Guide to getting a puppy for Christmas

Things to know when you get a puppy at Christmas time

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Puppies need lots of care and attention, so here’s a few tips to give your puppy the best first Christmas.

Mother and child with new puppy at Christmas

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Thinking about getting a puppy for Christmas?

Dogs make the perfect household pets and a cute little puppy can be an amazing addition to the family. Often a much requested gift, puppies have been Christmas crowd pleasers for decades. If you’re thinking of getting a pet puppy for Christmas, we recommend that you follow these guidelines.

Adorable puppy, big commitment

The Dog’s Trust saw a 54% increase in 2016 in the number of dogs abandoned at shelters just after Christmas. Therefore, before you bring home a puppy, you should be completely certain that you and all your family members have the time and patience to train, walk and play with your fluffy companion.

What to look for when adopting or buying a puppy

Choosing a puppy isn't as simple as choosing the cutest one you can find! Puppies can grow significantly, different breeds have different requirements and fully grown dogs can look vastly different to their puppy forms. When buying from a breeder, it pays to do your research and choose one that you trust. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a puppy that is sick, or likely to have lifelong health and behavioural problems.

Check the conditions that your four-legged friend is being raised in and that they have clean eyes, ears and bottom. If you are shopping around for a new pup don’t be afraid to ask questions.

There are Kennel Club rules that any licensed breeder is required to adhere to. One rule states that breeders must keep a puppy until it’s at least eight weeks old (Animal Welfare Regulations, 2018). All puppies should be wormed at around two weeks old and then again at weeks 4, 6, 8 and 12 – so check this has been done. Worming treatments should then continue every three months for the rest of your dog’s life.

Getting a rescue dog is also a good option and many dog charities will do an MOT, chips, neuters, sprays and worms before rehoming. Older rescue dogs will also be toilet trained - unlike puppies, who will most likely have an accident on your brand new rug!

What are the most popular puppies at Christmas?

Dog breeds come in and out of fashion, but while fashions come and go, a dog is for life. The most important thing to consider is what type of dog is right for you and your family.

When it comes to current trends, last Christmas there was an increase in Bulldog and French Bulldog puppies, as well as the seemingly ever-popular Labrador Retriever. The most popular breeds quoted for on MoneySuperMarket this year are:

Top 10 breeds

Pedigree

Crossbreed

Labrador Retriever

Cockapoo

French Bulldog

Jack Russell

Cocker Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

German Shepherd

Shih Tzu

Border Collie

Labrador Retriever

Golden Retriever

Labradoodle

English Springer Spaniel

Border Collie

Pug

English Springer Spaniel

Bulldog

Yorkshire Terrier

Your new puppy needs a name

A lot of people get stuck on what to name their pet pooch, but there are more things to consider than just preference. Scientific research shows that dogs respond best to names with two-syllables such as Rosy or Buddy. Names with three or more syllables are difficult for your dog to understand and memorize. Researchers have also found that using your dog’s name before a command, rather than the other way round seems to work better when training your dog.

Unfortunately, not many owners choose festive names such as Comet, Snowy or Ivy. Based on MoneySuperMarket quotes, the top 10 puppy names last Christmas were:

Top names

Top 10 puppy names

Alfie

Bella

Lola

Bailey

Charlie

Buddy

Ruby

Luna

Molly

Max

Pet Insurance for your new pup

Your new pet may have different illnesses and injuries throughout its life, which can be expensive. The average cost of vet bills are rising, with the average cost of surgery amounting to £1,500. It’s important to get the right insurance cover for your pet so you can keep the amount you spend on vet fees as low as possible.

Some dog breeds are more expensive to buy, look after and insure than others. Pedigree breeds especially tend to more expensive to insure as they can be prone to certain health issues. Bulldogs, for example, are more susceptible to respiratory problems and hip dysplasia. If costs like this are a potential worry, it’s worth keeping in mind when choosing your new pup.

