How to give a puppy as a gift?

Table of Contents

  1. Is the recipient already overwhelmed with other responsibilities that require his or her complete attention? A person who is coping with financial stress, sick family members, or a demanding job may not be able to maintain a puppy.
  2. Does this person spend a great deal of time away from home? If so, is there someone at home who can dedicate time to puppy care?
  3. Does the recipient have the space to house another member of the family?
  4. Can this person afford a puppy? Even a healthy dog is a financial responsibility; pet food and well pet care are not cheap. If the puppy turns out to have medical issues, the costs could run into the thousands.
  5. How stable is this individual? A new puppy may seem like a good way to help someone become more responsible, but the reality is that puppies are not training wheels; they need responsible, caring homes from the moment they arrive.
  6. Is this person going through (or about to go through) major life changes? A couple expecting a baby, a recent high school or college graduate, or a senior whose health is declining are all examples of people who probably do not need a puppy in their lives.
  7. Will the new puppy owner survive to care for the dog over the next 10 to 20 years? This question should be asked when you are considering the idea of giving a puppy to a lonely senior. If that individual is not likely to outlive the pet, will you be willing and able to give it a home?
  8. If you are giving a puppy to a child, are the child’s parents supportive of the idea? Children delight in puppy presents for holiday surprises, but breathing gifts cannot be shoved under the bed and forgotten when the latest must-have gadget has more appeal. Remember—even if Fido is for the kids, the parent ultimately holds responsibility for the well-being of the pet. Will the child’s parents have the time to spend on one-on-one attention a new pet needs and deserves?

We’ve all heard the advice: Never, ever give pets as gifts. But what if that conventional thinking is misplaced? That’s what some animal adoption experts want to change.

“When people think about pets as gifts, they’re thinking about the worst case scenario — that have no interest in getting a pet,” says Christa Chadwick, CAWA Vice President of Shelter Services for the ASPCA. “We think it’s perfectly cool and okay to give pets as gifts as long as you have an understanding that the person you’re giving the pet to has an interest in owning one.”

The nonprofit’s philosophy stems from a 2013 study it conducted and published in Animals, an international peer-reviewed open access journal. After polling 222 people who had received pets as gifts, the authors found no significant relationship between receiving a dog or cat as a gift and the attachment the pet owners felt for their animals. Not only were 86% of the pets still in the home, but a majority of respondents said that receiving a pet as a gift had increased their self-perceived love for that animal.

It’s okay to give pets as gifts as long as the person has an interest in owning one.

Rather than supporting a blanket ban on the practice, the ASPCA now officially recommends “giving of pets as gifts only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly,” emphasizing that the animals should ideally come from responsible animal shelters, rescue organizations, or other trusted sources.

“One of the main missions of most animal welfare organizations is to adopt animals into homes,” Chadwick explains. “If we were to say, ‘No pets as gifts,’ that would be closing down a really great and viable avenue to get more animals into loving homes.” That position does conflict with some other organizations’ stances. PETA, for example, strongly believes animals do not make good gifts, but the ASPCA does not stand alone.

“I’m definitely a strong proponent of giving animals as gifts as long as the recipient wants a pet,” says Gary Weitzman, DVM, MPH, CAWA, a licensed veterinarian and president of the San Diego Humane Society.

His organization also offers an adoption guarantee, so he sees gifts as a win-win for the shelter. “It’s saving lives — it’s allowing more animals to go into homes,” he explains. And if it doesn’t work out? “The animal gets a little time away from the shelter and we get more information .”

So what’s the right way to gift someone a dog, cat, or other animal? Here’s what you need to know before you make any big decisions.

When to Give a Pet as a Gift

“Know your audience,” says Dr. Weitzman. “Any gift you give somebody, you want to make sure it’s something that they want.” Gifting a cat-loving family member or dog-obsessed partner a pet is different than wrapping one up for an acquaintance. If the recipient is a child, make sure their caregivers support the idea as well.

As Dr. Weitzman says: “This is not a Dell computer you’ll have for three years. This is a 15-year or 18-year commitment to an animal.”

Consider these other factors before talking with an adoption counselor:

  • Interest: Did this person already express interest in owning a pet?
  • Cost: Is the recipient financially capable and willing to pay for food, supplies, veterinary care, and other services over the animal’s lifetime?
  • Time: Does the recipient have time for daily exercise, interaction, and play? How often is this person at home?
  • Space: What kind of environment will the animal live in? Does the building or residence have any restrictions on pets?
  • Compatibility: What kind of animal would fit this recipient’s lifestyle best? How active is this person?
  • Health: Does the recipient have allergies or other conditions that would conflict with caring for this pet?
  • Other Pets: Will this new animal get along with other animals in the household?

The easiest way to find the perfect fit? Ask the recipient directly and go through the adoption process together.

RohappyGetty Images

How to Give Pets as Gifts

A bow-bedecked puppy under the Christmas tree may come to mind, but there are better ways to present someone with a pet. Wrap up a leash, toy, or stuffed animal as the “gift” and then go together to pick up the animal. Alternatively, purchase a gift certificate to the shelter. The recipient can either put it towards adoption fees or donate the funds directly. It also gives the recipient flexibility in terms of timing (i.e., waiting to take in a puppy until after the family gets back from a holiday vacation).

If you do decide to gift someone with an animal, make sure you have all of the necessary supplies — leash, collar, food, bedding, toys etc. — ready to go, Chadwick advises. Plan for an orientation period as the animal gets accustomed to the new environment, like setting up a safe place for them to rest and feel comfortable.

With thoughtful consideration, a pet can be a perfect present. “The best gift in the world can be a dog or a cat,” Dr. Weitzman says. “Unequivocally, hands down, the best birthday gift I ever received was a German shepherd puppy in 2006.” He had previously met the dog and fell in love, but then heard that he couldn’t adopt him.

“It was all a ruse,” he remembered. “I got home on my birthday, I got blindfolded, this puppy got put in my lap, and it was the best thing to happen to me as a gift in my entire life … I just lost him a month ago. He lived a wonderful 14-year life, but boy, nothing on Earth will ever compare to that gift.”

Caroline Picard Health Editor Caroline is the Health Editor at GoodHousekeeping.com covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news.

Every so often, I see a rom-com with a hokey gift-giving scene. An actor giggles in delight as the surprise gift of a puppy plants wet kisses on them. Though this cliché pulls at my heartstrings every time, in the real world, gifting a pet to a friend, lover, or family member can be a bad idea.

“An animal is not a first-date type of gift. It isn’t a casual gift,” said Julie Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society, a national rescue organization. “I wouldn’t recommend gifting a living creature to anyone unless you are willing to also take responsibility for that life.”

Yet experts like Castle admit that giving a spouse or retiree an animal companion isn’t unusual—and there’s a right way to do it. Here’s what to consider when getting a loved one a pet.

