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We know how cute puppies are. They’re so cuddly and innocent, with their big doughy eyes and clumsy paws. And this time of year we are all searching for the perfect gifts for the loved ones in our lives. Those cute little puppies seem to be the perfect match. After all, what could possibly wear a bow cuter than a brand new little French Bulldog, Cockerspaniel or Labradoodle? However, we’re writing this post to ask you to consider why puppies make bad gifts.

One reason why puppies make bad gifts is because they are a major commitment, one that takes substantial planning on the owner’s part. Giving a living, breathing animal as a surprise might be fun for the first five minutes, but then the joy of seeing the puppy in his bow will wear off and you’ll be left with major dilemmas: Who is going to potty train him? Who is going to stay home with him when the owner has to work? Who is going to get up in the middle of the night when the puppy won’t stop whining? Giving an animal as a surprise rarely works out well.

Another reason giving a puppy as a holiday present is a bad idea is because of how cold it is in most parts of the country this time of year. Puppies are little fur-balls of energy, and if someone isn’t willing to stand outside in the frigid cold fighting off the blistering wind a number of times each day so the puppy can run wild, then all that energy is going to be dispensed in your home. This takes major planning and preparation. Giving a puppy as a surprise forces the recipient to puppy-proof their home at the drop of a hat (Oh, don’t drop any hats around that new puppy; you’ll be left with a slobbery mess of shreds that used to be your favorite hat).

Seriously, bringing a puppy into your home is a major undertaking–one that takes more planning than can be done in a single day after opening a giftbox to find a cute little furry friend inside. At Dog Gone Amazing, we encourage you to not subject a recipient (or a puppy) to the stress that is involved when giving a puppy as a surprise gift. Here’s a better gift idea, one that is much more appropriate. Give the soon-to-be puppy owner a “puppy checklist” that details all of the questions that need to be answered and all the preparation that needs to be done before someone brings a puppy home. You can find a number of them online. Just search for a “puppy checklist.” This will start the conversation and ensure the owner isn’t caught by surprise with all of the responsibility that comes with owning a puppy.