The Right Way to Gift a Puppy This Holiday Season

  • 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. 

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