Opt for the next best thing

Planting a big red bow on a new pet is endearing, but gifters should find alternatives to just showing up with a living being. I’m a fan of giving new pet owners a pet basket, like a new pet bed filled with treats, accessories, and a voucher for a complimentary visit to a veterinarian. As Wirecutter’s pets writer, I’ve written about what to buy before adopting a cat or dog, how to choose a pet food, and the importance of vaccinating and microchipping your pet. This not only eases some financial stress but also makes it feel less like a burden for recipients who aren’t ready to welcome a new pet.

If the idea of a pet basket seems hollow and you really want to get your loved one a pet, our experts said you should go for it. Although, don’t gift a pet exactly.

Many animal shelters sell gift certificates that cover the rescue fee. “Giving a gift certificate to cover the cost of adoption allows pet parents time to research what they’re looking for and adequately prepare for the exciting arrival of a new companion animal,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society. Plus, both parties can pick out the new addition together, making the gift even more special.

Match the pet with their lifestyle

Always encourage the potential pet owner to research the type of pet they want. But keep in mind that generalizations about a particular breed or species won’t always cut it. “Every animal is an individual, just like every person is an individual,” said Mary Margaret Callahan, chief mission officer at Pet Partners, the nation’s largest therapy animal program.

Callahan recommends considering a pet’s age, size, and energy level before committing to one. Puppies and kittens need more training than mature pets, and their care is usually more expensive. Small dogs are better for households with people who can’t lift heavy objects, such as big bags of kibble or a squirmy, large-breed dog during bath time. Skittish cats can be trip hazards in a home where anyone has mobility issues, as can larger untrained dogs who regularly bump around. And some breeds, like border collies and Savannah cats, need loads of exercise.

Gifters who have an inkling of what type of animal may be an ideal match for their loved one should also encourage them to meet the potential pet first. If the encounter goes well, some shelters let adopters foster a pet for a weekend to ensure it’s a perfect pairing.

Consult everyone in the home

The recipient’s desire to own a pet isn’t the only opinion that matters. Pets are messy, expensive, trigger allergies, or annoy existing animal residents. According to experts, everyone affected gets a say before bringing a new life into the home. “The last thing you want is someone in your family not being supportive of adding a new member to your family,” Sadie Cornelius, a writer at Canine Journal, said in an email.

Adults in the home should agree on the type of pet they want and how to divvy up the responsibilities, from mealtimes to socialization. Those who have limited experience with animals might prefer a calmer dog, or a mature cat who’s already trained to use a litter box. If allergies are a potential problem, a visit to an allergist can help figure that out. (And no, a truly hypoallergenic dog or cat doesn’t exist, writes the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.)

Assess how existing pets may react to a new addition too. Pets who are less territorial may be more tolerant of a new animal, though that’s no guarantee. A slow introduction can prevent fearful or aggressive behaviors. (Best Friends Animal Society has a series on pet introductions under its resources guide.) Wirecutter recommends installing pet-friendly calming diffusers or sprays, like Feliway for cats or Adaptil for dogs, throughout the home to help ease the transition.

Consider the financial costs

Caring for a pet isn’t cheap. Just ask Renée Bacher, a dog owner who’s fostered more than 100 dogs through Companion Animal Alliance, a municipal shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. One day, Bacher’s 90-pound American bulldog mix Crespo got too excited when the mailman appeared and smashed through a windowpane. Crespo’s accident set Bacher back $700. It’s a more extreme example, but our pet experts agreed that unexpected costs come with the territory.

Unforeseen expenses aside, the American Pet Products Association, an industry trade group, estimates that pet guardians will spend $75 billion on their animals in 2019. Crudely divided among the roughly 84.9 million US households with at least one pet, that means each home spends about $883 annually on routine expenses like pet food and grooming supplies.

Potential pet owners who can afford a pet’s care may still appreciate a little help. Experts suggest offering to pay for immunizations or spay-neuter surgery—in lieu of giving someone an actual animal—to lighten some of the initial costs associated with getting a pet.

Remember that a pet is a lifetime companion

Whether you buy, adopt, or rescue a pet for someone else, remember that such a gift is a lifelong commitment. An animal will be in the recipient’s life for 10 to 20 years, sometimes more. Every decision a pet owner makes, from where they live to who cares for their pet when they’re ill, impacts their pet’s life too.

“These aren’t stuffed animals,” said HollyAnne Dustin, owner of Feline Friends Cat Care and Consulting in Waterboro, Maine. “It shouldn’t be an impulsive decision.”

Pet owners should have a backup plan in place in case of changes to their health, finances, family dynamics, or housing situation. Some breeders and rescues welcome animals back, no questions asked, so inquire about their policy before you bring a new pet home. Owners can even establish a pet trust and designated guardian so their pet is cared for even after they die.

Gifting a pet to someone else can be done thoughtfully when the gifter understands their responsibility to both their loved one and the pet. Ultimately, no pet should be a complete surprise to the recipient.

Is Christmas the Best Time for a New Dog?

All year, the kids (your wife/your husband) have been begging for a dog. Pets bring a lot of joy into a household. They provide entertainment, unconditional love, and – depending on the study you read – health benefits. If you have children, pets are a good way to teach responsibility and empathy to them. You have finally decided that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Now the question becomes when, and to your mind the answer is obvious – Christmas. Just thinking about the looks of joy on your family’s faces makes you smile with delight. However, this might not be the best time for a new puppy. Here are a few things to consider.

Holiday Celebrations

Christmas time is very hectic. Whether you get a puppy or an adult dog, they will be nervous and possibly overwhelmed by the excess of activity. Everyone will want to pet them and say hello which can be intimidating to a less extroverted dog. Puppies will quickly tire and shelter dogs might emotionally shut down. An option to bringing the new dog home on Christmas would be a stuffed animal that is your promise to get the dog in the spring.

If it must be Christmas day, limit the number of people for the “unwrapping,” keep it to just household members. If you then have others over for dinner, give your new dog a quiet place to relax, whether in a bedroom or his new crate. If dinner is traditionally at grandma’s house, seriously consider making an exception this year. You do not want to leave your new puppy alone for hours on his first day, and taking him somewhere else would be confusing and stressful.

Also be aware of all the additional hazards in your house from the holiday celebration. Besides the worries of the puppy pulling the tree down, or possibly eating poisonous poinsettias leaves, consider what your guests might leave within puppy’s reach: purses, shoes, expensive dress coats and hats. Not things you want to have to replace for your friends. Closely monitor your new dog’s activities when he is exploring.

Weather

Much of the weather in winter is not conducive to a lot of outside time. Unfortunately, between playtime and potty training, you will need to be outdoors with your new dog. When potty training, he will need to go out every couple of hours. This instruction will take about a month. It is also advisable to supervise a new adult dog for the first few days. They need to be shown where to go outside and you need to be sure they are actually doing their business.

