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If you don’t think too hard about it, the idea of giving or receiving a puppy as a Christmas present might seem wonderful. Everyone loves puppies after all, and for many children, this would be the type of gift that they would remember with great joy well into adulthood.
The idea of a gorgeous pup popping out of a large box under the Christmas tree is something most of us associate with warm feelings of happiness and good cheer; but the reality of giving and receiving pets as presents is vastly different.
Unfortunately, online searches for puppies for sale often increase by a huge degree in the run-up to Christmas, indicating that a disappointing number of prospective buyers plan on getting a puppy at Christmastime or perhaps even giving a dog or puppy as a present.
This is despite the usual cautions from all major UK animal charities not to give pets as presents; and many rehoming shelters and charities actually suspend adoptions during December entirely so that dogs and puppies are not given as gifts, nor have to contend with seasonal upheaval at the same time as getting used to their new home.
“A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®” is more than just a slogan; it is also a strong, stark warning that anyone considering getting a dog as a present should bear in mind. However, even despite the funds and effort that animal welfare charities spend every year trying to educate people about why giving pets as presents is a bad idea, the first few weeks of each new year sees a steep increase in dog abandonment rates as the novelty of that Christmas puppy wears off, and the reality of the commitment of dog ownership involves sets in.
Even if you have been planning to get a dog for a long time, have done all of the appropriate research, and are fully ready to undertake responsible dog ownership, Christmas is not a good time of the year to bring a new puppy or dog home.
This is because puppies and adult dogs alike go through a huge upheaval when they are rehomed or leave their breeder and dam for the first time, which requires a calm, stable new environment, the full attention of their new owner, and the establishment of their new routine to be undertaken sympathetically in order to help them to settle in.
Christmas is a time of the year when everyone’s routine is disrupted to an extent, even if you don’t celebrate the holiday yourself; and so, is exactly the wrong time of the year to bring home a pet.
Additionally, giving pets as presents is not a good idea at any time of the year nor for whoever the present is intended, however sure you are of their preferences; whether that pet be for an adult, or your own child.
If you’re reading this article, you’re almost certainly a dog lover, whether you currently own a dog or not; and you may well have already been aware of everything written above, and hopefully if you were not, you are now convinced that giving a puppy or adult dog as a Christmas present is a very poor idea.
Information published by the UK’s largest dedicated dog charity The Dogs Trust indicates that not all apparent dog lovers are convinced that giving a puppy as a present is a bad idea, however, which is of cause for great concern to the charity itself.
The Dogs Trust and other rehoming charities and shelters are on the sharp end of dealing with unwanted, abandoned and surrendered Christmas dogs and puppies; and such charities tend to be full to capacity all year round, and so any increase in potential abandonments can herald disaster for such charities and their already stretched resources.
Due to this, The Dogs Trust keeps a close eye on all potential channels of information that might enable them to monitor and plan ahead for potential future increases in abandonment rates, particularly around common flashpoints like the post-Christmas slump when puppy buyer remorse is apt to kick in.
As part of this, The Dogs Trust analysed trends and changes in a number of key online search terms people might use year-round if looking for a dog or puppy for sale and compared them to their occurrence rates around Christmas, to identify if the number of such searches rise or fall in the run-up to Christmas itself.
What the charity learned last year signals bad news for the fate of lots of dogs and puppies bought on a whim over the festive period. Based on internet search trend analysis from 2018:
As a result of this, The Dogs Trust launched its first-ever Christmas TV advert this year, which as you might expect, cautions people not to get a dog or puppy for Christmas. If you know someone who is considering buying a dog or puppy at Christmas, or worse, giving one as a gift to someone else, please do the responsible thing; explain to them why this is a terrible idea, and share The Dog’s Trust advert with them too.
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