Getting a Puppy for Christmas
I am hoping to get a new pet for Christmas. Do you have any advice?
Congratulations! You already have taken the first step of responsible pet ownership: Educate yourself and ask questions. This will help you find a pet that is best suited to your household. Many disappointing mismatches that result in unhappy owners and a neglected or discarded pet could be prevented by considering all the factors before making a selection.
First, ask yourself if your current lifestyle can fairly accommodate a pet. This includes (1) finances, (2) living space, and (3) recreational time. Note that cost is not limited to purchase or adoption fees. It also covers preventive veterinary care, quality pet food, vaccinations, parasite control (worms and fleas), grooming (for some pets), spay/neuter, and expenses for unforeseen accidents or illnesses. Neglecting these essentials can result in a more costly treatment, illness or even the loss of a pet. Take time to research a necessary budget in your area for animal ownership. Remember that a large animal will require more food and more money for medications.
Next, consider your living space. Cats and pocket pets (gerbils, guinea pigs, etc.) will require less living space than large dogs or rambunctious puppies. It's easy to forget that some cute, fuzzy puppies grow into larger dogs who need a lot of space for exercise. This is especially true of breeds like Dalmatians and Labradors, to name a couple. Guinea pigs are an example of social animals who require less room.
The third consideration is an important one. All pets deserve attention and proper care. They thrive on interaction with their owners, and owners will receive the greatest rewards if they have adequate time to invest in a pet. If you work long hours or must travel pet-free, delay pet adoption. Parents of young children are often too busy to train a puppy while dealing with a hectic holiday season. Wait until the holiday chaos subsides, then select your pet. Another option is to visit local animal shelters and select a pet to be adopted just after the holiday.
A pet can truly enrich your quality of life if you take time to make a good match. Best wishes for your search.