Still thinking of jumping on the pandemic puppy bandwagon? A puppy under the tree for the kids this holiday season?

Puppies are adorable! Everyone loves a squishy bundle of love! Before making the decision to get a puppy, take time to really think about what it means to bring a puppy into your household. Puppies require a lot of work. You will need time and energy to deal with house training and boundless puppy energy. Effective house training requires the puppy on a regular schedule each and every day. Puppy puddles and accidents will occur in your home regardless of how diligent you are. Be prepared with plenty of clean up supplies. Also know, that especially in its first year, your puppy will chew on everything he can get his mouth on (including your furniture, carpets, books, electrical cords and anything else lying around).

Also consider adopting an older dog for your household.  Many shelter pets are already house trained, know basic commands, are spayed and neutered, and well past the puppy chewing phase. Statistics show that up to 25% of shelter animals are purebreds and many shelters and rescue groups have both puppies and older dogs available if you have your heart set on bringing a puppy home.

One of the big myths about shelter pets is that all of them have behavioral issues or have been rescued from abuse. On the contrary, many shelter animals end up there because their owners can no longer care for them. The Humane Society of the United States says the majority of pets in shelters are there because of people problems i.e. financial crisis, loss of income, divorce.  Adopting a pet in need of a home is a fantastic way to teach your children the power of love and second chances.

No matter where you get your next best friend, do your research first before you get emotionally attached. If you are going to buy a puppy, avoid puppy mills and research breeders; don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. If you choose to adopt do so from a reputable shelter who does extensive evaluations (both medically and behaviorally) prior to adopting. The key to acquiring a dog is matching the pet with the family lifestyle.