Playtime can be rambunctious, especially with younger dogs. In the summer, this is not a problem; in fact, it is a good excuse to throw everyone outside. However, in the winter it is not as easy. If it is too cold to go outside and play, you are going to have kids and puppy (or adult dog) running around the house with a lot of excess excitement and energy.

Daytime Schedule

Once Christmas vacation is over and everyone goes back to work or school, what will your new pet do during the day? Unless someone is home all the time, this is a consideration no matter what time of year you get your dog, but it is easier to start in the summer when there is a longer break for the kids to play and get him potty trained. If you bring him home at Christmas, have a plan in place of what your new pet will do during the day. If he is a puppy, he will still need to go about every two hours, for at least the first two months. This negates just leaving him home with no one around. Doggy daycare is an option, or if someone works close to home they could come home at lunch. However it works for you, have your plan coordinated before you get your puppy.

Type of Dog

If you are still sure that getting a dog for Christmas is the right thing for your family, carefully consider what type of dog will be best for you. No matter how adorable he is, if your new dog’s traits don’t mesh with your lifestyle, you will both be unhappy.

Size and energy level are both important considerations, especially in conjunction with where you live. If you live in an apartment, a smaller dog is probably a better choice. Some larger dogs do well in apartments, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Even if you are looking for a workout buddy, a high energy dog will not do well in an apartment.

If you have your own house, consider whether your yard is fenced or not. If it is not fenced, you will need to exercise your new pet on a leash which is easier with a lower energy dog. Another consideration for the yard is if you have a pool or not. There are some dogs that mostly cannot swim; their bodies are too dense or their legs too short to effectively dog paddle. The english bulldog is a perfect example. Be aware, sometimes even water friendly breeds need help learning to swim.

Preparation

No matter what type of dog or the time of year you adopt them, always prepare the house for your new addition. Make sure you have the same or similar food to feed, water and food bowls, toys, and place for him to call his own, whether it is a dog crate or a bed.

One final caveat: never give a pet to someone outside of your household without discussing it with them. It might seem like a great present, but a pet is a long-term commitment that must be undertaken willingly, not through obligation.

Adding pets into your life is an amazing experience. They will add a new dimension to every day and will foster empathy, kindness, and responsibility in your kids, but only through commitment to the pet. At Christmas time, it will take some extra planning and some extra concessions on your part to make it work, but a dog under the tree might be the best gift ever.

About the author: Valerie, originally a computer programmer, is just starting her new career as a writer. She loves the sun, her Australian Shepherd dog, and her fiancé George. When she isn’t mountain biking, practicing her public speaking skills, or reading, she is writing about everything she has learned.

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What are you getting your furry friend for Christmas? (Picture: Getty/Fetch)

Christmas is fast approaching, with just 19 days to go before the big day.

As you head out for the annual shopping trip, don’t forget to buy a present for your best friend: your dog, of course.

As we all know, all pooches are good boys and girls – even if they do poos in naughty places and chew up our favourite socks – and so deserve a little something that shows how much they mean to us.

Sure, your furry friend probably doesn’t understand why Christmas Day is a special occasion, but the look of excitement on their cute little face as you hand over a shiny new toy will be worth the cash.

We’ve rounded up a list of some of best products in 2019 – from new beds to cool outfits, here’s the ultimate gift guide for pooches.

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PetFusion memory foam bed

(Picture: PetFusion)

Is your dog a fussy sleeper or an old soul that requires a cosy space where he or she can nap all day?

The PetFusion bed has a memory foam base to help reduce joint pain and improve your pup’s ‘health, mobility and energy’.

It’s also water and tear resistant, so you don’t have to worry about naugthy dogs having a nibble and ruining their new gift. The bed is suitable for medium to large dogs, though it can also be used by multiple small dogs at once (perfect if you have two pooches who like to snuggle up together).

Here’s the best part: there’s a 12-month warranty included.

The product is currently on sale at Amazon for £80.95, with free delivery.

My 1st Years teepee

(Picture: My 1st Years)

If your dog prefers to nap in privacy, get them this adorable grey teepee.

The creative sleeping space, sold at My 1st Years for £65.00, features a reversible cushion with plush and faux fur.

Meanwhile, the teepee is made from polyester blend and is held up with wooden poles, and can also be embroidered with a personal message for your pooch. Though you’ve only got nine characters to play with.

You also don’t need to worry about your pup making a mess, as the cushion is also machine washable.

Etsy matching outfits

(Picture: The Dainty Dog Co/Etsy)

What’s the ultimate way to show off your special relationship? Matching outfits, of course.

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There’s no shortage of Christmas fashion for dogs to choose from this year, but for those humans who want a more personalised gift, there’s a fantastic alternative.

The Dainty Dog Co is selling a quirky t-shirt set for two (owner and pooch) on Etsy, embossed with the phrases ‘Chilling With My Dog’ and ‘Chilling With My Human’.

Not only is it a two-in-one gift, but it’s also fairly affordable at £27.99.

Not In The Dog House pawsecco and popcorn set

(Picture: Not In The Dog House)

This is the cheapest option on our list – and it’s a pretty good deal.

For just £10, you can get a gift set filled with wonderful treats for your pooch, including pawsecco from Woof & Brew, popcorn for dogs, training biscuits by Billy and Margot, and a tube of Pooch & Mutt mini-bone snacks.

Basically, it’s any dog’s dream gift.

Plus, it arrives in a box with tissue paper lining, so you can pop it under the tree and let your dog sniff around it for a few weeks, before the big reveal.

Fetch rain coat

(Picture: Fetch)

Let’s face it, there will likely be more rain than snow this Christmas.

To make sure your pup stays dry during muggy weather walks, get him or her a cosy rain coat. This choice from Joules & Rosewood, sold at Fetch, is water-resistant but also lightweight, so your pet isn’t weighed down by it.

It has velcro straps and is available in four sizes, however unfortunately prices increase as you go up in size (from £14 to £30).

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Arton Doggy Donuts

(Picture: Arton Doggy Donut)

This is undoubtedly the most exciting gift on our list: Arton Doggy Donuts.

For £15, you can get your pooch a box of 12 ring-shaped doughnuts, topped with fat, sugar-free icing and sprinkles.

Other ingredients include wholemeal flour, rolled oats, eggs, maltodextrin (food additive), rapeseed oil, cornflour, baking powder, milk derivatives, guar gum (polysaccharide) and desiccated coconut.

While they might look like regular doughnuts, please resist the temptation to bite into them – and get your own, human doughnut box instead.

Popetpop squeaky toys

(Picture: Popetpop)

Finally, no Christmas list for dogs is complete without the most obvious gift of all: a toy.

This year, go for a festive twist with this four-pack of seasonal characters, including Santa Claus, Rudolph the reindeer, a penguin and a bone in the pattern of a candy cane.

