A Puppy for Christmas? Hold Off on that Hound!

A Puppy for Christmas? Hold Off on that Hound!

AKC® Recommends Parents Teach Responsible Dog Ownership

A cute, cuddly puppy is tops on many Christmas lists this year. Tempting though it may be to grant your children's holiday wish, the holidays are not the ideal time for new puppy ownership.

"The first few months of a puppy's life are extremely important—he will require your full, undivided attention and will need training, exercise, socialization, trips to the vet and lots of love and care," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's difficult to set aside the time a puppy needs during this important life stage."

Though nothing tugs harder at heartstrings than a cute, cuddly puppy, every adorable bundle of fur is a lifetime responsibility. Dogs can live up to 20 years (depending on the breed) and it's crucial that you know the recipient can care for the pet. This means providing plenty of exercise, training, veterinary care and - most importantly - lots of love and attention.

"Surprise your kids by gift-wrapping pet supplies such as a leash, food bowl, training book or a dog-related toy to symbolize the new family member you will add after the holiday," added Peterson. "Teach kids about responsible dog ownership as they prepare for the real thing. During any lulls in holiday celebrations, take time to research the breed that best suits your family's lifestyle, talk to your children about what doggie tasks they will own, and begin your search for a responsible breeder that produces happy, healthy puppies."

For tips on having a safe and happy holiday season with your dog, click here.