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.