It's not uncommon that animal shelters see an influx of puppies being given to them after the holidays. January is a prime month where attendants see a slew of dogs that are now in the process of finding a new, permanent home because the recipient could not keep up with the responsibilities of owning a pet. The idea sounds cute to have a four legged friend under the Christmas tree, but my advice to you is "Think Twice"

For starters, there are obligations that need to be assumed once a puppy enters your dwelling on a permanent basis including a mandatory visit to the vet for a series of  precautionary inoculations and deworming. Plus, it is advised you head over to a pet groomer for an inaugural bath or you have the option of handling the task at hand.

Financially, you have to consider the expenses that need to be incurred which include dog food, vet bills and other extras that could include a pet bed, toys and anything else to satisfy the canine's needs. Plus, pack your patience as this process is similar to raising a child as a puppy IS a living thing and you also have to remember they grow into adult dogs. Without a doubt, you are embarking on a lifelong commitment.

Another suggestion is if you elect to go towards this avenue, DO NOT put the puppy in a cardboard box. Even though the carton features air holes, puppies go to the bathroom more often and it would not be a pleasant sight to see, albeit the aroma would also be of an unpleasant nature. The ideal alternative is to bring your new found friend to his or her new home at least 2 weeks before Christmas so they could easily get acclimated to their new surroundings.

You should also do your homework prior to this process as potential dog owners must research the right breed and size that could make this transition easier. It is not ideal to just pick "the cutest puppy" for gift giving. It just does NOT work that way. It's a team effort for every family member to pitch in and do their part in helping your new addition with his or her period of adjustment. Eventually, this could result in an unwanted Christmas present and a lack of time and interest could be a variable which could result in an unpleasant situation.

However, if you make a check list and oversee all the extras that go with raising a dog, this experience would prove beneficial for everyone. Hopefully, these suggestions will play a role in your final decision, but again "THINK TWICE".

(Some information obtained for this article courtesy of the web site, www.dogs.the funtimes.com)

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Does your loyal pup's breed make the list? Read on to see if you'll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog's intellectual prowess the next time you take your fur baby out for a walk. Don't worry: Even if your dog's breed doesn't land on the list, that doesn't mean he's not a good boy--some traits simply can't be measured.