional tasks can be too much. My older daughter loved her dog, but with two young children and a spouse who came home late from work, they ended up hiring a professional dog walker and sitter for those days they had to leave town or when she was too sick to go outdoors. Jingjing was a wonderful dog and we miss her very much, but I suspect my daughter is relieved they don’t have to worry about her anymore.

    1. Yes, I completely agree about the therapy dogs and dogs as companions for people living alone especially retired people who will be home during the day. There are also benefits for autistic children with having dogs around. It’s really the families with both parents working who really don’t need a dog and I see it happen time and time again where they have good intentions but the dog inevitably ends up left alone for long hours Monday – Friday.

  4. The two dogs our family owned were some of the best choices we ever made in purchases, but I see your point, too. And we worked from home and homeschooled. That said, I have to totally agree with you on the Christmas thing. Our veterinarian friend opened our eyes to that one. So many people get puppies for the holidays, and the weather is the worst so it’s difficult for training and walks in many places. People get frustrated and abandon the dogs months later. Soooo sad. Since so many get puppies as Christmas gifts, breeders make sure there are puppy supplies at the time. If we all stopped getting them at that time of the year, there might not be so many puppies then and that could lead to less frustration and abandonment.

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