Santa Paws’ Dos and Don’ts

Elderly Corgi - Old dogs can learn new tricks
Consider adopting a full grown adult or elderly dog!
Graphic By Shelby Wallace.
Shelby Wallace
Writer/Graphic Designer
shjwallace@lc.edu

Getting a puppy for Christmas can seem like the best gift in the entire world. However, a lot of people tend to forget the responsibilities of bringing a new pet into the home as well as the financial aspects. In fact, many shelters see a spike of owner released pets right after the holidays. Before you decide to bring a new dog into the home this Christmas, here is a list of important Dos and Don’ts to consider.

DO make sure that you are financially able to take care of a new pet. Even a free dog can cost you hundreds of dollars. This includes money for monthly expenses such as food, treats, toys, flea/tick, shots/vaccinations, spay/neuter, nails, and other expenses but also having money saved in case of a medical emergency. The first-year cost of pet ownership exceeds $1,000, according to the ASPCA.

DO consider adopting a full grown dog. Many adult and elderly dogs spend years in shelters because puppies are the first to go. Full grown dogs are past the high-energy growing phase that puppies go through, making full grown dogs much more relaxed around children and other pets. This also means that you can see the personality of the dog and know what you are getting yourself into. They also have a lot of love to give- they’ve been around for awhile and all they want is a warm bed to sleep in. Forget the rumor that old dogs don’t learn new tricks- this is a false blanket statement! Any dog can learn new commands and tricks, and an adult or elderly dog will probably be much more patient when it comes to training.

DO consider adopting, even if you are dead set on a puppy. Not only are adoption fees much cheaper than the price tag for a pedigree dog, but you are making a difference by saving a life. Many believe that by adopting from a shelter the dog is more prone to health problems but this is simply not true! In fact, a full bred pedigree dog is much more likely to have genetically related health problems due to inbreeding, and their life spans are much shorter than mixed breeds.

DO have an open mind and heart. Pitbull and pitbull mixes are the number one breed across all states that fill up shelters due to the stigma that pitbulls are “dangerous” and “bad” dogs. This has been proven false many many times. In fact, the American Pit Bull Terrier tested better on the American Temperament Test than 121 other breeds of dogs- including Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Cocker Spaniels!

DON’T bring a new dog into the home without first introducing them to your other household pets. Imagine bringing home a new dog for Christmas only for it to end in a dogfight and having to take the dog back to the shelter after your family has already gotten attached.

DON’T get a new dog unless you have time to give them. This means that you have time to take care of them, play with them, take them for walks, give them attention, and train them. A dog is a huge responsibility, much like a child, and deciding to bring one home is an important decision to make. Vets recommend that your dog should spend between 30 minutes to two hours on an activity every day, and many high-energy breeds such as shepherds and hounds, require more.  

DON’T forget to get your dog to the vet as soon as you get them so that your vet can assess if they need any shots, vaccinations, heartworm testing, nail trimming, or teeth cleaning. You should also consider spay/neutering your dog so that you don’t end up with an accidental litter.

Overall, a new dog can bring joy to almost anyone and ultimately it is your decision whether a dog is right for your home or not but please consider your dog’s needs and well being as well.

To see available dogs for adoption near you, please visit petfinder.com

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