Christmas may not be the best time to give youngsters a puppy as a gift, according to an award-winning author of eight books on pets.
"A new dog is not a video game with fur, or a toy to be discarded after the fun and games are over," said Mordecai Siegal, a pet authority who believes that "unplanned dog ownership often leads to disaster for pet and pet owner."
Careful thought and planning should go into the giving of an animal to a child, Siegal said, noting that more puppies are given as last-minute Christmas gifts than at any other time of the year.
But according to Siegal, many households are too hectic during the holiday, and a dog usually won't get the care and attention needed. He suggests that one way to cope with the holiday excitement is to present the gift in the form of a stuffed toy dog, giving the youngster a real puppy after the holiday.