These squeaky toys from Popetpop, made from high-quality cotton, aren’t just pretty – but they were designed with the aim to reduce anxiety in pooches, as well as help their teeth and gums grow.

It’s a fairly affordable gift at £14.69 from Amazon, and you could even split the pack up into four different packages, just to make your pet feel extra precious.

MORE: Christmas party dresses under £30 that are sure to wow all the guests

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They are cute. They are fluffy (mostly). They are great fun and make perfect family pets. Right? Well, not entirely. With Christmas fast approaching, and despite campaigns urging people to be more cautious, many are still buying puppies as presents. Last year, it was reported that the Dogs Trust saw a 54% increase (on 2016) in the number of dogs abandoned at their shelters around Christmas.

Presents don’t get any better than a puppy if you’re purely wanting the “ahhh” factor. But let’s just take a minute to look at the realities of getting a dog – after all, the “ahhh” moment only lasts until they have a wee on your new woollen rug. At that point, the reality may start sinking in. Dogs are amazing, but they require time, patience and dedication – not to mention a lifestyle change.

They are also expensive – not just a little, but a lot. While puppies are, admittedly cheaper than children, the average owner still spends between £21,000 and £33,000 on their dog during its lifetime and an enormous 98% of people underestimate this cost.

First, you have food bills – and you owe it to your dog to feed them a decent diet. In fact, if you need convincing, the better the food, the less poop they produce. Then there are veterinary bills and insurance costs. Even if you don’t get them insured for veterinary fees, you probably want to look at third-party liability – in the eyes of the law you are totally liable for your dog’s actions. And then there’s the costs of care when you go away on holiday.

You also need to consider training costs. I urge every owner to attend puppy classes that teach “life skills” and where the trainer also has the credentials needed – the scientific knowledge and the experience to ensure that you and your dog gets the very best training.

Changing routines

One of the biggest changes, however, is going to be to your daily routine. Dogs need walking – not when the weather is nice, not when you can be bothered, but every day. Ideally, twice a day.

If you work full-time, you’re going to need to get out of bed around an hour earlier to walk your dog – in winter, this almost certainly means in the dark, cold and rain. You are then going to have to pay for a dog walker to come and take them on a walk while you’re out – don’t expect to be able to leave a dog for eight to ten hours a day, five days a week, without some kind of break.

Part of the family.

Alternatively, you could always broach the subject of allowing dogs in the workplace – the benefits of doing so are well documented. But even then, just when you get home from a long hard day at work, you’ve got to accept that your pooch has had an equally long day of resting and sleeping and quite frankly will be well up for some fun.

Dogs are also messy. They shed hair, they get muddy and – sometimes – they even like to roll in poop. All of this adds to the time it takes to look after a dog.

Not all doom and gloom

However, if all this sounds like doom and gloom, it isn’t. You just have to ensure you understand the challenges and responsibilities.

One of the most common reasons dogs are relinquished to rescue centres is behaviour problems. These potentially are caused by a lack of exercise, training or understanding. Dogs are sentient beings, with amazing personalities who deserve company, compassion and love. This doesn’t mean we have to totally change our lives to accommodate them, but having a dog really does take time. Those families you see having a wonderful cold, crisp and sunny walk with their loyal dog joining in the fun, they are the ones who put the work in, who take the time and who value their pet as a member of the family.

But then there’s the very worst part of dog owning … the fact that no matter how much we love them, their time with us is far too short. You can wonder whether it was all worth it, because the heartache is immense and unwavering. But that’s the deal – they make your heart and then they break it. But crikey, it’s worth every moment.

So, if you really want a dog and you’re ready for the commitment then sure, get a dog at Christmas time. Just be sure you’ve thoroughly planned it and are ready for the massive lifestyle change and, yes, cost. Having a dog takes time and money, but, the rewards on offer far outweigh the price you pay.

Why You Shouldn’t Give Puppies As Gifts This Christmas

It seems completely harmless, the idea of presenting someone you care about with a large box only to watch as their face changes to a look of pure joy when they see a cute little puppy or kitten popping out with a red ribbon tied to their collar. However, unlike other gifts, living animals can’t just be returned or exchanged if it turns out to be a bad fit.

That is why we should never give pets as Christmas gifts. It’s just a bad idea all around. Here are some of the things you should be considering NOT giving a pet as a Christmas gift. Christmas time is already pretty hectic as it is, do you really want to make someone or some family even more bonkers during the busiest time of the year by sticking them with a new family addition? Pets are a long term commitment – dogs can live for 12-15 years on average, while cats can easily live more than 15 years. Unless you know for a fact that this is exactly the kind of commitment that someone has been looking for, don’t give them a pet. Get them a pair of socks instead.

Often times people view pets as commodities rather than living beings who require a lot of care as well as plenty of time and attention. If someone isn’t willing to take the time to properly care for and train a new pet, then don’t give them the gift of a pet for Christmas. Improper care or training can lead to behavioral problems, which if not addressed, can lead to even bigger problems. There are endless numbers of pets that end up shelters or taken in to be euthanized for “behavior problems” that could have easily been avoided with proper care and training.

Now, very rarely is there ever an occasion that giving a pet as a gift is a great idea. But, if you diligently do your homework, there might be a rare exception, so here are some tips for giving pets as presents:

Photo: Public Domain Pictures

Always ask first. Never surprise someone with a pet gift. Even if you know full well that the person is on the lookout for a pet, you need to ask first in order to be sure what kind of pet to get them. You want to make sure that you’re not getting your elderly parents an energetic puppy that will be too much for them to handle when an elderly house-trained dog would’ve done just as fine as a companion.

Give pets to immediate family only. Buying someone else’s child a puppy is not a good idea, even if you know they want one. Keep the pet gift-giving to your parents or your children only.

Make sure they can care for the pet properly. Before you buy your elderly mother that dog, be sure she can physically keep up with it. And before you add a new puppy to the family, make sure that your kids are old enough to assist in its care. If the answer is no, then don’t get the pet.

Avoid impulsive decisions. Buying a pet the same as buying a pair of shoes. It should not be a light impulse one day that you’re at the mall. It’s a decision that should involve the entire family.

Wait until the holidays are over. The holidays are a busy time. So if you are serious about adding to the family, consider doing so when things start to quiet down in January and February. That way, you can have the entire family sit down and discuss everything involved. That way you have time to do your homework, get all the supplies you will need, and head down to the local shelter in order to adopt rather than shop.

So this holiday season, definitely avoid the impulse to buy the fluffy puppy sitting in the window of the pet store just because the kids would love it. Instead, really think about whether it would be a good idea or not to add to your family. Unfortunately, Christmas is the time of year when many pets end up being given as holiday presents only to end up as products of the shelter system weeks later. Don’t be that jerk that feeds into it by impulsively giving a pet as a gift. Instead, always give plenty of time and forethought into the decision. And even if the right decision is to expand your family, always ADOPT and DON’T SHOP.

