Christmas Adoptions

So, you want Santa Claus to bring you a puppy or kitten for Christmas? DON’T DO IT. A commitment to a pet is a life-long commitment. The holidays tend to be the worst time to introduce a new pet into your family. So much is going on the pet becomes just another toy and is subject to several problems. The first is with small pets: hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Puppies can be played with for too long a time without eating or drinking and will pass out from having a low blood sugar. Another problem that is noted, is the fact that you cannot properly train a dog with many other people in the house and other activities. We now know that training puppies at 8, 9, and 10 weeks is essential to their development. Therefore, again this is a bad time to bring a pet into the household. I would suggest obtaining a new pet a month or two prior to, or after, the holidays. This will give you enough time to research a breed or type of puppy and be sure it will fit with your family.

Having said that and knowing that people will continue buying puppies for Christmas anyway, I have several suggestions as to what you should be looking for from a health standpoint. If you are purchasing a puppy from a breeder, be sure to be able to visit the breeder and see the puppy’s parents. If the breeder will not allow this, I would not buy the puppy. If you appear at the breeder’s house and find that the house is dirty, smelly, and/or overpopulated by many puppies, I would not buy the puppy. All puppies should be accompanied by an official veterinary health certificate, as is noted in Florida state law. Florida also has a “Lemon Law” for pets. You may have your pet examined by any veterinarian you wish within the first three days of purchase. Any problems that are noted should be paid for by the breeder or the pet store where you obtained the puppy, up to the cost of the puppy. Do not let breeders or pet stores tell you where you can and cannot have this exam performed, because you are protected by the Florida Lemon Law.

I will reiterate my first statement: if you plan on getting a pet over the holidays, don’t do it.


David J. Smith, VMD