Blogs are a wonderful opportunity for companies to share pertinent, important information in an unbiased way that helps their customers make informed decisions. Such is the case with this post for SEO and Marketing Guru Kristen Thompson of St. Petersburg-based Thompson Marketing Partners. One of the topics she identified for me to cover was how weighty the decision to buy a Christmas puppy should be for her Jacksonville-based Community Pet Care Clinic. Maybe this will help guide you if you’re thinking about adding to the family this holiday season.
How to prepare if Santa wants to leave a puppy under the tree.
It’s hard to imagine anything cuter than some delightful puppy breath at Christmas time. But it’s a gift that shouldn’t be given lightly. The ASPCA reports that 3.9 million dogs are taken to animal shelters in the U.S. each year, often because their families didn’t have the time or resources to properly care for them. While a new puppy at Christmas time can be a joyful and heartfelt gift, it should never be a surprise that wasn’t carefully thought through.
The person receiving a new furry bundle of joy from Old Saint Nick needs to be able to commit to 10 to 15 (or more) years of care. They should also be able to afford food, veterinarian care, and toys and other supplies. Equally important is the return gift of time–the time and energy needed for house and obedience training, and the ability to maintain a schedule that works for both the dog and its owner. If all of these considerations and have answered with a resounding “yes,” then it’s time to think through the process of giving a new puppy.
Find the best match for the new family.
Start by creating a list of the ideal qualities that the recipient will want in a new dog. Be sure to include coat length, size when fully grown, and overall temperament. You should also consider the level of activity this new dog owner will be able to accommodate. It might not be wise to give a border collie, which requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation, to someone who leads a more sedentary life. A lap dog might be a better fit for that person. The American Kennel Club website has a detailed list of more than 150 breeds you can review to find the right match. This can even guide you if you’re planning a trip the local shelter or pet rescue as you’ll have a general idea of traits for specific breeds that might be in the new mixed puppy that’s caught your eye.
Look for healthy new additions.
Some of America’s favorite breeds may have distinct health issues in their genetic makeup. For instance, the Siberian Husky is prone to autoimmune disorders, many of which affect the skin. Bulldogs are prone to respiratory problems. Labrador retrievers are especially prone to obesity. Boxers are at a higher risk for certain types of cancer, including lymphoma and mast cell tumors. WebMD offers a slideshow of the 25 most popular dog breeds and their health issues so you can be better informed when choosing your gift.
What should you give with a new puppy?
Especially if the puppy is a surprise, its new owner will not be prepared to care for it on day one. Make sure a new puppy is always given with essential items, like food, food and water dishes, a collar and leash, bedding, toys (especially chew toys), treats, and pee pads to help in the potty-training process. It’s also thoughtful to give a book on how to train a puppy, information on the type of breed, or even contact information on a nearby dog training class.
Maybe you don’t give an actual puppy at all?
The decision to bring a dog into the family is a big one that is perhaps best made together. If you want to give a puppy, perhaps the greatest gift would be one of puppy planning. Wrap up some dog toys with a gift certificate from a pet adoption agency. Give a book on dog breeds or spend some time perusing Animal Planet’s dog breed selector to help narrow the search. You can even print out pictures of adoptable pets at your local animal shelter and offer to take a trip to meet them the day after Christmas.
See your vet first.
The most important thing you can do before you take a puppy to its new home, at Christmas or any other time of the year, is to bring it to Jacksonville Community Pet Clinic first for a checkup. One of our experienced veterinarians can spot any congenital birth defects or health problems that you can’t see yet. You don’t want to purchase or adopt a dog they’ll fall in love with from day one, only to have heartbreak down the road. Plus, we can treat and diagnose fleas or any other parasites before you introduce them into a home with other pets, as well as give the puppy its first round of pet shots.