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NO CHRISTMAS PUPPIES, PLEASE!

Copyright © 1993, Ruth Ginzberg

…in loving honor of my own dogs…
The following applies to both puppies and kittens:

To many people, a puppy is the perfect symbol of the true spirit of Christmas. A puppy represents wonderment, innocence, exuberant energy, unconditional love, hope for the future. These are the sorts of gifts that many of us wish we were able to give one another. And that is a good thing. In an increasingly violent, horrifying, mind-numbing and impersonal world, Christmas time reminds many that there are more important values, that there is hope and love, that joy comes from giving of oneself more than it does from taking. To many people, these values bring to mind the loyal, loving, uncorrupted, hauntingly simple innocence of a puppy.

Indeed, many advertisers and artists have noticed this connection. Images of cozy family Christmas mornings often include scenes of floppy-eared puppies peering innocently out of a colorful gift box, their eyes wide with wonderment and awe. As the scene continues, the puppy stumbles preciously over mounds of gift wrappings, to the great amusement of delighted children who rush to hug the youngster and receive big wet puppy-slurps in return. Mom and Dad smile knowingly in the background as the true meaning of life is celebrated before their eyes. What could possibly be wrong with this picture?

Nothing. As art, as fiction, or as advertisement, it captures a lot of the symbolic spirit of the Christmas celebration perfectly. The appeal of this scene is like that of Norman Rockwell’s paintings. As advertisement, it works. It sells products, even those totally unrelated to dogs or to Christmas. As fiction it warms people’s hearts. What’s wrong, though, is what happens when real people try to re-enact this warm loving scene in their own homes with a real, living puppy playing the role of a prop in this mythic family life-drama.

I am not against dog ownership. I have two dogs myself, and I think the world would be a lot better place if more people had meaningful relationships with dogs. My concern here is with the future of those living beings, those adorable puppies with child-like eyes who show up as gifts on Christmas morning. While images like the one I described may look irresistibly appealing in pictures, art, advertising or fiction, the future for those real-life puppies who start out under the Christmas tree, in all probability, will turn out to be fairly grim. Groups as diverse as, and often at odds with one another as, the Humane Society of the United States, canine behavior experts, the American Kennel Club, PETA, Animal Rights Activists, breed rescue groups, veterinarians, obedience training instructors, and most reputable breeders of sound, healthy dogs, are in strong agreement that live puppies should not be given as Christmas gifts. Here are some of the reasons:

THE ATMOSPHERE OF CHRISTMAS MORNING FRIGHTENS THE PUPPY.

People who study canine development and behavior have found that puppies, like children, go through developmental stages. The first fear/avoidance period in a puppy’s development occurs roughly between 7-12 weeks of age. However this is also when the puppy is developmentally best capable of leaving its litter and beginning to form bonds of attachment with its new family. Most breeders agree that this is the right time to send a young puppy home with its adoptive family. However, it is also extremely important not to over-stress or unduly frighten the puppy during this vulnerable time. Fears learned during this first fear/avoidance period can be very, very difficult to overcome later, even with the very best training or behavior modification techniques. In other words, traumatic experiences at this point can have a permanent impact on your puppy’s personality as an adult dog.

Your puppy’s experiences of leaving its mother and litter-mates, and its arrival in its new home and introduction to its new family, can permanently affect its ability to bond with and trust humans. The puppy needs to be introduced to its new home and family during a relaxed and quiet, gentle time, with a minimum of loud noises, flashing lights, and screeching children, ringing phones, visiting company, and other types of general hub-bub. Christmas morning is absolutely the worst time, in terms of the puppy’s developmental needs, for introducing this newly-weaned youngster to its new family.

THE TIMING TEACHES CHILDREN THE WRONG VALUES.

Many families who value pet ownership do so at least partly because of what children can learn from the family pets in terms of care and responsibility, love and loyalty, and respect for other living beings. But think of what happens to the rest of the toys and gifts that start out under the Christmas tree. By Valentine’s Day, most of them have been shelved or broken or traded or forgotten. The excitement inevitably wears off, and the once compelling toy becomes something to use, use up, and then discard in favor of something newer.

A living puppy should not be thought of in the same category as a Christmas toy. Children need to learn that a living puppy is being adopted into the family – as a living family member who will contribute much, but who will also have needs of its own, which the rest of the family is making a commitment to try to meet. A puppy who makes its first appearance as a gift item under the Christmas tree is more likely to be thought of by children as an object, as a thing-like toy rather than as a family member. This will not teach one of the most valuable lessons there is to learn from a puppy, which is respect for living beings and concern for others in the form of attention to their needs.

A GOOD BREEDER WILL NOT SEND A PUPPY HOME ON CHRISTMAS MORNING.

Responsible breeders – those who guarantee the health and temperament of their puppies, and who are abreast of current knowledge about canine health, genetics, socialization and development – already know these things and will not send a puppy home with its new owner on Christmas morning. If you were to be able to obtain a puppy from someone who actually let you have it on Christmas Eve so that it could appear under the tree on Christmas morning, that should tell you something. It should warn you that you would be getting your puppy from someone who does not know enough about canine behavior and development to be in the business of breeding or selling puppies.

You would be much better off acquiring your newest family addition from a breeder who knows enough about dogs, and who cares enough about the particular puppies that he breeds and places, to insist that you take the puppy home under conditions which would be best for the puppy. If your breeder does not insist on this, you are purchasing a puppy from a breeder who does not know or care enough about his “product,” to be in that business, and you should acquire your pup from someone else instead.

THE PUPPY GROWS UP AND HAS NEEDS.

Many people have a somewhat romantic view of what dog- ownership is like. This romanticism can become exaggerated by the warmth and loving kindness associated with the Christmas season. People who have not had dogs before, or who have not had dogs since they were themselves children, or who have recently had a dog but one who was a canine senior citizen trained and socialized to the family’s ways long ago, often are completely unaware of how much work it is to raise a puppy from infancy into a good adult canine companion. They may have mental images of happy times romping with the dog on the beach, or curling up in front of the fireplace, of playing Frisbee in the park or of hunting with a loyal companion. All these are things they might well eventually enjoy with their canine companions. But they may have temporarily forgotten, or perhaps not ever really have known, how incredibly much work it takes to raise and socialize a dog from puppyhood to that point of mature canine companionship.

Unlike cats, who generally do not need extensive training and socialization, dogs require a huge commitment from at least one person who is prepared to teach the dog what behaviors are expected of him, under a wide variety of circumstances. Adults may believe that they remember a Faithful Fido from their youth who seemed never to need training; Faithful Fido always seemed to “just know” what was expected of him. But those adults were children at the time, and they did not necessarily see all the work that their parents and others put into training and socializing Fido.

