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Puppies and the holidays: Avoiding puppy scams and thinking twice about pets as gifts

Friday, December 10, 2010 by Caitlin Moore

Puppy shipping holidayIn some ways it sounds like the perfect holiday scenario: a floppy-eared puppy with a big red bow tied around his collar scampers into the arms of the kids, shrieks of delight fill the room, and everyone lives blissfully ever after.

In reality, there is (and should be) more to it than that. First of all, getting a puppy is a big deal, and the decision to add one to the family - especially during the hectic holiday season - shouldn't be a surprise event. Pets can bring happiness and fun to our lives, but realistically speaking, they can be pretty expensive while demanding a lot of time and energy. Before committing to this responsibility, the whole family should sit down and discuss how the walking, cleaning and feeding will be divvied up.

For further grounding, check out this article in the New York Times that points out a few important things: owning a pet costs much more than many people think, and it would be smart to have a cash cushion for those "just in case" moments or when the need for pet travel may arise. You never know when an injury or illness will occur, and even if you have pet health insurance, it may be necessary to take care of unexpected expenses from time to time.

That brings us to another topic that we often encounter here at PetRelocation.com - puppy scams. Unfortunately, there are a lot of con artists out there who are perfectly willing to prey on the emotions and generous spirits of pet lovers, so if you've decided you're ready for a dog and you happen to encounter an online "puppy shipper" with an offer that sounds too good to be true, remember that it could very well be a greedy grinch trying to take advantage of you. Read more about puppy scams on our blog.

If you've thought carefully and decided to go for it, we strongly recommend choosing a dog from your local animal shelter. No matter how you look at (saving a life, racking up a few karma points, etc...), it makes sense to adopt a puppy who really needs you. Many organizations also offer the opportunity to foster dogs as they wait for adoptions. This could be a great way to add some holiday cheer to your household while at the same time getting a feel for what it takes to be a dog owner.

As you can see, we're certainly not saying that pets are a bad idea, but we can't help but suggest that you think carefully before deciding to expand your family during the holidays. Good luck with whatever you decide, and check in with us on Facebook to see what our community has to say about puppies, pet travel, the holidays and more.

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