The Right Way to Gift a Puppy This Holiday Season

October 16, 2018
If you’ve been out shopping in the past month, you may have noticed that there are already holiday decorations out—even though it’s not even Halloween yet. It’s way too early for that! But it’s not too early to start thinking about your gift list, especially if you’re considering giving a puppy to a loved one this year.
We’ve all seen those puppy surprise reaction videos—complete with shocked looks and tears of joy over the adorable new pup in the box. Giving a pet as a gift can be a wonderful gesture, but only if you make sure to do it the right way and avoid accidentally supporting cruelty in the process.  
We know it can be quite overwhelming to find the perfect puppy, so here are our top tips to keep you on the right track! 
  • We recommend visiting your local shelter or rescue organization to find a pet looking for a loving home. You may be surprised at who you’re drawn to! Maybe that older, mixed-breed dog with his calming demeanor fits your loved one’s personality a little better than a puppy would. Or maybe that curious cat pawing at you from her cage is a better fit than a dog after all. Browse around and possibly even save a pet’s life while you’re at it. (Hint: That could be one way to stay on the nice list this year!)
  • Is your heart set on a puppy or a particular breed? If you can’t find your perfect match at a shelter or breed-specific rescue group and are looking into buying from a responsible breeder, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Check out our How to Sniff Out a Good Dog Breeder guide to know which questions to ask to avoid being tricked by one of the bad guys.  
  • Be patient, or involve the recipient in the puppy-picking process. Sometimes you have to wait for the right dog to come along, but it’s worth it! Consider gifting a “doggie IOU” or asking the recipient to come with you to find the perfect pooch. 
  • While it may be tempting to go straight to the Internet to find a puppy, don’t do it. There’s no shortage of perfect-looking puppies for sale online, but there’s also no shortage of unscrupulous breeders and brokers trying to deceive you. The truth is, it’s hard to tell the good from the bad on the Internet, so it’s best to avoid that route altogether. 
  • You probably know this by now, but pet stores are NOT the place buy a puppy. Responsible breeders won’t sell to pet stores, leaving stores to source primarily from cruel breeders who prioritize profits over animal welfare. Those cute puppies in the window are tempting, but if people could see the real conditions that pet store puppies come from, it would be hard to convince them that these puppies are healthy and happy. 
Equipped with these tips, you’ll be pup-pared to give an amazing gift this holiday season—to both a pup and their new family.