Professionals who deal with dogs regularly, call this common fantasy the “Lassie Syndrome.” That is, everyone hopes for that imaginary dog who has E.S.P. and who automatically knows how to behave in human company without needing any training. In other words, they want a dog like “Lassie.” But “Lassie” was a fictional character. “Lassie” actually was owned and trained by Rudd Weatherwax, one of the most hardworking and successful professional trainers of dogs in the history of US television and film. Rudd Weatherwax spent his entire lifetime training “Lassie” to do those things which looked spontaneous in the fictional story lines. No real, non-fictional dog is actually like that.

Real dogs not only must be housetrained – most owners are aware of that need; they also must be taught not to chew the furniture, taught not to jump on their owners, taught not to play-bite, taught not to bowl over the toddler, taught not to dig holes in the yard, taught to come when they are called, taught not to eat the homework or the woodwork, taught not to swipe food off the table, taught not to growl at strangers or bark at the mail carrier, taught to walk on a leash without dragging their owner down the block, taught to allow their toenails to be cut and their coats to be groomed without biting the groomer, taught not to shred feather pillows and down comforters, taught not to steal the baby’s toys, taught not to growl at their owner’s mother-in-law, taught to sit, stay, and to lay down when and where the owner tells them to, and to wait there until the owner says they may get up (absolutely essential commands for the dog’s own safety), taught not to escape out the front door or out of the yard or out of the car when the owner looks away for just a second … all of these things and many more are not “natural” canine behaviors; they must be taught by owners who are willing to spend the time and the effort doing so.

The reason I mention this is because lack of owner knowledge about the amount of work required to socialize, raise, and train a puppy, is one of the main factors contributing to a huge national problem: the problem of adolescent and young adult dogs being “given up” by owners within the first year or so of having acquired the animal. Untrained, unsocialized puppies might be “cute” and “natural” but they are tolerable only for a few weeks, if even that. Then they start to be nuisances. Then they start to be major problems. Sooner or later they become downright dangerous to themselves or to their families and neighbors.

It is often between the ages of 7-14 months that the dog (sadly, reluctantly) is brought to the pound or to the vet for euthanasia by a frustrated owner as an “uncontrollable” dog, or as a dog with “behavior problems.” Or perhaps it is taken to a shelter in the faint hope that it will be adopted by someone else. (Chances are almost certain that it won’t; nobody else wants an untrained, unsocialized dog’s behavior problems either.) By that age the untrained dog is a full-grown and unruly adolescent. It might have bitten a family member, or threatened a neighbor’s child, necessitating the involvement of a town animal control officer. Or the dog may have run away and been hit by a car. Or it may be adopted into a series of homes, one after another, none of which can adequately control it, until it finally winds up on death row at the pound.

These tragic dogs, those wonderful canines known to generations as “Man’s Best Friend,” never had a chance. According to statistics kept by the Humane Society of the United States, the majority of puppies and kittens born in the United States never reach their second birthdays, even though their natural lifespans should be many times that length. They die from being hit by cars, euthanized by owners, starving or being fatally injured in fights with other animals – including wild animals, some rabid in many areas – after having run away from their owners, or being taken to shelters, pounds or vets, where they are “put to sleep,” usually before the age of two. In other words, many, many canine deaths are squarely the responsibility of owners who did not understand what it would involve properly to train and socialize their puppy, or who did understand, but did not do the necessary work.

IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

“Christmas puppies” often are impulse purchases, in a spirit of love and giving and generosity that goes with the season, but without the hard self-assessment that goes into asking oneself if one has the time and the energy and the inclination to give the necessary commitment to raising and socializing and educating that puppy. Better to get that new puppy at a less emotionally charged time of the year, when the decision to add a dog to the family is a less impulsive and more carefully considered one, uninfluenced by seasonal generosity of spirit, which might just fade a bit after the tree comes down and the lights are put away.

If you are absolutely set upon getting your family a puppy for
Christmas, consider this alternative instead: Purchase a leash, a collar, a good book on raising a puppy, a gift certificate for a veterinary checkup, a gift certificate for puppy socialization classes from one of the local obedience instructors, a book or video tape on the topic of how to select the right dog for your family (there are several, including even a computer program that purports to help you do this), or a gift subscription to one of the dog-oriented magazines.

Wrap these up and put them under the tree. As family members unwrap the various pieces of the “puzzle”, their delight and anticipation will grow. They will gradually understand what this present is! Then, after the Christmas tree is taken down and the frenzy of the holiday season is behind, the family can once again enjoy together the anticipation and excitement of discussing and selecting a breed, selecting a breeder, selecting an individual pup, and so on. This will increase the family’s mutual commitment to, and investment in, the well-being of the newest family member. It will be a project the family has done together, which is a wonderful way for any adoption to commence. This will not decrease the enjoyment of your new puppy; I guarantee it. It will increase it by many fold. And it will be a better start both for the puppy, and for the long-term relationship between dog and owner(s). A dog with a good introduction to its adoptive family is much more likely to become a long term companion rather than just another tragic statistic.

Puppies as Gifts:  Great Idea or Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Home › Puppies as Gifts

By Janice A. Jones | Updated January 31, 2019

Giving Puppies as Gifts can be the most generous present a person can give to a loved one—a gift that will keep on giving for the next 10 to 15 years.

It is so hard to resist the cuddles and kisses that puppies show us, not to mention that aromatic puppy breath.

But is giving a puppy to someone as a surprise gift an excellent idea?

Some say absolutely no, but surprisingly, organizations such as the ASPCA encourage the practice.

In a scientific study conducted in 2014, the ASPCA found that a whopping 96% of people who had received pets as gifts reported that receiving the gift pet had no bearing or actually increased the bond they felt to the pet.

In the same study, 86% of gift pets were still in the recipient’s home, which is about the same percentage of adopted pets that were not received as pets.

Further, knowing in advance or being surprised by the gift, had little effect on the strength of attachment to the pet.

This last finding supports early studies conducted in the 1990s and 2000 which revealed that pets acquired as gifts were no less likely to be relinquished than pets adopted directly by the pet owner.

So, if you are considering giving puppies as gift, rest easy knowing that the puppy is likely to live a long life in the recipient’s home. But with that said, is there a right and wrong way to give a puppy as a gift?

Giving Puppies as Gifts: What’s Right? What’s Wrong?

Puppies as Gifts

As a breeder, I know first hand that many people do in fact purchase puppies as gifts to give to loved ones.

Just in the last year alone, we had four situations where people wanted to purchase a puppy for someone else. Each had a happy ending.

We had a husband who purchased a surprise puppy for his wife, a grown child who bought a puppy for her grandmother, a couple that purchase a puppy for their mother, and a sister who found the perfect puppy for her grieving sister.

We even had grown children who secretly purchased the exact dog that the mother had inquired about initially. Was that mother ever surprised when her dream puppy who she was told (by me) was no longer available, ended up on her lap.