When you first buy a puppy, most good breeders will have four weeks free insurance with a particular provider. Once these four weeks are up, it’s important to shop around, as it is very likely you can get a better price for your insurance elsewhere. Comparing pet insurance on MoneySuperMarket means you can browse prices and levels of cover quickly and easily.

The average annual cost of insuring a puppy with an accident only plan, for the most popular Christmas breeds is as follows; from least to most expensive:

Average Insurance around Christmas Period (12 months)

Breed of Dog

Average Price Of All Policies

Small Crossbreed (up to 10kg)

£177.16

Small Mongrel (up to 10kg)

£178.79

Border Collie

£217.06

Medium Mongrel (10 - 20kg)

£254.79

Labrador Retriever

£288.89

Golden Retriever

£321.19

German Shepherd (Alsatian)

£321.22

English Springer Spaniel

£326.19

Large Crossbreed (more than 20kg)

£332.87

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

£344.04

Large Mongrel (more than 20kg)

£347.92

French Bulldog

£582.66

Looking after your puppy in the cold weather?

Getting a puppy around Christmas time means you need to consider how your new pet will deal with the cold. Dogs with thicker coats, such as the Husky, will be protected against the snow; however, if your puppy only has a thin fur then it is probably a good idea to get them a puppy coat.

When taking your dog out for a walk in the snow, steer clear of snow salt and de-icers - the salt can damage dogs paws and if ingested can be toxic.

Dogs love playing in the snow, which leads to wet paws and ears. To prevent your pup from getting a nasty infection, ensure that you check and dry both ears and all four paws once they come indoors. Running through snow uses up a lot of energy; therefore, make sure that your pup is well fed and hydrated, plus your dog deserves a few treats around Christmas. Finally, make sure your dog’s bedding is nice and cosy to keep them warm during the cold winter nights.

Different Pet Insurance Policies

There are different types of dog insurance you can take out for your new pooch, with each providing different levels of cover. The main four are; Lifetime, Maximum Benefit, Time Limited (usually 12 months) and Accident Only.

Lifetime Cover: With lifetime, your beloved pet is covered by a certain monetary limit each year. If this limit is reached, your pet will not be able to claim cover for the remainder of that policy year. The policy needs to be renewed each year, otherwise your puppy will not be covered for new illnesses and injuries. Usually with a lifetime policy, pre-existing conditions or recurring illnesses will be covered year after year so long as you stick with the same insurance provider.

Maximum Benefit: This is considered the mid-budget option. Maximum benefit policies typically cover each condition up to a certain amount and you can claim as long as the insurance remains in force as there is no time limit. You can claim more than once for a particular condition, year after year. However, when the financial limit is reached, the condition is regarded as pre-existing and can be excluded from future claims, meaning you will have to fund future veterinary bills for this condition yourself. Older dogs or pets with a history of illnesses may have higher excesses.

Time Limited Insurance: This policy will allow you to claim from an agreed sum for injuries and illnesses during a specific time period. Each new condition can be claimed up to the financial limit for the 12 month time period. For example, if your dog had glaucoma twice, but in different eyes over the same 12 month period, your pet will not be covered for the second episode within the duration of the policy. When the time period of cover has ended, or the sum of money available has been reached, your pet will not receive any more cover for the rest of the policy duration.

Accident Only: This is often the cheapest insurance option and provides a fixed sum for covering minor health issues or accidents. Accident Only policies include an amount for the cost of emergency treatment in the event of an illness. These policies will usually need to be taken out every 12 months. Because these are the cheapest policies, financial and time limits may be applicable, depending on the policy terms and conditions.

To find out more about the cost of pet insurance cover, visit our ‘how much is pet insurance’ guide.

Before taking out any insurance cover, it’s important to read the policy’s terms and conditions to make sure the cover levels match your requirements. You can find out more about the different types of policies and compare pet insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket. 

If you already have another pet in your household, our multi pet policy gives you the option to insure more than one pet.

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