My friend Sharon told me a story about how one night her future husband was being very secretive when she stopped to visit him at work. All he would say is that he had a surprise for her and her 12-year old son back at the house.
Once she got home, she and her son heard a scuffling sound coming from the basement bathroom. Running down the stairs, her son opened the bathroom door and out bounded a yellow, fuzzy puppy! Sharon (who was a single mom, finishing her degree, and working three jobs) told me that all she could think about was how much more complicated her life just got.
Years later, Sharon and her husband are still together. The dog, however, was only with them for less than a year. The puppy that her husband was so excited about ended up being the source of a lot of conflict between them.
I have talked about in the past how much work it is to be a pet parent. There are a lot of hidden issues that can occur, such as allergies, your family’s temperament, and even finances that may make it even more difficult. That is why it is really not a good idea to bring home a “surprise” puppy.
Here are some things to consider if you want to give puppies as gifts:
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Allergies to Puppies
If you or your family members have not been around dogs, you may not know if they are allergic to them or not. Dog allergies can make a person miserable and you may not want to deal with family members having to avoid the family pet. More than likely, you will have to return the puppy, which can be emotionally difficult for you as well as for the animal. If allergies do exist, you can always adopt or rescue a dog that is less prone to cause allergies, like a poodle or goldendoodle. Our neighbors adopted a little toy poodle because the dad is allergic to dogs, and there have been no problems.
Flea Control for Puppies
Most new puppy parents don’t think about fleas and other parasites when they first get caught up in the excitement of a new puppy. Many times flea control isn’t even considered until the fleas are already in the house.
It’s best to be proactive in this area. You can easily get rid of fleas on dogs with Frontline, which is topical treatment (this is what I use on my dogs). You can choose your flea control product based on weight, and we usually wait until the puppy is at least 8 weeks old before the first treatment. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
Supplies for New Puppies
Puppies have special needs when you first bring them home; many of them are still useful as the dog grows up. You always need water and food bowls; appropriate puppy food; the right size collar and identification tag; a leash and harness for walking them. Have a good dog brush or comb, as all animals need to be brushed (unless they are hairless!). Be sure you have chosen a good, local vet and take them for an examination as soon as possible.
If the puppy will be outside, be sure to have adequate shelter, and spend time helping the puppy get used to his outside surroundings, including the dog house or shelter.
If the puppy will be inside, you may want it to be crate trained, or have its own doggy bed. Or if you want the little puppy to be able to get up on the bed or couch, you may choose a dog steps ramp, so they don’t have to jump or whine for you to lift them up. The dog ramps are also helpful for some breeds that are prone to hip problems from jumping up and down.
Have some good chew toys and chewable treats for them, for both training and play time. Puppies usually have lots of energy, so you’ll want to make sure they get enough exercise and playtime.
As you can see, adding a puppy to your family is the kind of commitment that should be discussed beforehand. If you love to surprise others with gifts, take my advice – give jewelry or tickets to fun events!!