A dog is for life not just for Christmas: Things to consider when buying a dog

If you are thinking about buying a dog as a gift this Christmas, it is best to consider this advice from the Dogs Trust before you welcome a lovable furry friend into your home

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At Irish Country Magazine we are avid dog lovers and while dogs are famously known as “man’s best friend”, it is safe to say that they are also a woman’s closet and most loyal companion through the good times and the bad. Our dogs hold a very special place in our hearts, we share our home and our lives with them, and if you are thinking about getting a puppy or a dog as a gift this Christmas remember that a dog is for life and they require a commitment of care.

In January of this year it was reported by the Irish Sun that the charity Dogs Trust, had received 186 calls from people who wanted to hand over their dog after the festive holidays, which was a 22% increase. Dogs Trust wants to encourage people to stop and think about the reality of having a dog and to question if you are really ready to welcome one into your home. Here are some things that the animal welfare group want you to think about this Christmas:

Reasons why getting a dog at Christmas is not a good idea:

Attention – A puppy, especially one who has recently left the comfort of his littermates and mum, will crave attention and comfort and you may not have the time to provide this at a busy time like Christmas.

Guests - Christmas is often the busiest time of year in homes with lots of guests and excitement, this can be overwhelming for any puppy. If puppies are overwhelmed and frightened by visitors this can easily lead to behaviour problems in the future.

Housetraining – Housetraining a puppy takes a few weeks, lots of patience, routine and consistency with the whole family, and most importantly you need to be there to recognise when your puppy needs to ‘go’. With the festivities, this can be difficult to do as your concentration can be on preparing meals and wrapping presents.

Trees and decorations - Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year for most of us but with lots of forbidden foods and decorations within reach, it can be a very busy time for veterinary practices around the country. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and alcohol are toxic to dogs and rich fatty foods can cause serious damage. You’d need eyes on the back of your head with a puppy being around all of these harmful temptations!

Gifts – There are usually lots of new, expensive gifts lying around at Christmas and puppies like and need to chew; they cannot differentiate between cheap and expensive items.

Timing – Gifts at Christmas are an indulgence for our loved ones – puppies are a 13 year commitment and simply not a material item to be gifted as a surprise. Puppies need stability, routine and a calm environment to settle into, and as wonderful as Christmas is, this is not the time of the year to make such a commitment.

What to consider if you want a puppy:

  • Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment. The average dog lives for 13 years.
  • Dogs aren’t cheap to care for. You should expect to spend around €10,000 over his / her lifetime depending on the size of the dog.
  • Puppies can be extremely hard work for an owner, particularly if there are young children in the house – do you have enough time to spend with your pup?
  • Dogs don’t come fully trained. They can cause a lot of damage to your possessions through chewing and accidents. How committed are you to training your dog?
  • Christmas is always a very hectic time of year with relatives and friends arriving. This isn’t the best time to introduce a new dog to the house.
  • Online sale | purchase of puppies:

  • Dogs Trust acknowledges that the internet is an accessible way of purchasing gifts quickly, but the impulse buying of pets and animals poses the enormous risk of attracting many unscrupulous breeders.
  • Consumers could, unintentionally, end up purchasing a pet online from a puppy farm. Such puppies often have physical and behavioural problems as a result of poor breeding and transportation conditions.
  • Dogs Trust urges people to think carefully about the type of dog they want and to be extremely selective about who and where they buy it from.
  • If you would like more information visit Dogs Trust.

    Compiled by Tracey Donaghey

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