So, giving puppies as gifts is more prevalent than you might think. But before you decide to make that purchase or fill out those adoption papers, ask yourself a couple of questions.

When are Puppies Given as Gifts?

Christmas Puppies as Gifts

The most common occasions when puppies are given as gifts is Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Most professionals agree that a new puppy under the Christmas tree may be cute, but it can spell disaster.

No little puppy should be subjected to that much excitement. If it is to be a Christmas gift, plan to get it early in December or wait till the new year when things settle down.

Valentine’s Day and Anniversaries are the next most popular puppy giving occasion. Often, the buyer and the recipient have already discussed the possibility of getting a puppy.

Valentine Puppies as Gifts

Questions to Ponder before Giving Puppies as Gifts

  • Will the person be able to care for a new puppy for the next 10 to 15 years? Of course, Grandmother is lonely and a puppy would do her the world of good. But she is 79 years old, in failing health. Who will care for the puppy when she is no longer able to do so?
  • Will your 8-year-old continue to care for (feed, walk, brush, and train) after the newness of the puppy has worn off? Most parents end up caring for the family dog, even when the children are teens or young adults. Will you, the parent assume this responsibility?
  • Does the person you’re giving a puppy to want a dog?
  • Does the person know how to care for and train a puppy? You might think you’re doing your aunt a favor by presenting her with a puppy, but if she doesn’t know what to do with a puppy, things can get messy. What happens if the puppy digs up her favorite flower garden or chews through that antique table cloth, will you be setting the stage of an all-out family feud?
  • Does the person have the money to buy food and supplies and keep up with bills to the vet or groomer?
  • Is the person even allowed to have dogs where they live?
  • What if the person to whom you intend on giving a puppy is investigating the purchase of an expensive rare breed dog, but all, you can afford, is the inexpensive adoption of a mutt?
  • Does the person love these kinds of surprises?
  • Sometimes even the color of the dog you decide to purchase can have an adverse effect. Consider the person who has just lost a beloved pet and you find the exact duplicate –will it be received the way you intend?

No Guarantees when it comes to Giving Puppies as Gifts

It is likely that the person, you want to impress with a puppy, will adore your gift, but there are no guarantees, and a puppy is not an easy thing to return, especially emotionally. To make your puppy gift, the event of the century, you will need to do a little planning.

Suggestions for Giving Puppies as Gifts

  • Consult with other family members about options. Everyone knows Grandma, but someone might have some insight into what she might like.
  • If the gift is for a child, talk about pet care well in advance. Read books, visit friends who have dogs, go to a dog show. Determine the level of interest and dedication that exists before looking for a puppy.
  • Are you interested in purchasing a dog for that special someone? Better know them really well. They may say they love dogs, but secretly prefer a cat.
  • Do you have a backup plan in the event that your gift is not well received? Will you take the puppy in and care for him yourself for the next 15 years?

Puppies are wonderful, but to make it work, it must be the right puppy, at the right time, presented in the right way.

Choose the Right Puppy

There are many ways to obtain a puppy, so do a little homework in advance. Determine the breed of dog through careful conversations with the person receiving your gift.

If you fall in love with a Shih Tzu puppy, but the person you’re buying for hates to groom, no matter how cute the puppy might be, the end result may not be good.
If you are unsure about a breed, research several breeds. Look at photographs of dogs together to get some idea what appeals to the person.

Visit friends with the type of dog you are considering and see what kind of reaction you get. Arrange to visit a dog park, a dog show, or another event where dogs are likely to be.

Pick the Right Time

Timing is everything.

Maybe you want to give a puppy as a birthday gift. Great, but make sure that a person has the time to devote to a new puppy. Does the person work outside the home? Does the person enjoy traveling?

To be fair to the puppy, pick a time when homecoming will be calm and stress-free. In other words, don’t present a puppy at 9 PM to someone who must get up the next day to go to work. It is not fair to either the person or the pet.

Right Presentation

It’s fun to plan a surprise and this is possible if you know the person well and believe a surprise would be the best way to present your gift.

You will need a little help from some professionals. If you are working with a breeder, ask them to conspire with you. They are usually more than glad to be included in the fun.

6 Ways to Present a New Puppy

Here are six examples that I’ve participated in that had very favorable outcomes. I’m sure you can think of even more ideas.

  • I Enlisted my son who is an actor at heart to play the role of an eBay seller trying to persuade the buyer (the puppy recipient’s husband) purchase an iPad, while I asked the wife if she wouldn’t mind holding the puppy while I got more info on the iPad. It worked she was surprised and thrilled!
  • In another example, I decorated a bag of doggie goodies with fancy tissue and a big bow. Inside was a mama scented blanket, some food, a toy, a chew, and of course, the puppy! The person loved it and the puppy was quite happy to snuggle in the blanket and munch on the chews. It helped that the pup was a member of a quiet breed.
  • In the same vane, a gift bag can be presented with little goodies for the puppy along with a couple of photographs and a note stating when the puppy will come home.
  • In still another situation, parents were giving their 8 year old a puppy for his birthday. I wrote a short eBook and illustrated it with the puppy’s pictures throughout. By the time the puppy came home, the 8 year was very familiar with his new furbaby.
  • Make a puppy dog gift basket complete with bowls, a collar, leash, treats and toys. Add a book or two and a soft puppy bed. Add a note stating the puppy will come later. Then search together for the perfect dog.
  • If the rescue organization or breeder will allow, pre-pay for a puppy or dog and present a “gift certificate good for one puppy of your choice.” Then, when the puppy is available to go home, travel together to pick up your puppy. This way you assure that everyone gets a say when picking out the puppy.

Prevent Potential Problems When Giving Puppies as Gifts

To prevent future problems, we suggest that you:

  • Never purchase a puppy from a Pet Store: Not all, but most pet store puppies come from extensive commercial kennel facilities which might be labeled a puppy mill.
  • Avoid online breeders that don’t have time to talk to you, do not answer your questions adequately, and do not allow you to visit the premises where you can meet the parents.
  • Avoid rescues and shelters that import dogs from out of the country, just to have dogs to “sell.” This practice is not well known but has been gaining in popularity and is harmful to the dogs being shipped into the country.
  • Do not rule out the possibility of adopting from a rescue near your home. You often find out quite a bit about the dog or puppy because the foster home has had opportunities to observe and interact with them.
  • Time the presentation of your gift to avoid big holidays and make homecoming a stress-free event.

The gift of a precious puppy will add love for years to come and when done right, make you a very popular person.

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It’s your dogs birthday, its time to celebrate! The happy pup in your life is another year older, and you want to make sure to give them the attention they deserve. They’ve done so much for you, its time to return the favor and show the furry friend in your life what they mean to you. But how??

