Pets at Christmas

Dog rescue charity, K9 Angels, is urging the public not to buy puppies and kittens this Christmas, with four main reasons why they are not presents.

K9 Angels was founded in 2011, they have rehomed 800 dogs, spayed 3000 dogs and have raised hundreds of thousands to build a shelter, housing 110 dogs that the charity regularly sends food and medical aid to. They are appealing for the public to pledge not to buy puppies for Christmas and to spread the message of ‘adopt don’t shop’. 

A kitten with a Christmas present

A spokesperson for the charity said, “We passionately believe that it is always better to opt to adopt rather than shop for a puppy and dogs are not presents and should never be given as presents.” 

“All over the UK rescue centres full with dogs desperately needing homes. Many dogs are given as presents over the Christmas period and then are dumped at a shelter in January as the ‘present’ wasn’t properly thought through.” 

K9 Angels four reasons why pets aren’t presents:

Reason 1: The holidays are busy enough!

The holiday season is often very busy for families. In addition to the usual hectic daily routine of school, work and other activities, end-of-year festivities mean even more demands on your time and energy.

A chihuahua in front of a Christmas tree

The last thing most households need is a new puppy or kitten to add to the commotion and stress. Nor does a new four-legged member of the family deserve to be introduced to a brand new, slightly scary environment in the midst of chaos.

A new pet requires a great deal of time and attention from their new family. It’s in everyone’s best interests to wait for a less busy, exciting time of year to bring home a new dog, cat or other pet.

Reason 2: Pets should not be surprises.

Surprising a loved one with a puppy or kitten on Christmas morning may be romantic but sadly is often a misguided idea. Yes, the recipient may be extremely excited and happy with a new puppy or kitten, but unless the ‘surprise’ has actually been well researched and thoroughly planned for, it can be a risky thing to do.

In our experience, it’s best to let a prospective pet owner, no matter what age, be very engaged every step of the way in selecting a new pet and preparing in advance for the homecoming.

Reason 3: A pet for a child shouldn’t be viewed as a new toy.

A living creature shouldn’t be considered the same kind of ‘wow’ Christmas gift as, say, a new bike or the latest gaming console. Caring for a dog or cat is a big responsibility and far different from getting a new toy that is taken out, played with, and put away again.


It’s important to impress upon a child the difference between their belongings and their pet, from the very first minute a new dog or cat enters their life. Even if your youngster is pleading for a pet and you think they are old enough to take on the responsibility, we recommend you keep the ‘pet project’ separate from the holiday festivities.

Adding a dog or cat to the household is a big undertaking all on its own, so our advice is to plan for it accordingly, and not around the holidays.

Reason 4: Pet stores, backyard breeders, and puppy mills….

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, certain disreputable individuals and businesses are bursting at the seams with all the latest popular puppy models. Most of these babies are shipped in from puppy mills. Some are healthy and many are not. All are bred and born in inhumane, often filthy conditions.

Every time a dog is purchased from an irresponsible breeder or mill operator, it is incentive for those businesses to keep running. So while you may give a puppy mill baby a good home for Christmas, her mother remains back at the mill, having litter after litter until she’s too sick or old to reproduce – at which point she’s disposed of.


Since some shelters and rescue organisations shut down adoptions this time of year to prevent problems associated with giving pets as Christmas gifts, there is a greater tendency by people who would ordinarily adopt to go the pet store or backyard breeder route. Please DON’T be one of them. Wait until the holidays are over and visit your local shelter or rescue organisation.

Introducing a new pet into the family needs a lot of thought and commitment, which isn’t suitable for this time of year. When you do decide to get a dog, the charity says please consider rescuing from shelters and “Opt to Adopt”

You can find out more about the charity here and share this message with the hashtag #adoptdontshop

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