Well, this list of 31 creative things to do for your dogs birthday might just have the answer…

1. Have An “Unboxing”- With A BarkBox

There’s no going wrong when treating your pup to new toys and treats. With BarkBox let your pup tear apart the cardboard and unveil their new sweet surprises.

2. Pet Fence Window

Watch the birthday excitement ensue as your pup gets to see what’s beyond the fence. With this innovative pet fence window, let your favorite friend experience the world from their own backyard. The perfect birthday gift for the curious pupper in your life.

3. Take A Pupper Art Class

Let your pup express their creative side with a painting class! Bond with your pup while creating abstract works- with your dog as the artist. It’s art that you’re bound to cherish forever.

4. Furbo Treat Tossing Dog Camera

Give your pup the gift of constant love and attention this birthday with the Furbo Treat Tossing Dog Camera. This 1080p full HD camera with night vision allows you live stream video to monitor your pupper right on your phone. With two-way audio and the ability to throw your pup a treat this camera will make your pup feel like you never left.

5. Bake A Pupcake

Nothing shows your love and affection for your pup like food. This Birthday bake the dog in your life a special dog-friendly cake to show him that he is the best good boy out there.

6. Embark Dog DNA Test Breed Identification

Embark on a journey with your pup to determine his origins this birthday. With the Embark Dog DNA Breed Identification Test, you can finally find out if your pups instinct to herd your friends is because he’s part Shepard- or just his goofy personality.

7. Orthopedic Dog Bed

Let your pet snuggle up this birthday in a brand new Ultra Plush Pressure-Relief Memory Foam Dog Bed. This orthopedic dog bed offers comfort and support for your pup. In fact, it’s so cozy that you may find your dog laying on their bed instead of the couch.

8. Write A Book, Featuring Your Dog As The Lead

Every pup wants to be the hero of the story. Show your love by making him the star of his own! Services like Petlandia allow you to write your own pet-centered novel in a quick and easy format.

9. “Treat Me It’s My Birthday” Bandana

This adorable “Treat Me It’s My Birthday” bandana is the perfect gift for your dog this birthday. While it’s stylish and cute, your pup will really thank you for all the treats he receives because of its message. How could you pass up an opportunity to let the world spoil your pup?

10. Take Your Dog Out To Dinner

Wine and dine your pup at some of the best dog-friendly places in the country! Check out this list of pupper friendly places, free products, and secret dog menus.

11. Get Your Dog A Massage

Like humans, dogs get stressed and have muscle tension too. Help the four-legged friend in your life relax this birthday by treating them to a Massage.

12. Party On! Hat

Get the party started with this Party On! Hat. This gift functions as an adorable party hat and will soon become your pups new favorite toy. The adjustable bungee cord with velcro closures makes for the perfect fit, not to mention a killer game of tug.

13. Treat your Pup To A Puppuccino

What’s a birthday without some sugar? This yummy sweet is bound to win your pup’s heart! Want to make one at home? Check out this article for the inside details on making your own!

14. Throw A Puppy Party

Make your dog the talk of the town by throwing the event of the season: Your Dogs Birthday Party. Invite all your dogs closest friends from daycare, the dog park, and maybe even the dog walker? (Human snacks should be provided as well)

15. Personalized Birthday Treats

Make your pup feel extra special this birthday with some custom birthday treats! Customize these treat with your pups name and an illustrated lookalike. These personalized birthday treats are bound to stand out to your dog- and make a cute photo to share with your friends.

16. iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs

Give your pup the gift of constant playtime this birthday, with the iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher. This on-demand ball launcher lets dogs play fetch to their hearts’ content, it’s a birthday gift that just keeps on giving.

17. Philosofur All-Purpose Paw Salve

Treat your pupper to some self-care this birthday, with the Philosofur All-Purpose Paw Salve. Use this special formula to prevent your pups’ paws from getting dry and cracked, keeping those paw pads soft and happy. Happy paws = a happy pup.

18. Join An Agility Class

Schedule some weekly bonding time with your pup by joining an agility class! A great way to keep an active pup happy and engaged.

19. Major Rager Party Cake

Because every dog deserves a slice of cake on their birthday. This seven-slice fuzzy cake has durable frosting, furry flames, and sits nestled in a real cake box. The Major Rager Party Cake. Give a gift your pup will enjoy just as much as real cake, but with half the mess.

20. Learn A New Game

Spice up puppy play time with a new game! Check out this article on the best games to play with your dog to keep playtime exciting and fun (for both of you).

21. Take Your Pup On A Roadtrip

Roll down the windows, buckle your seatbelts, and go for a drive! Celebrate your pup this birthday by hitting up all their favorite places. Take a trip to the beach or dog park, stop by their favorite pup bakery, and let them enjoy the breeze in their fur as you drive them around their day of fun.

22. Have A Photoshoot – With A Professional Photographer

Make your pup feel like the star of the show and create memories to last a lifetime. Your Facebook friends will thank you for the influx of cute dog that shows up on their feed.

23. Decorate Their Crate

It’s your pups birthday and you want your dog to feel special on their day in the spotlight. What better way than decorating their crate to make them feel like a superstar?

24. Poo Poetry Bag

Make walk time more fun for you and your pup with these poo poetry poop bags! A more fun walk time for you means more walks for your pup. So basically this is a great birthday gift for both of you.

25. Let Your Dog Sleep In Your Bed

They love you, and they love snuggles. Nothing makes a pup happier than sleeping with the pack. Trust me, waking up to puppy kisses is even cuter than it sounds.

26. Fitbark Activity & Sleep Monitor

This birthday, give your pupper a gift they didn’t know they needed. The Fitbark dog activity monitor is a fun way to show your dog you care, and make sure they’re getting the exercise they need. Get a gift that motivates you and your pup to get off the couch.

27. Personalized Dog Bowl

Personalize dinner time with this custom dog bowl! Make your pup feel extra special this birthday when you serve his meal in a bowl just for them.

28. Puppy Ball Pit!

This birthday give your dog the surprise of a lifetime- a ball pit adventure! Fill a kiddy pool up with some balls and watch as your pup rolls around in pupper heaven.

29.Dog Twister Advanced Dog Puzzle Toy

Puppers like to play, and puppers like food. Combine the two to make for a pawfect birthday gift. This Dog Twister Advanced Dog Puzzle Toy is the perfect combination of interactive fun and a yummy treat.

30. Oh My Dog You’re Double Digits?!? Birthday Candle Toys

Every pup needs a candle to blow out on their birthday! These “Oh My Dog You’re Double Digits?!?” Birthday Candle Toys are the perfect solution. Filled with classic squeakers buried in fluff, with a t-shirt rope wick- each number is a different color and pattern. Combine candles for any pups in their golden years!

31. Go To A Drive-In Movie

Snuggle up in the trunk of your car for a fun movie night with the pup and bring plenty of snacks- for both of you to enjoy.